The Divine Comedy

Clive James

‘Finally I realised that I had been practising for this job every time I wrote a quatrain . . . I had spent all this time – the greater part of a lifetime – preparing my instruments’

The Divine Comedy is the precursor of modern literature, and Clive James’s new translation – his life’s work and decades in the making – presents Dante’s entire epic poem in a single song.

While many poets and translators have attempted to capture the full glory of The Divine Comedy in English, many have fallen short. Victorian verse translations established an unfortunate tradition of reproducing the sprightly rhyming measures of Dante but at the same time betraying the strain on the translator’s powers of invention. For Dante, the dramatic human stories of Hell were exciting, but the spiritual studies of Purgatory and the sublime panoramas of Heaven were no less so.

In this incantatory new translation, James – defying the convention by writing in quatrains – tackles these problems head-on and creates a striking and hugely accessible translation that gives us The Divine Comedy as a whole, unified, and dramatic work.

Genre: Poetry
ISBN: 9781447244226
Published: 03/06/2015

Clive James

Clive James

Clive James is the author of more than thirty books. As well as verse and novels, he has published collections of essays, literary criticism, television criticism and travel writing, plus four volumes of autobiography, hisUnreliable Memoirs. In 1992 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia and in 2003 he was awarded the Philip Hodgins memorial medal for literature. He holds honorary doctorates from Sydney University and the University of East Anglia. In 2012 he was appointed CBE.

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