Personally, my favorite book is Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comedy (which is often actually sold as a set of three books: The Inferno, The Purgatorio, The Paradiso). It was originally written in Italian, and it has been translated many times (a lot of translators translated it differently... I personally recommend John Ciardi's translation). I guess there's nothing left to do but write a short blurb on it (specifically The Inferno, as it is the first book in the set).
It's the year 1300 and a single poet (Dante Alighieri) realizes that he's strayed from the road to enlightenment. After trying to begin his ascent, a lion and a leopard both attempt to prevent him from continuing, but he persists. A she-wolf finally causes him to flee to the dark wood, ruining all hope of seeing the light. Finally, the dead poet Virgil, sent by Dante's former lover (Beatrice), sends him on a journey through Hell, Purgatory, and finally Paradise (the last led by Beatrice) so to finally bring Dante out of the darkness.
Has anyone else read it?
yeah, i've read them... well most of paradiso, not all of it. i liked the inferno a lot, in fact much better than purgatorio or what i read of paradiso.
purgatorio was... well, kinda boring. it didn't have the same poignancy that the inferno had and i like the cast of characters in the inferno better. the placement of greek and roman authors upon dante's arrival in hell really help to frame dante's own political struggles against the backdrop of great literature and the tradition of heroes going to the underworld to receive advice. if only our current political environment was conducive to intellectualism. sigh.
I only read up to the middle of Purgatorio before my friend stole it (well, I let him borrow it, and then he went off to University) so I can't really say I'm a true fan. I love the writing, and I'm sure if I knew a little bit more about the social context, it'd be even more interesting. I love his commentaries on various forms of the public, though. Very well thought out and effective.
i have a very difficult version of this book... which is very close to the original way it was written so i don't understand most of it sadly enough but i like the way that its written though
i had to read it for some coursework in college and found it immensly entertaining
this book is...
i dont know... like got nothing to say for 21.ct.
i can only read it as interesting historical material. thats all...
The enjoyment of The Divine Comedy really depends on the book you get in my opinion. In college I had a version that had no footnotes or anything and I quickly stopped reading it because I was lost. I just didn't have the literary and historical background at that point.
But last year I got a copy of Purgatorio that had the footnotes right at the bottom of the page they referred to, which made it much more interesting to me. By then I had more of an idea about Greek and Roman mythology, so it was a better read, and the footnotes filled in the gaps for me.
However, after reading that I then got a copy of Inferno with endnotes at the end of the book. It sucked because the references in Inferno are more about Dante's contemporaries than Purgatorio, so I got pretty annoyed that I had to keep flipping back and forth.
I would just suggest that you get a copy that makes the experience of reading as pleasing as possible. It's a great story.