Item description for The Portable Dante (Penguin Classics) by Dante Alighieri & Mark Musa...
Overview Includes "The Divine Comedy," "The New Life," and other selected poems, prose, and letters accompanied by biographical and introductory sections.
Dante Alighieri paved the way for modern literature, while creating verse and prose that remain unparalleled for formal elegance, intellectual depth, and emotional grandeur. The Portable Dante contains complete verse translations of Dante's two masterworks, The Divine Comedy and La Vita Nuova, as well as a bibliography, notes, and an introduction by eminent scholar and translator Mark Musa.
Citations And Professional Reviews The Portable Dante (Penguin Classics) by Dante Alighieri & Mark Musa has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Wilson Senior High Core Col - 01/01/2011 page 617
Wilson Public Library Catalog - 01/01/2004 page 676
Wilson Senior High Core Col - 01/01/2007 page 501
Wilson Public Library Catalog - 12/31/2008 page 855
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Studio: Penguin Classics
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 7.72" Width: 5.08" Height: 1.33" Weight: 1.05 lbs.
Release Date Jul 29, 2003
Publisher Penguin Classics
Series Penguin Classics
ISBN 0142437549 ISBN13 9780142437544 UPC 051488017004
Availability 0 units.
More About Dante Alighieri & Mark Musa
Durante degli Alighieri, simply referred to as Dante (1265–1321), was a major Italian poet of the Middle Ages. His Divine Comedy, originally called La Comedia and later called Divina by Boccaccio, is widely considered the greatest literary work composed in the Italian language and a masterpiece of world literature.
In Italy he is known as il Sommo Poeta ("the Supreme Poet") or just il Poeta. He, Petrarch and Boccaccio are also known as "the three fountains" or "the three crowns". Dante is also called the "Father of the Italian language".
He entered into Florentine politics in 1295, but he and his party were forced into exile in a hostile political climate in 1301. Taking asylum in Ravenna late in life, Dante completed his Divine Commedia, considered one of the most important works of Western literature, before his death in 1321.
Dante Alighieri was born in 1265 and died in 1321.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Portable Dante (Penguin Classics)?
Excellent translation, but some drawbacks to this edition Jun 23, 2006
First, a word about Mark Musa's translation of Dante's works. His interpretations of the Divine Comedy and La Vita Nuova are very beautiful, extremely readable, and as true to Dante as you can be in English. Musa's scholarship is excellent, and his introductory essays on Dante and his works are a pleasure to read, offering a broad understanding of what Dante is all about.
However, it is important that you keep in mind that a number of concessions had to be made for this book. Collecting the massive poems of the Divine Comedy, along with La Vita Nuova, is no mean task - I'm astounded Penguin Classics pulled it off in such a compact and readable volume. But this collection comes at the expense of some features that range from minor to outright baffling.
First, the minor stuff. This edition lacks the informative diagrams and illustrations of the standalone Divine Comedy volumes from Penguin Classics (Inferno, et al). Given the complexity of Dante's creation, it is very helpful to have maps to show you where the various parts of the afterlife are, and who inhabits them. Puzzlingly, /The Portable Dante/ includes a detailed map of Purgatory, but only a very vague and un-labeled map of Inferno, and NO map of Paradiso and the celestial spheres. Very strange and disappointing.
More unfortunate is the lack of a glossary. The Penguin Classics /Inferno/ has an excellent glossary of people and places that appear in the poem. This is a phenomenal resource for figuring out who is where in Hell, what they represent, and what Dante is doing with them.
However, the most (potentially) major issue with this volume is the sparse commentary. The individual books of The Divine Comedy have extensive endnotes, detailing broad sections and individual passages in great detail. The notes offer a better understanding of what Dante is doing, because virtually every line of poetry includes multi-faceted references to classical mythology, Christian scripture, and contemporary or historical Italian culture. For the majority of the Divine Comedy, well over 50% of the notes (as compared with the individual Penguin Classics books) have been removed.
The endnotes have been converted to non-intrusive footnotes, which is a welcome shift. But I can't help but feel that also including a detailed endnotes section would have added much, so that at the very least the reader could explore the more obscure references (passages from the Aeneid, the Bible, and so on) if they so desire. I also noticed some notes rather crucial to understanding have been removed completely, which is very unfortunate.
So how come, after all this whining and moaning, I still give /The Portable Dante/ a full five stars? Because Mark Musa's translation is so fluid and vital, and having such a beautiful collection in a compact volume is extremely valuable. There is enough supplementary material that casual readers can enjoy Dante's mastery and creativity, and they will perhaps be tantalized to explore the deeper meanings he plants throughout.
Here's the bottom line: /The Portable Dante/ is what I use when I wish to read Dante to others, or to simply read through for my own enjoyment. If you need extensive scholarly information, I recommend also buying the Penguin Classics editions of the individual parts of The Divine Comedy. But as a smooth and very readable base camp for your exploration of Dante, I can think of no better book than this.
Highly recommended, whatever your level of interest in this fascinating poet and his works.
Good basic text Feb 26, 2006
good translation - not excellent, but good, and the footnotes are helpful. The translator also makes an attempt at explaining the contrapasso for each Canto of Inferno, which can be helpful to the independant reader.
The All-In-One Dante Feb 26, 2005
"The Portable Dante" provides readers with the complete "Divine Comedy" (Inferno, Purgatory, Paradise), an excellent biography on the author, historical background, a great translation by one of the the best translators of the genre, and Dante's often forgotten work "La Vita Nuova". What more could you ask for? Essentially, this volume has it all. I would highly recommend it for anyone who wishes to read the entire "Divine Comedy" from Hell to Heaven. It's better than having to buy each book separately. And nothing is lost from putting it all into one place. Each Canto is complete and excellently translated into verse form (as it should be). This edition makes the often difficult work easier to read by providing a summary at the beginning of each Canto (though I often skip over these because I don't want to spoil the surprise, but they're there if you need them) and notes at the bottom of each page (instead of in the back of the book like another edition I read), making them easy to refer to while reading.
There are a lot of editions of this timeless work out there, but this is the one to get. Great translation and excellent organization.
Dante - My admittedly poor review Jan 16, 2005
Dante has always been a difficult writer for me. His long established greatness and unquestioned place in the pantheon of man's great literary creators is not something I question or doubt. I understand that he is the major writer of the Christian Middle Ages, and for many along with Shakespeare at the very pinnacle of the world's literary creators. My own difficulty with Dante may in part relate to the fact that he is presenting a Christian vision of life on earth, hell, purgatory and heaven. And that this vision is something I as a Jew have difficulty giving full emotional sympathy to. But there is another difficulty which I found in reading even the most colorful portrayals of those suffering in the Inferno. I found it all to be cruel. And I was repelled by the idea that God would so delight in the tremendous sufferings inflicted on sinners, who are after all too God's creatures. In other words the whole emotional landscape of Dante's lower world, and the great imaginative effort made to portray various strange and unusual sufferings repelled me. I found it in so many way petty and wrong and outside my sense of what God who made all creatures great and small , would condone. Could God who is Good really take delight in all these unending torments? I prefer to think of God as One who rather would seek a way to help save others even those who have sinned, rather than condemn them. Thus the very premise of this great work seems to put it outside my own particular grasp or emotional comprehension. Moreover as Dante moved to Purgatory and then later to Paradise I found myself somehow sleeping and not interested. These ' spiritual landscapes ' were too outside my own sense as a Jew of what the world is truly about . Of course God wants our penitence but there does not have to be some special realm in order for God to get it.We can repent and change everyday where we are in our own life. I realize that what I am providing the review reader here is a very poor review indeed. It shows no knowledge or appreciation of the beauties of the language and other strengths of Dante's writing. It is however one poor reader's honest impression however little it be worth.
A master's works Oct 28, 2004
Okay, everyone has heard of the "Divine Comedy," the medieval masterwork of legendary poet Dante Alighieri. Heaven, hell, purgatory and so on. In "The Portable Dante," that sprawling supernatural epic is paired with his exquisite love ode, "La Vita Nuova."
"The Divine Comedy" is the story of Dante's guided tour through the three parts of the afterlife: Hell, where he is shown (by the poet Virgil) how the sinners are tormented in all sorts of inventive ways, depending on their sins. Purgatory, "the second kingdom," where Dante sees the suffering that people undergo to be purified of their wrongs. And finally paradise, where his beloved muse Beatrice shows him heaven, encountering his ancestors, angels, saints, and finally God himself.
"La Vita Nuova" (The New Life) is only loosely connected with the "Comedy." It tells of how Dante met Beatrice when they were both children, and he fell in love with her. Many years passed, and Dante's quiet adoration of Beatrice grew stronger, even though they married other people. The story follows his emotional ups and downs, and the writings that resulted... even when Beatrice died.
The main similarity between these two books is that they both feature (and adore) Beatrice. "La Vita Nuova" is an intimate little book, but the "Divine Comedy" sprawls all over Earth, the solar system (within the bounds of "paradiso"), and the three parts of the supernatural realm. You can't get much more epic than that.
Dante's writing remains rich and detailed, even translated into English. The descriptions of heaven and hell are mind-blowing, and sometimes the "Inferno" sections are even funny. Yes, hell is funny. But he also excels in describing his inner highs and lows in "La Vita Nuova," as he struggles with doubts, sorrow, anguish and joy.
But don't think that Dante's journeys are merely supernatural. While "La Vita Nuova" doesn't describe much beyond art and love, "Divine Comedy" also tackles religion and politics. It's a bit uncomfortable when Dante describes various people he disliked in hell. And he also takes the opportunity to criticize the Catholic chuch of his time, which had quite a few problems. However, his fervour for his religion, Beatrice and his art shine through.
"The Portable Dante" is an excellent way to check out Dante's most prominent works. Whether checking out an unrequited love, or journeying through the circles of hell, this is a spellbinding collection.