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The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri

Volume 1: Inferno

Edited and Translated by Robert M. Durling, Introduction by Robert M. Durling, Notes by Ronald L. Martinez, and Robert M. Durling

Publication Date - March 1997

ISBN: 9780195087444

672 pages
5-5/16 x 8 inches

In Stock


This is the first volume of a new prose translation of Dante's epic - the first in twenty-five years. Robert Durling's translation brings a new power and accuracy to the rendering of Dante's extraordinary vision of Hell, with its terror, pathos, and sardonic humour, and its penetrating analyses of the psychology of sin and the ills that plague society.

A newly edited version of the Italian text can be on facing pages, and this edition includes fully comprehensive notes as well as sixteen essays on special subjects.


  • Durling's translations of Inferno and Purgatorio are widely admired, and this one has been eagerly anticipated; in a sea of English-language translations of Dante, the ones provided by Durling stand among the best
  • Notes not only illuminate the Paradiso, but stress the links among all three volumes of the Commedia, something seldom-done in other editions
  • Original Italian appears on the left-hand page opposite the English language translations, allowing for easy comparisons and reference
  • Includes a lucid, stage-setting introduction that provides the historical, political, biblical, and theological contexts that enrich the reader's understanding of the poem

About the Author(s)

Robert M. Durling is Professor Emeritus of English and Italian Literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Ronald L. Martinez is Professor of Italian at Brown University. Their works together include Dante's Inferno and Purgatorio and Time and the Crystal: Studies in Dante's "Rime petrose."
Robert Turner has been a professional illustrator for thirty years.


"As Durling and Martinez complete their monumental three-volume presentation of Dante's masterpiece, we can sense their triumph and elation, despite their characteristic modesty. This, after all, is the volume with which they can demonstrate the fullness and consistency of Dante's great project, its final approach to what they describe in one footnote as 'a pitch of intensity unique in all literature.' The scholarship, as always, is graceful, comprehensive, and acute, and it surrounds a translation that is so carefully considered and fully realized as to be, at times, quite breathtaking." --David Young, translator of The Poetry of Petrarch

"Durling and Martinez deliver Paradiso in elegant English prose faithful to Dante's Italian. The general introduction and succinct notes to each canto enable an informed reading of a frequently daunting text, while the longer 'Additional Notes,' bibliography, and indices will more than satisfy the most exigent critic. Marvelous, in the richest medieval sense of the term." --Michael Wyatt, author of The Italian Encounter with Tudor England

"At the end of his poem Dante claims that his 'high imagining failed of power,' but Durling and Martinez have suffered no such fate in completing their translation of the Divine Comedy. Their Paradiso is a crowning achievement, a work of lucid prose and of impeccable accuracy. Readers will find themselves rewarded by the succinct, richly informative notes at the end of each canto and the extended essay-notes at the back of the volume. A splendid accomplishment." --Richard Lansing, editor of The Dante Encyclopedia

Table of Contents

    Abbreviations, xv
    Introduction, 2
    CANTO 1
    Notes to Canto 1

    CANTO 2
    Notes to Canto 2

    CANTO 3
    Notes to Canto 3

    CANTO 4
    Notes to Canto 4

    CANTO 5
    Notes to Canto 5

    CANTO 6
    Notes to Canto 6

    CANTO 7
    Notes to Canto 7

    CANTO 8
    Notes to Canto 8

    CANTO 9
    Notes to Canto 9

    CANTO 10
    Notes to Canto 10

    CANTO 11
    Notes to Canto 11

    CANTO 12
    Notes to Canto 12

    CANTO 13
    Notes to Canto 13

    CANTO 14
    Notes to Canto 14

    CANTO 15
    Notes to Canto 15

    CANTO 16
    Notes to Canto 16

    CANTO 17
    Notes to Canto 17

    CANTO 18
    Notes to Canto 18

    CANTO 19
    Notes to Canto 19

    CANTO 20
    Notes to Canto 20

    CANTO 21
    Notes to Canto 21

    CANTO 22
    Notes to Canto 22

    CANTO 23
    Notes to Canto 23

    CANTO 24
    Notes to Canto 24

    CANTO 25
    Notes to Canto 25

    CANTO 26
    Notes to Canto 26

    CANTO 27
    Notes to Canto 27

    CANTO 28
    Notes to Canto 28

    CANTO 29
    Notes to Canto 29

    CANTO 30
    Notes to Canto 30

    CANTO 31
    Notes to Canto 31

    CANTO 32
    Notes to Canto 32

    CANTO 33
    Notes to Canto 33



    Notes to "O qui perpetua'


    1. The Figure of Beatrice (After Canto 2)
    2. The Paradiso and the Monarchia
    3.The Primacy of the Intellect, the Sun, and the Circling Theologians (After Canto 14)
    4. Dante and the Liturgy (After Canto 15)
    5. The Religious Orders in the Paradiso
    6. The Threshold Cantos in the Comedy
    7. The Fate of Phaethon in the Comedy
    8. Circle-Cross-Eagle-Scales: Images in the Paradiso
    9. The Final Image
    10. The Neoplatonic Background
    11. Dante and Neoplatonism
    12. Dante's Astrology
    13. The Heavens and the Sciences: Convivio 2
    14. The Paradiso as Alpha and Omega

    Textual Variants
    Index of Italian, Latin, and Other Foreign Words Discussed in the Notes
    Index of Passages Cited in the Notes
    Index of Proper Names in the Notes
    Index of Proper Names in the Text and Translation