Dante Alighieri

The Divine Comedy
  • The Divine Comedy

  • Discover this fresh, pacy, modern translation of an enduring literary classic.

    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

Dante, or Durante deli Alighieri, was born in Florence, Italy, circa 1265. His family was connected with the Guelph political alliance, supporters of the Papacy. His mother died before Dante’s tenth birthday. Dante himself was betrothed to Gemma di Manetto Donati when he was aged only 12. The pair went on to marry, but Dante’s true love was for Beatrice Portinari, who would inspire much of his poetry. Dante and Gemma had several children. Dante was a member of Florence’s Apothecaries’ Guild, though he did not practice as a pharmacist. Allied to the White Guelphs, with whom he fought against the vanquishing Black Guelphs, he was eventually condemned to perpetual exile from Florence. He went first to Verona and then to Liguria. There is speculation that he travelled more widely, including to Paris and Oxford, although this has not been verified. During his time of exile Dante conceived and wrote the three poems which form The Divine Comedy. He died in 1321, aged 56, of suspected malaria. He was buried in Ravenna, Italy, where a tomb was later erected in his name. Stephen Wyatt is a playwright and dramatist with extensive experience in stage, radio and television.

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