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May 27, The Paperback of the The Divine Comedy: The Inferno, The and The Paradiso (John Ciardi Translation) by Dante Alighieri at Barnes & Noble. Dante Alighieri (Author), John Ciardi (Translator) This single volume, blank verse translation of The Divine Comedy includes an introduction, maps of Dante’s . The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri . “Ciardi has given us a credible, passionate persona of the poet, stripped of the customary John Crowe Ransom .

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Abandon all hope ye who enter here: I have labored therefore for something like idiomatic En- glish in the present rendering.

Poetry Daily Prose Feature

Archive All posts by date. There are souls beneath that water. Inhis family moved to Medford, Massachusettswhere he attended public schools.

Note that both these exceptions oc- cur at a major division of the Inferno. Their birth fell before the age of the Christian mysteries, and so they did not worship Divjne Trinity in fullest duty.

The medieval tradition had it that the sun was in Aries at the time of the Creation. There with a solemn and majestic poise stood many people gathered in the light, speaking infrequently and with muted voice. Do his eyes no longer fill with that sweet light?

John Ciardi

When I had journeyed half of our life’s way I found myself within a shadowed forest for I had lost the path that does not stray. But since it came to good, I will recount all that I found revealed there by God’s grace.

Canto IV circle one: Ptolemaic astronomers considered it a planet. The feet of dead men can’t do that. Johnn believe that the process of rendering from lan- guage to language is better conceived as a “transposition” than as a “translation,” for “translation” implies a series of word-for-word equivalents that do not exist across language boundaries any more than piano sounds exist in the violin.


Dante will again be moved to pity as he descends the slopes of 58 The Inferno Hell. See Helen there, from whom such ill arose. He proceeds to prophesy Dante ‘s banishment from Florence, he defends his part in Florentine politics, and then, in answer to Dante ‘s question, he explains how it is that the damned can foresee the future but have no knowledge of the present.

The Divine Comedy

They are not like diivine but “mating doves,” and, when Francesca speaks, the verse modulates. He recognizes Dante and asks eagerly for news of what is happening there.

The great walls of the irqncity block the way to the Lower Hell.

Whence comes the Comedy ‘s weird, unsettling matter-of-factness, as if human language could reach the level of the divine. And we had not traveled far from where I woke when I made out a radiance before us that struck away a hemisphere of dark. It may also be something of a shock to those who insist on a uniformly hieratic approach to all things Dantesque; let them come really to know the vigorous, uncompromising Cmoedy who, even in the Paradiso, wrote: Ciardi began his long association with the Bread Loaf Writers Conference at Middlebury College in Vermontwhere he lectured on poetry for almost 30 years, half that time as director of the program.


A confusion of tongues and monstrous accents toiled Canto III 19 in pain and anger. Then rose and pushed up that dead slope at such a pace 30 Canto I 5 each footfall rose above the last. As at Aries where the Rhone sinks into stagnant marshes, as at Pola by the Quarnaro Gulf, whose waters close Italy and wash her farthest reaches, the uneven tombs cover the even plain — such fields I saw here, spread in all directions, except that here the tombs were chests of pain: Each circle is assigned to the punishment of one category joyn sin.

Having answered all, I say no more. Her name in Italian inevitably suggests “luce” lightand she is the patron saint of eyesight. There, steering toward us in an ancient ferry came an old man with a white bush of hair, 80 bellowing: In the same year he made himself divinf for public office by enrolling in a guild, the Apothe- caries’, where the books of that day were sold.

The pit of Hell tapers like a funnel. In classical mythology they were especially malignant spirits who pursued and tormented those who had violated fundamental taboos desecration of temples, murder of kin, etc.

But such a wailing beat upon my ears, I strained my eyes ahead to the far shore. But Dante’s Hell is on the edge that separates surreality from sentimentality.