Good English translations of Dante's Divine Comedy?

Hi,

I want to read Dante's Divine Comedy to Jesus in the tabernacle. I often read him Catholic poetry and song lyrics in front of the tabernacle or at adoration when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed if no one else is in the chapel or church.

Do you know which are the high quality English translations of the Divien Comedy by Dante Alighieri?

Thank you and God bless you,
Joshua

Joshua,

I'd highly recommend Anthony Esolen's translations -- excellent renditions of the poetry (it keeps the music of Dante's terza rima with some adaptations), and the notes are grounded in Catholic theology and history while still being balanced in certain political aspects of the Divine Comedy. Many translators I've read seem to treat the poem as a political work and have only a passing knowledge of Catholicism. Esolen excels in all areas.

I've read the DC during Lent for about four or five years straight, so I checked out a few different ones (and I also read it during my undergrad and grad days in various lit courses).

Allen Mandlebaum's translation is very good as well.

Also, I recommend John Ciardi.

[quote="Mary_Gail_36, post:3, topic:255723"]
Allen Mandlebaum's translation is very good as well.

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[quote="Anna_jane, post:4, topic:255723"]
Also, I recommend John Ciardi.

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Both are commendable translations, but neither has the solid Catholic endnotes, introduction, etc that the Esolen has.

[quote="I_Thirst, post:5, topic:255723"]
Both are commendable translations, but neither has the solid Catholic endnotes, introduction, etc that the Esolen has.

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After I posted this question, I searched for Divine Comedy and Dante on the Catholic Answers main homepage, and found some articles by Anthony Esolon. Then I went to the library at my college, where I am now, waiting for a student mass tonight, and took out his translation.

Thank you for all your suggestions.

Another (older) translation is by Dorothy Sayers (finished by Barbara Reynolds). It preserves terza rima, and I found the notes excellent. Sayers was an Anglican, but very much on the "Catholic" side of Anglicanism. The Penguin Classics version uses Sayers, so it's very accessible.

I haven't seen Esolen's so can't compare.

The other translation I've used is Ciardi's, which is vivid and dramatic but probably not the best for the purpose you intend.

Edwin

Edwin, I’ve read the Sayers/Reynolds and I agree with your assessment – solid footnotes and the translation is quite musical. Easy to find in used book stores. All things being equal, I’d still go with Esolen.

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