The Divine Comedydescribes Dante's descent into Hell with Virgil as a guide; his ascent of Mount Purgatory and encounter with his dead love, Beatrice; and finally, his arrival in Heaven. Examining questions of faith, desire and enlightenment, the poem is a brilliantly nuanced and moving allegory of human redemption.
'The perfect balance of tightness and colloquialism... likely to be the best modern version of Dante' - Bernard O'Donoghue
'The most moving lines literature has achieved' - Jorge Luis Borges
'This version is the first to bring together poetry and scholarship in the very body of the translation - a deeply-informed version of Dante that is also a pleasure to read' - Professor David Wallace, University of Pennsylvania
Individual editions of Robin Kirkpatrick's translation - Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso - are also available in Penguin Classics, and include Dante's Italian printed alongside the English text.
Dante Alighieri was born in Florence in 1265 and belonged to a noble but impoverished family. His life was divided by political duties and poetry, the most of famous of which was inspired by his meeting with Bice Portinari, whom he called Beatrice, including La Vita Nuova and The Divine Comedy. He died in Ravenna in 1321.
Robin Kirkpatrick is a poet and widely-published Dante scholar. He has taught courses on Dante's Divine Comedy in Hong Kong, Dublin, and Cambridge where is Fellow of Robinson College and Professor of Italian and English Literatures.
Halfway through life, you find yourself lost, unsure of the right path. Greed, deception and pride have led you away from the ideals and dreams you cherished in younger days. How do you go on?
This is the starting point of one of the most extraordinary and important journeys in western literature, a stunningly ambitious flight of imagination and philosophy which has reverberated down the years since Dante Alighieri first wrote it down in the fourteenth century. The Divine Comedy is a vision of the afterlife, the three regions of Hell, Purgatory and Paradise, through which the narrator must journey in order to better understand the workings of the universe, the love of God, and his place in the world.
Poet and translator Steve Ellis translated the Inferno in 1994, and it was greeted with great acclaim. Now Ellis's translation of the entire poem is published here for the first time, and Dante's epic can be experienced afresh and in new glorious life and colour, the physicality and immediacy of Dante's verse rendered in English as never before.
A NEW TRANSLATION BY STEVE ELLIS
Praise for Steve Ellis's translation of Inferno:
'A considerable tour de force, alive, immediate, energetic and very moving' A.S. Byatt
'Energetic, racy, rude and lyrical...buy this translation and spend a damn good season in hell' Independent
'It's good to have a version which one can read through with excitement in a few hours. This edition benefits also from the economical but always helpful footnotes on each page... Steve Ellis deserves our gratitude...for introducing - as he surely will do - new readers to the Inferno' Stephen Spender, Sunday Telegraph