Author Topic: Good translations of Dante’s “Divine Comedy” ?  (Read 423 times)

Offline SalveMaterMisericordiæ

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Good translations of Dante’s “Divine Comedy” ?
« on: May 02, 2022, 08:15:23 PM »
Ave Maria!

I just recently started reading “Purgatorio” for recreation.  I really am loving it so far.  I have the Everyman’s Library edition of “The Divine Comedy”? Are there better translations out there? 
To do Thy will, O my God, is all my desire, to carry out that law of Thine which is written in my heart.  And I told the story of Thy just dealings before a great throng; be witness, Lord, that I do not seal my lips. Thy just dealings are no secret hidden away in my heart; I boast of Thy faithful protection, proclaim that mercy, that faithfulness of Thine for all to hear it. Psalm 39:9-11 Knox Version

Sentite de Deo in bonitate!—Wisdom 1:1

Tuus totus ego sum et omnia mea tua sunt.
 

Offline Lynne

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Re: Good translations of Dante’s “Divine Comedy” ?
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2022, 08:45:39 PM »
Mark Musa's translation is excellent. I'll try to remember to bring the book downstairs tomorrow morning so I can give you a quote or two.
In conclusion, I can leave you with no better advice than that given after every sermon by Msgr Vincent Giammarino, who was pastor of St Michael’s Church in Atlantic City in the 1950s:

    “My dear good people: Do what you have to do, When you’re supposed to do it, The best way you can do it,   For the Love of God. Amen.”
 
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Offline Jayne

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Re: Good translations of Dante’s “Divine Comedy” ?
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2022, 01:01:22 PM »
I don't know that it is a better translation, but Dorothy L. Sayers's translation is considered quite good.  You might find it interesting to read a translation from someone who was a well-known fiction author in her own right.

This is not the easiest translation to read.  She keeps the rhyme pattern and uses somewhat archaic English.  But this reflects the the language in Dante's original and gives the "feel" of it.  You could look into it, if this appeals to you.
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Thine.
 
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Offline Bernadette

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Re: Good translations of Dante’s “Divine Comedy” ?
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2022, 01:34:03 PM »
I have John Ciardi’s translation. It got good reviews but I haven’t read it yet.
"Make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is come to life again; he was lost, and is found."
 
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Offline Lynne

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Re: Good translations of Dante’s “Divine Comedy” ?
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2022, 06:05:42 AM »
Here's the opening Canto of the book... (Mark Musa's translation Penguin Classics, The Portable Dante)

In conclusion, I can leave you with no better advice than that given after every sermon by Msgr Vincent Giammarino, who was pastor of St Michael’s Church in Atlantic City in the 1950s:

    “My dear good people: Do what you have to do, When you’re supposed to do it, The best way you can do it,   For the Love of God. Amen.”
 
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Offline Lynne

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Re: Good translations of Dante’s “Divine Comedy” ?
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2022, 06:09:20 AM »
And from keepthefaith.org, here's part 3 of a 4-part talk on poetry in the Middle Ages by Dr David Allen White which covers the poem.
In conclusion, I can leave you with no better advice than that given after every sermon by Msgr Vincent Giammarino, who was pastor of St Michael’s Church in Atlantic City in the 1950s:

    “My dear good people: Do what you have to do, When you’re supposed to do it, The best way you can do it,   For the Love of God. Amen.”
 
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Offline drummerboy

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Re: Good translations of Dante’s “Divine Comedy” ?
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2022, 12:55:20 AM »
I've read Ciardi's translation and found it enjoyable and tedious in the least, but I haven't read other translation to compare it to.

Anthony Esolen is supposed to have a translation, which doubtless would be a worthwhile read and companion to his lecture series on the Comedy, which I highly recommend (published by TAN).
 
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Offline Tennessean

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Re: Good translations of Dante’s “Divine Comedy” ?
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2022, 09:21:47 AM »
How many years of Italian would I need to read the original?
 

Offline Jayne

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Re: Good translations of Dante’s “Divine Comedy” ?
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2022, 02:38:47 PM »
How many years of Italian would I need to read the original?

Dorothy L Sayers  learned enough Italian to do a translation in less than a year.  However, her Latin skills were extremely good, since she started studying it at six years old.

Dante's Italian is part way between Latin and modern Italian, so ideally you would know both languages if you wanted to read the original Commedia. 

How long it would take you to learn depends on a various factors. like which languages you know already and how often you study.  If you studied for an hour every day it would likely take in the two to three year range. 
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Thine.
 
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Offline Polymath

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Re: Good translations of Dante’s “Divine Comedy” ?
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2022, 10:15:53 AM »
Is there one that preserves the terza rima of the original Italian in English?