The Divine Comedy.

By Dante Alighieri

Printed: 2013

Publisher: Canterbury Classics. San Deigo

Dimensions 16 × 24 × 4 cm

Language: English

Size (cminches): 16 x 24 x 4

Condition: As new  (See explanation of ratings)

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Bronze hardback binding with black title and flying eagle on the front board. All edges gilt.

“O human race, born to fly upward, wherefore at a little wind dost thou so fall?”

Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso–the three fates of the deceased become the three pillars of an epic poem. The Divine Comedy, written by Italian poet Dante Alighieri in the fourteenth century, is considered the foremost work in Italian literature. The journey begins with Dante’s descent into the depths of Hell where he witnesses those eternally separated from God. Then he climbs the mountain of Purgatory where Christian souls undergo final purification, before finally touring the celestial circles of Heaven where he is filled with the image of God. An allegorical work, the comedy is representative of the soul’s journey towards God.

Influential for seven centuries, this classic is a must have for lovers of great literature, and the luxurious leather-bound edition from Canterbury Classics will make a stunning addition to any library.

Durante degli Alighieri, known as Dante (1265–1321), was a major Italian poet of the Middle Ages. His Divine Comedy is widely considered the greatest literary work composed in the Italian language and a masterpiece of world literature

Paul Gustave Doré (January 6, 1832 – January 23, 1883) was a French artist, engraver, illustrator and sculptor. Doré worked primarily with wood engraving and steel engraving.

REVIEW: I’d highly recommend this edition of The Divine Comedy to any fan of poetry and even if you’ve read it before or own a different version (as I do), it certainly makes a great addition to any book collection. It is a beautifully produced book that really stands out on the shelf, with golden edged pages and a spine that grants it an age old and dignified feel.

It’s quite striking when you open it up for the first time, I was studying the front and back cover for some time before I even began reading and it instantly felt precious; it’s something that should be looked after with great care. These features certainly enhance the words on the page too and truly make the work feel that much more epic. There are illustrations throughout the book that are quite spectacular too and, as the poem itself can be a little tricky to navigate at times, the images certainly help to clarify some of the more convoluted parts of the poem, at least for me, and make it clear what is going on. In many ways the images strengthen the work, helping you to visualise what’s going on and also adding to the shock value, particularly in the Inferno.

There’s a neat introduction preceding the poem which is very informative, with a bit of background information on Dante and an outline of each of the three sections, which is also helpful. I’d have liked more in way of analysis, but that’s probably best left for the Oxford Classics Edition. At any rate, the information given here is made very accessible, and it’s a nice little addition to the rest of the book. The layout is clean and tidy too, with the cantos neatly divided up and line numbers to help clarify where you’re at.

Buy it, you won’t regret it.

The Divine Comedy (Italian: Divina Commedia) is an Italian narrative poem by Dante Alighieri, begun c. 1308 and completed around 1321, shortly before the author’s death. It is widely considered the pre-eminent work in Italian literature and one of the greatest works of world literature. The poem’s imaginative vision of the afterlife is representative of the medieval worldview as it existed in the Western Church by the 14th century. It helped establish the Tuscan language, in which it is written, as the standardized Italian language. It is divided into three parts: Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso.

The poem discusses “the state of the soul after death and presents an image of divine justice meted out as due punishment or reward”, and describes Dante’s travels through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. Allegorically, the poem represents the soul’s journey towards God, beginning with the recognition and rejection of sin (Inferno), followed by the penitent Christian life (Purgatorio), which is then followed by the soul’s ascent to God (Paradiso). Dante draws on medieval Catholic theology and philosophy, especially Thomistic philosophy derived from the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas. Consequently, the Divine Comedy has been called “the Summa in verse”.

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