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The Divine Comedy (Italian : Divina Commedia [diˈviːna komˈmɛːdja] ) is a long Italian narrative poem by Dante Alighieri, begun c. 1308 and completed in 1320, a year before his death in 1321. It is widely considered to be 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 world-view as it had developed in the Western Church by the 14th century. It helped establish the Tuscan language, in which it is written (also in most present-day Italian-market editions), as the standardized Italian language. It is divided into three parts: Inferno , Purgatorio , and Paradiso .
Italian is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family. Italian descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire and, together with Sardinian, is by most measures the closest language to it of the Romance languages. Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino and Vatican City. It has an official minority status in western Istria. It formerly had official status in Albania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro (Kotor) and Greece, and is generally understood in Corsica and Savoie. It also used to be an official language in the former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, where it still plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia. Italian is included under the languages covered by the European Charter for Regional or Minority languages in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Romania, although Italian is neither a co-official nor a protected language in these countries. Many speakers of Italian are native bilinguals of both Italian and other regional languages.
Narrative poetry is a form of poetry that tells a story, often making the voices of a narrator and characters as well; the entire story is usually written in metered verse. Narrative poems do not need rhyme. The poems that make up this genre may be short or long, and the story it relates to may be complex. It is normally dramatic, with objectives, diverse and meter. Narrative poems include epics, ballads, idylls, and lays.
Durante di Alighiero degli Alighieri, commonly known by his pen name Dante Alighieri or simply as Dante, was an Italian poet. His Divine Comedy, originally called Comedìa and later christened Divina by Giovanni Boccaccio, is widely considered the most important poem of the Middle Ages and the greatest literary work in the Italian language.
The narrative describes Dante's travels through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise or Heaven,while allegorically the poem represents the soul's journey towards God. Dante draws on medieval Christian 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". In Dante's work, Virgil is presented as human reason and Beatrice is presented as divine knowledge.
Purgatory is, according to the belief of some Christians, an intermediate state after physical death for expiatory purification. There is disagreement among Christians whether such a state exists. Some forms of Western Christianity, particularly within Protestantism, deny its existence. Other strands of Western Christianity see purgatory as a place, perhaps filled with fire. Some concepts of Gehenna in Judaism are similar to that of purgatory. The word "purgatory" has come to refer also to a wide range of historical and modern conceptions of postmortem suffering short of everlasting damnation and is used, in a non-specific sense, to mean any place or condition of suffering or torment, especially one that is temporary.
Allegory in the Middle Ages was a vital element in the synthesis of biblical and classical traditions into what would become recognizable as medieval culture. People of the Middle Ages consciously drew from the cultural legacies of the ancient world in shaping their institutions and ideas, and so allegory in medieval literature and medieval art was a prime mover for the synthesis and transformational continuity between the ancient world and the "new" Christian world.
Thomism is the philosophical school that arose as a legacy of the work and thought of Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274), philosopher, theologian, and Doctor of the Church. In philosophy, Aquinas' disputed questions and commentaries on Aristotle are perhaps his most well-known works.
The work was originally simply titled Comedìa (pronounced [komeˈdiːa] ; so also in the first printed edition, published in 1472), Tuscan for "Comedy", later adjusted to the modern Italian Commedia. The adjective Divina was added by Giovanni Boccaccio, and the first edition to name the poem Divina Comedia in the title was that of the Venetian humanist Lodovico Dolce, published in 1555 by Gabriele Giolito de' Ferrari.
Tuscan is a set of Italo-Dalmatian varieties of Romance mainly spoken in Tuscany, Italy.
In a modern sense, comedy refers to any discourse or work generally intended to be humorous or amusing by inducing laughter, especially in theatre, television, film, stand-up comedy, or any other medium of entertainment. The origins of the term are found in Ancient Greece. In the Athenian democracy, the public opinion of voters was influenced by the political satire performed by the comic poets at the theaters. The theatrical genre of Greek comedy can be described as a dramatic performance which pits two groups or societies against each other in an amusing agon or conflict. Northrop Frye depicted these two opposing sides as a "Society of Youth" and a "Society of the Old." A revised view characterizes the essential agon of comedy as a struggle between a relatively powerless youth and the societal conventions that pose obstacles to his hopes. In this struggle, the youth is understood to be constrained by his lack of social authority, and is left with little choice but to take recourse in ruses which engender very dramatic irony which provokes laughter.
Giovanni Boccaccio was an Italian writer, poet, correspondent of Petrarch, and an important Renaissance humanist. Boccaccio wrote a number of notable works, including The Decameron and On Famous Women. He wrote his imaginative literature mostly in Tuscan vernacular, as well as other works in Latin, and is particularly noted for his realistic dialogue which differed from that of his contemporaries, medieval writers who usually followed formulaic models for character and plot.
The Divine Comedy is composed of 14,233 lines that are divided into three cantiche (singular cantica) – Inferno (Hell), Purgatorio (Purgatory), and Paradiso (Paradise) – each consisting of 33 cantos (Italian plural canti). An initial canto, serving as an introduction to the poem and generally considered to be part of the first cantica, brings the total number of cantos to 100. It is generally accepted, however, that the first two cantos serve as a unitary prologue to the entire epic, and that the opening two cantos of each cantica serve as prologues to each of the three cantiche.
In religion and folklore, Hell is an afterlife location in which evil souls are subjected to punitive suffering, often torture as eternal punishment after death. Religions with a linear divine history often depict hells as eternal destinations, the biggest examples of which are Christianity and Islam, whereas religions with reincarnation usually depict a hell as an intermediary period between incarnations, as is the case in the dharmic religions. Religions typically locate hell in another dimension or under Earth's surface. Other afterlife destinations include Heaven, Paradise, Purgatory, Limbo, and the underworld.
Heaven, or the heavens, is a common religious, cosmological, or transcendent place where beings such as gods, angels, spirits, saints, or venerated ancestors are said to originate, be enthroned, or live. According to the beliefs of some religions, heavenly beings can descend to earth or incarnate, and earthly beings can ascend to heaven in the afterlife, or in exceptional cases enter heaven alive.
The canto is a principal form of division in medieval and modern long poetry. The word canto is derived from the Italian word for "song" or "singing", which comes from the Latin cantus, "song", from the infinitive verb canere, "to sing". The use of the canto was described in the 1911 edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica as "a convenient division when poetry was more usually sung by the minstrel to his own accompaniment than read". There is no specific format, construction or style for a canto and it is not limited to any one type of poetry.
The number three is prominent in the work (alluding to the Trinity), represented in part by the number of cantiche and their lengths. Additionally, the verse scheme used, terza rima , is hendecasyllabic (lines of eleven syllables), with the lines composing tercets according to the rhyme scheme aba, bcb, cdc, ded, ....
The Christian doctrine of the Trinity holds that God is one God, but three coeternal consubstantial persons or hypostases—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—as "one God in three Divine Persons". The three Persons are distinct, yet are one "substance, essence or nature" (homoousios). In this context, a "nature" is what one is, whereas a "person" is who one is. Sometimes differing views are referred to as nontrinitarian. Trinitarianism contrasts with positions such as Binitarianism and Monarchianism, of which Modalistic Monarchianism and Unitarianism are subsets.
Terza rima is a rhyming verse stanza form that consists of an interlocking three-line rhyme scheme. It was first used by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri.
A tercet is composed of three lines of poetry, forming a stanza or a complete poem.
Written in the first person, the poem tells of Dante's journey through the three realms of the dead, lasting from the night before Good Friday to the Wednesday after Easter in the spring of 1300. The Roman poet Virgil guides him through Hell and Purgatory; Beatrice, Dante's ideal woman, guides him through Heaven. Beatrice was a Florentine woman he had met in childhood and admired from afar in the mode of the then-fashionable courtly love tradition, which is highlighted in Dante's earlier work La Vita Nuova .
Maundy Thursday is the Christian holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter. It commemorates the Washing of the Feet (Maundy) and Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles, as described in the canonical gospels.
Good Friday is a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus and his death at Calvary. It is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday, and may coincide with the Jewish observance of Passover. It is also known as Holy Friday, Great Friday, and Black Friday.
Easter, also called Pascha or Resurrection Sunday, is a festival and holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day after his burial following his crucifixion by the Romans at Calvary c. 30 AD. It is the culmination of the Passion of Jesus, preceded by Lent, a 40-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance.
The structure of the three realms follows a common numerical pattern of 9 plus 1, for a total of 10: 9 circles of the Inferno, followed by Lucifer contained at its bottom; 9 rings of Mount Purgatory, followed by the Garden of Eden crowning its summit; and the 9 celestial bodies of Paradiso, followed by the Empyrean containing the very essence of God. Within each group of 9, 7 elements correspond to a specific moral scheme, subdivided into three subcategories, while 2 others of greater particularity are added to total nine. For example, the seven deadly sins of the Catholic Church that are cleansed in Purgatory are joined by special realms for the late repentant and the excommunicated by the church. The core seven sins within Purgatory correspond to a moral scheme of love perverted, subdivided into three groups corresponding to excessive love (Lust, Gluttony, Greed), deficient love (Sloth), and malicious love (Wrath, Envy, Pride).
In central Italy's political struggle between Guelphs and Ghibellines, Dante was part of the Guelphs, who in general favored the Papacy over the Holy Roman Emperor. Florence's Guelphs split into factions around 1300 –the White Guelphs and the Black Guelphs. Dante was among the White Guelphs who were exiled in 1302 by the Lord-Mayor Cante de' Gabrielli di Gubbio, after troops under Charles of Valois entered the city, at the request of Pope Boniface VIII, who supported the Black Guelphs. This exile, which lasted the rest of Dante's life, shows its influence in many parts of the Comedy, from prophecies of Dante's exile to Dante's views of politics, to the eternal damnation of some of his opponents.
The last word in each of the three cantiche is stelle ("stars").
The poem begins on the night before Good Friday in the year 1300, "halfway along our life's path" (Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita). Dante is thirty-five years old, half of the biblical lifespan of 70 (Psalms 89:10, Vulgate), lost in a dark wood (understood as sin), – also translatable as "right way" – to salvation (symbolized by the sun behind the mountain). Conscious that he is ruining himself and that he is falling into a "low place" (basso loco) where the sun is silent ('l sol tace), Dante is at last rescued by Virgil, and the two of them begin their journey to the underworld. Each sin's punishment in Inferno is a contrapasso , a symbolic instance of poetic justice; for example, in Canto XX, fortune-tellers and soothsayers must walk with their heads on backwards, unable to see what is ahead, because that was what they had tried to do in life:assailed by beasts (a lion, a leopard, and a she-wolf) he cannot evade and unable to find the "straight way" (diritta via)
Allegorically, the Inferno represents the Christian soul seeing sin for what it really is, and the three beasts represent three types of sin: the self-indulgent, the violent, and the malicious.These three types of sin also provide the three main divisions of Dante's Hell: Upper Hell, outside the city of Dis, for the four sins of indulgence (lust, gluttony, avarice, anger); Circle 7 for the sins of violence; and Circles 8 and 9 for the sins of fraud and treachery. Added to these are two unlike categories that are specifically spiritual: Limbo, in Circle 1, contains the virtuous pagans who were not sinful but were ignorant of Christ, and Circle 6 contains the heretics who contradicted the doctrine and confused the spirit of Christ. The circles number 9, with the addition of Satan completing the structure of 9 + 1 = 10.
Having survived the depths of Hell, Dante and Virgil ascend out of the undergloom to the Mountain of Purgatory on the far side of the world. The Mountain is on an island, the only land in the Southern Hemisphere, created by the displacement of rock which resulted when Satan's fall created Hell(which Dante portrays as existing underneath Jerusalem ). The mountain has seven terraces, corresponding to the seven deadly sins or "seven roots of sinfulness." The classification of sin here is more psychological than that of the Inferno, being based on motives, rather than actions. It is also drawn primarily from Christian theology, rather than from classical sources. However, Dante's illustrative examples of sin and virtue draw on classical sources as well as on the Bible and on contemporary events.
Love, a theme throughout the Divine Comedy, is particularly important for the framing of sin on the Mountain of Purgatory. While the love that flows from God is pure, it can become sinful as it flows through humanity. Humans can sin by using love towards improper or malicious ends (Wrath, Envy, Pride), or using it to proper ends but with love that is either not strong enough (Sloth) or love that is too strong (Lust, Gluttony, Greed). Below the seven purges of the soul is the Ante-Purgatory, containing the Excommunicated from the church and the Late repentant who died, often violently, before receiving rites. Thus the total comes to nine, with the addition of the Garden of Eden at the summit, equaling ten.
Allegorically, the Purgatorio represents the Christian life. Christian souls arrive escorted by an angel, singing In exitu Israel de Aegypto . In his Letter to Cangrande , Dante explains that this reference to Israel leaving Egypt refers both to the redemption of Christ and to "the conversion of the soul from the sorrow and misery of sin to the state of grace."Appropriately, therefore, it is Easter Sunday when Dante and Virgil arrive.
The Purgatorio is notable for demonstrating the medieval knowledge of a spherical Earth. During the poem, Dante discusses the different stars visible in the southern hemisphere, the altered position of the sun, and the various timezones of the Earth. At this stage it is, Dante says, sunset at Jerusalem, midnight on the River Ganges, and sunrise in Purgatory.
After an initial ascension, Beatrice guides Dante through the nine celestial spheres of Heaven. These are concentric and spherical, as in Aristotelian and Ptolemaic cosmology. While the structures of the Inferno and Purgatorio were based on different classifications of sin, the structure of the Paradiso is based on the four cardinal virtues and the three theological virtues.
The seven lowest spheres of Heaven deal solely with the cardinal virtues of Prudence, Fortitude, Justice and Temperance. The first three spheres involve a deficiency of one of the cardinal virtues – the Moon, containing the inconstant, whose vows to God waned as the moon and thus lack fortitude; Mercury, containing the ambitious, who were virtuous for glory and thus lacked justice; and Venus, containing the lovers, whose love was directed towards another than God and thus lacked Temperance. The final four incidentally are positive examples of the cardinal virtues, all led on by the Sun, containing the prudent, whose wisdom lighted the way for the other virtues, to which the others are bound (constituting a category on its own). Mars contains the men of fortitude who died in the cause of Christianity; Jupiter contains the kings of Justice; and Saturn contains the temperate, the monks who abided by the contemplative lifestyle. The seven subdivided into three are raised further by two more categories: the eighth sphere of the fixed stars that contain those who achieved the theological virtues of faith, hope and love, and represent the Church Triumphant – the total perfection of humanity, cleansed of all the sins and carrying all the virtues of heaven; and the ninth circle, or Primum Mobile (corresponding to the Geocentricism of Medieval astronomy), which contains the angels, creatures never poisoned by original sin. Topping them all is the Empyrean, which contains the essence of God, completing the 9-fold division to 10.
Dante meets and converses with several great saints of the Church, including Thomas Aquinas, Bonaventure, Saint Peter, and St. John. The Paradiso is consequently more theological in nature than the Inferno and the Purgatorio. However, Dante admits that the vision of heaven he receives is merely the one his human eyes permit him to see, and thus the vision of heaven found in the Cantos is Dante's personal vision.
The Divine Comedy finishes with Dante seeing the Triune God. In a flash of understanding that he cannot express, Dante finally understands the mystery of Christ's divinity and humanity, and his soul becomes aligned with God's love:
According to the Italian Dante Society, no original manuscript written by Dante has survived, although there are many manuscript copies from the 14th and 15th centuries – some 800 are listed on their site.
The first printed edition was published in Foligno, Italy, by Johann Numeister and Evangelista Angelini da Trevi on 11 April 1472. Of the 300 copies printed, fourteen still survive. The original printing press is on display in the Oratorio della Nunziatella in Foligno.
|1472||La Comedia di Dante Alleghieri||Foligno||Johann Numeister and Evangelista Angelini da Trevi||First printed edition (or editio princeps )|
|1477||La Commedia||Venice||Wendelin of Speyer|
|1481||Comento di Christophoro Landino fiorentino sopra la Comedia di Dante Alighieri||Florence||Nicolaus Laurentii||With Cristoforo Landino's commentary in Italian, and some engraved illustrations by Baccio Baldini after designs by Sandro Botticelli|
|1491||Comento di Christophoro Landino fiorentino sopra la Comedia di Dante Alighieri||Venice||Pietro di Piasi||First fully illustrated edition|
|1502||Le terze rime di Dante||Venice||Aldus Manutius|
|1506||Commedia di Dante insieme con uno diagolo circa el sito forma et misure dello inferno||Florence||Philippo di Giunta|
|1555||La Divina Comedia di Dante||Venice||Gabriel Giolito||First use of "Divine" in title|
The Divine Comedy can be described simply as an allegory: each canto, and the episodes therein, can contain many alternative meanings. Dante's allegory, however, is more complex, and, in explaining how to read the poem – see the Letter to Cangrande – he outlines other levels of meaning besides the allegory: the historical, the moral, the literal, and the anagogical.
The structure of the poem is also quite complex, with mathematical and numerological patterns distributed throughout the work, particularly threes and nines, which are related to the Holy Trinity. The poem is often lauded for its particularly human qualities: Dante's skillful delineation of the characters he encounters in Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise; his bitter denunciations of Florentine and Italian politics; and his powerful poetic imagination. Dante's use of real characters, according to Dorothy Sayers in her introduction to her translation of the Inferno, allows Dante the freedom of not having to involve the reader in description, and allows him to "[make] room in his poem for the discussion of a great many subjects of the utmost importance, thus widening its range and increasing its variety."
Dante called the poem "Comedy" (the adjective "Divine" was added later, in the 16th century) because poems in the ancient world were classified as High ("Tragedy") or Low ("Comedy").Low poems had happy endings and were written in everyday language, whereas High poems treated more serious matters and were written in an elevated style. Dante was one of the first in the Middle Ages to write of a serious subject, the Redemption of humanity, in the low and "vulgar" Italian language and not the Latin one might expect for such a serious topic. Boccaccio's account that an early version of the poem was begun by Dante in Latin is still controversial.
Although the Divine Comedy is primarily a religious poem, discussing sin, virtue, and theology, Dante also discusses several elements of the science of his day (this mixture of science with poetry has received both praise and blame over the centuries). The Purgatorio repeatedly refers to the implications of a spherical Earth, such as the different stars visible in the southern hemisphere, the altered position of the sun, and the various timezones of the Earth. For example, at sunset in Purgatory it is midnight at the Ebro, dawn in Jerusalem, and noon on the River Ganges:
Dante travels through the centre of the Earth in the Inferno, and comments on the resulting change in the direction of gravity in Canto XXXIV (lines 76–120). A little earlier (XXXIII, 102–105), he queries the existence of wind in the frozen inner circle of hell, since it has no temperature differentials.
Inevitably, given its setting, the Paradiso discusses astronomy extensively, but in the Ptolemaic sense. The Paradiso also discusses the importance of the experimental method in science, with a detailed example in lines 94–105 of Canto II:
Yet an experiment, were you to try it,
could free you from your cavil and the source
of your arts' course springs from experiment.
Taking three mirrors, place a pair of them
at equal distance from you; set the third
midway between those two, but farther back.
Then, turning toward them, at your back have placed
a light that kindles those three mirrors and
returns to you, reflected by them all.
Although the image in the farthest glass
will be of lesser size, there you will see
that it must match the brightness of the rest.
A briefer example occurs in Canto XV of the Purgatorio (lines 16–21), where Dante points out that both theory and experiment confirm that the angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection. Other references to science in the Paradiso include descriptions of clockwork in Canto XXIV (lines 13–18), and Thales' theorem about triangles in Canto XIII (lines 101–102).
Galileo Galilei is known to have lectured on the Inferno, and it has been suggested that the poem may have influenced some of Galileo's own ideas regarding mechanics.
In 1919, Miguel Asín Palacios, a Spanish scholar and a Catholic priest, published La Escatología musulmana en la Divina Comedia (Islamic Eschatology in the Divine Comedy), an account of parallels between early Islamic philosophy and the Divine Comedy. Palacios argued that Dante derived many features of and episodes about the hereafter from the spiritual writings of Ibn Arabi and from the Isra and Mi'raj or night journey of Muhammad to heaven. The latter is described in the ahadith and the Kitab al Miraj (translated into Latin in 1264 or shortly beforeas Liber Scalae Machometi, "The Book of Muhammad's Ladder"), and has significant similarities to the Paradiso, such as a sevenfold division of Paradise, although this is not unique to the Kitab al Miraj or Islamic cosmology.
Some "superficial similarities"of the Divine Comedy to the Resalat Al-Ghufran or Epistle of Forgiveness of Al-Ma'arri have also been mentioned in this debate. The Resalat Al-Ghufran describes the journey of the poet in the realms of the afterlife and includes dialogue with people in Heaven and Hell, although, unlike the Kitab al Miraj, there is little description of these locations, and it is unlikely that Dante borrowed from this work.
Dante did, however, live in a Europe of substantial literary and philosophical contact with the Muslim world, encouraged by such factors as Averroism ("Averrois, che'l gran comento feo" Commedia, Inferno, IV, 144, meaning "Averrois, who wrote the great comment") and the patronage of Alfonso X of Castile. Of the twelve wise men Dante meets in Canto X of the Paradiso, Thomas Aquinas and, even more so, Siger of Brabant were strongly influenced by Arabic commentators on Aristotle. Medieval Christian mysticism also shared the Neoplatonic influence of Sufis such as Ibn Arabi. Philosopher Frederick Copleston argued in 1950 that Dante's respectful treatment of Averroes, Avicenna, and Siger of Brabant indicates his acknowledgement of a "considerable debt" to Islamic philosophy.
Although this philosophical influence is generally acknowledged, many scholars have not been satisfied that Dante was influenced by the Kitab al Miraj. The 20th century Orientalist Francesco Gabrieli expressed skepticism regarding the claimed similarities, and the lack of evidence of a vehicle through which it could have been transmitted to Dante. Even so, while dismissing the probability of some influences posited in Palacios' work, X, Dante's mentor Brunetto Latini met Bonaventura de Siena, a Tuscan who had translated the Kitab al Miraj from Arabic into Latin. Corti speculates that Brunetto may have provided a copy of that work to Dante. René Guénon, a Sufi convert and scholar of Ibn Arabi, rejected in The Esoterism of Dante the theory of his influence (direct or indirect) on Dante. Palacios' theory that Dante was influenced by Ibn Arabi was satirized by the Turkish academic Orhan Pamuk in his novel The Black Book.Gabrieli conceded that it was "at least possible, if not probable, that Dante may have known the Liber Scalae and have taken from it certain images and concepts of Muslim eschatology". Shortly before her death, the Italian philologist Maria Corti pointed out that, during his stay at the court of Alfonso
The Divine Comedy was not always as well-regarded as it is today. Although recognized as a masterpiece in the centuries immediately following its publication, – who illustrated several passages of the epic – and the Romantic writers of the 19th century. Later authors such as T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Samuel Beckett, C. S. Lewis and James Joyce have drawn on it for inspiration. The poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was its first American translator, and modern poets, including Seamus Heaney, Robert Pinsky, John Ciardi, W. S. Merwin, and Stanley Lombardo, have also produced translations of all or parts of the book. In Russia, beyond Pushkin's translation of a few tercets, Osip Mandelstam's late poetry has been said to bear the mark of a "tormented meditation" on the Comedy. In 1934, Mandelstam gave a modern reading of the poem in his labyrinthine "Conversation on Dante". In T. S. Eliot's estimation, "Dante and Shakespeare divide the world between them. There is no third." For Jorge Luis Borges the Divine Comedy was "the best book literature has achieved".the work was largely ignored during the Enlightenment, with some notable exceptions such as Vittorio Alfieri; Antoine de Rivarol, who translated the Inferno into French; and Giambattista Vico, who in the Scienza nuova and in the Giudizio su Dante inaugurated what would later become the romantic reappraisal of Dante, juxtaposing him to Homer. The Comedy was "rediscovered" in the English-speaking world by William Blake
New English translations of the Divine Comedy continue to be published regularly. Notable English translations of the complete poem include the following.
|1805–1814||Henry Francis Cary||An older translation, widely available online.|
|1867||Henry Wadsworth Longfellow||Unrhymed terzines. The first U.S. translation, raising American interest in the poem. It is still widely available, including online.|
|1891–1892||Charles Eliot Norton||Prose translation used by Great Books of the Western World. Available online at Project Gutenberg.|
|1933–1943||Laurence Binyon||Terza rima. Translated with assistance from Ezra Pound|
|1949–1962||Dorothy L. Sayers||Translated for Penguin Classics, intended for a wider audience, and completed by Barbara Reynolds.|
|1969||Thomas G. Bergin||Cast in blank verse with illustrations by Leonard Baskin.|
|1954–1970||John Ciardi||His Inferno was recorded and released by Folkways Records in 1954.|
|1970–1991||Charles S. Singleton||Literal prose version with extensive commentary; 6 vols.|
|1981||C. H. Sisson||Available in Oxford World's Classics.|
|1980–1984||Allen Mandelbaum||Available online.|
|1967–2002||Mark Musa||An alternative Penguin Classics version.|
|2000–2007||Robert and Jean Hollander||Online as part of the Princeton Dante Project.|
|2002–2004||Anthony M. Esolen||Modern Library Classics edition.|
|2006–2007||Robin Kirkpatrick||A third Penguin Classics version, replacing Musa's.|
|2010||Burton Raffel||A Northwestern World Classics version.|
|2013||Clive James||A poetic version in quatrains.|
A number of other translators, such as Robert Pinsky, have translated the Inferno only.
The Divine Comedy has been a source of inspiration for countless artists for almost seven centuries. There are many references to Dante's work in literature. In music, Franz Liszt was one of many composers to write works based on the Divine Comedy. In sculpture, the work of Auguste Rodin includes themes from Dante, and many visual artists have illustrated Dante's work, as shown by the examples above. There have also been many references to the Divine Comedy in cinema, television, digital arts, comics and video games.
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Allen Mandelbaum was an American professor of literature and the humanities, poet, and translator from Classical Greek, Latin and Italian. His translations of classic works gained him numerous awards in Italy and the United States.
Purgatorio is the second part of Dante's Divine Comedy, following the Inferno, and preceding the Paradiso. The poem was written in the early 14th century. It is an allegory telling of the climb of Dante up the Mount of Purgatory, guided by the Roman poet Virgil, except for the last four cantos at which point Beatrice takes over as Dante's guide.
Domenico di Michelino (1417–1491) was an Italian painter of the Florentine school and a follower of the style of Fra Angelico. He was born and died in Florence.
Dolce Stil Novo, or stilnovismo[stilnoˈvizmo], is the name given to the most important literary movement of the 13th century in Italy. Influenced by the Sicilian School and Tuscan poetry, its main theme is Love (Amore). Gentilezza (Noblemindedness) and Amore are indeed topoi in the major works of the period. The name Dolce Stil Novo was used for the first time by Dante Alighieri. When he arrives in Purgatory he meets Bonagiunta Orbicciani, a 13th-century Italian poet, who tells Dante that Dante himself, Guido Guinizelli, and Guido Cavalcanti had been able to create a new genre: a stil novo. Precursors to the dolce stil novo are found in the Provençal works of the troubadours, such as the Genoese Lanfranc Cigala. The artists of the stil novo are called stilnovisti.
Contrapasso is derived from the Latin contra and patior, which mean "suffer the opposite". Contrapasso refers to the punishment of souls in Dante's Inferno, "by a process either resembling or contrasting with the sin itself." A similar process, though a penitential one, occurs in the Purgatorio.
Friar Alberigo was a 13th-century Italian from Faenza. His family, the Guelph Manfredi family, were banished in 1274 from Faenza by their rivals, the Accarisis. The Manfredis returned in 1280, with the aid of a traitor, the Ghibelline Tebaldello del Zambrasi.
The works of Dante Alighieri – particularly the Divine Comedy, widely considered his masterpiece – have been a source of inspiration for various artists since their publications in the late 13th and early 14th centuries. Some notable examples are listed below.
In Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comedy, the City of Dis encompasses the sixth through the ninth circles of Hell. Before the City is reached, in ninth canto, Dante encounters the unbaptised and then those who sinned by self-indulgence—the lustful, the gluttons, the misers and spendthrifts—and at the outskirts of the red-hot walls of City of Dis are the wrathful and those of ill-will. From this point on we find sinners who acted out of malice and wickedness. Immediately within the walls of the City are the Heretics, who, having disbelieved in immortality are forever imprisoned in red-hot tombs. Beyond are rings of those who were violent—to others, to themselves (suicides), to God (blasphemers), to art (usurers), and to nature. Beyond the ruins of Dis are the frauds and corruptors, and finally the traitors.
Eunoe is a feature of Dante's Divine Comedy created by Dante as the fifth river of the dead. In the Purgatorio, the second cantica of Dante's poem, penitents reaching the Garden of Eden at the top of Mount Purgatory are first washed in the waters of the river Lethe in order to forget the memories of their mortal sins. They then pass through Eunoe to have the memories of their good deeds in life strengthened.
Purgatorio is the seventy-eighth album by electronic band Tangerine Dream. It was released in October 2004. A pre-release version was only available via internet at the Tangerine Dream's website in March 2004. The album includes a studio version of a live performance at the Royal Festival Hall, in London, on March 6th, 2004. The show was the opening night of the Ether Electronic Music Festival followed by the world premiere of a restored version of the Italian silent movie “Purgatorio” from 1911 by Giuseppe de Liguoro's, based on the second part of Dante Alighieri’s “La Divina Commedia.”
Catello di Rosso Gianfigliazzi was a Florentine nobleman who lived in the late 13th century around the time of Giotto and Dante. He is best known for being a wicked usurer according to Dante in the Divine Comedy. He practiced usury in France and was made a knight upon his return to Florence.
Thomas William Parsons was an American dentist and poet.
Inferno is the first part of Italian writer Dante Alighieri's 14th-century epic poem Divine Comedy. It is followed by Purgatorio and Paradiso. The Inferno tells the journey of Dante through Hell, guided by the ancient Roman poet Virgil. In the poem, Hell is depicted as nine concentric circles of torment located within the Earth; it is the "realm ... of those who have rejected spiritual values by yielding to bestial appetites or violence, or by perverting their human intellect to fraud or malice against their fellowmen". As an allegory, the Divine Comedy represents the journey of the soul toward God, with the Inferno describing the recognition and rejection of sin.
Paradiso is the third and final part of Dante's Divine Comedy, following the Inferno and the Purgatorio. It is an allegory telling of Dante's journey through Heaven, guided by Beatrice, who symbolises theology. In the poem, Paradise is depicted as a series of concentric spheres surrounding the Earth, consisting of the Moon, Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, the Fixed Stars, the Primum Mobile and finally, the Empyrean. It was written in the early 14th century. Allegorically, the poem represents the soul's ascent to God.
The Malebranche are the demons in the Inferno of Dante's Divine Comedy who guard Bolgia Five of the Eighth Circle (Malebolge). They figure in Cantos XXI, XXII, and XXIII. Vulgar and quarrelsome, their duty is to force the corrupt politicians (barrators) to stay under the surface of a boiling lake of pitch.
Dante's Hell Animated is a 2013 American animated short film produced and directed by Boris Acosta.
This article contains material translated from the Italian Wikipedia's version of this page.
The Divine Comedy Illustrated by Botticelli is a manuscript of the Divine Comedy by Dante, illustrated by 92 full-page pictures by Sandro Botticelli that are considered masterpieces and amongst the best works of the Renaissance painter. The images are mostly not taken beyond silverpoint drawings, many worked over in ink, but four pages are fully coloured. The manuscript eventually disappeared and most of it was rediscovered in the late nineteenth century, having been detected in the collection of the Duke of Hamilton by Gustav Friedrich Waagen, with a few other pages being found in the Vatican Library. Botticelli had earlier produced drawings, now lost, to be turned into engravings for a printed edition, although only the first nineteen of the hundred cantos were illustrated.
Pia de' Tolomei was an Italian noblewoman from Siena.