The Divine Comedy: Inferno (2 v.), Volume 1, Issue 1
Princeton University Press, 1989 - 392 pages
Charles S. Singleton's edition of the Divine Comedy, of which this is the first part, provides the English-speaking reader with everything he needs to read and understand Dante's great masterpiece.
The Italian text here is in the edition of Giorgio Petrocchi, the leading Italian editor of Dante. Professor Singleton's prose translation, facing the Italian in a line-for-line arrangement on each page, is smooth and literate. The companion volume, the Commentary, marshals every point of information the reader may require: vocabulary; grammar; identification of Dante's characters; historical sources of some of the incidents and, where pertinent, excerpts from those sources in their original languages and in translation; profound clear analysis of the Divine Comedy's basic allegory. There is a complete bibliography of every aspect of Dante studies.
This first part of the Divine Comedy which is illustrated with maps of Italy and the region Dante knew especially, diagrams of the circles of Hell, and plates showing some of the historic sites mentioned by Dante in his poem.
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I have this edition sitting next to me, where I left it for my son to read. He was interested in the idea of purgatory, so I reached for this beautiful translation of the Divine Comedy. Dante's brilliant observation and analysis of the social creation of personal history through Singleton's scholarship is revealed as an exquisite autobiography. It is an autobiography that mankind's deepest selves have shared for 700 years.