This unique poetic translation by Herbert A. Kenny, historian and poet, is the first that incorporates the Biblical, theological and historical allusions of the greatest poem in Christendom into the text itself. It can now be appreciated without a glossary or accompanying notes. Listen as the liquid lines take you through the horrors of the "Inferno", the mysteries of "Purgatorio" and the glories of "Paradiso".
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I purchased this title several months ago on CD and have been hoping for some time that Audible would make it available. It's an unusual version of the Divine Comedy: a fresh translation with a kind of built-in study guide. Brief explanations of most of the allusions in this complex poem are woven into the text. For example, where Dante might refer to "the Eagle," this translation says: "the Eagle, emblem of the Empire."
There is one drawback to this, and that is that Dante's allusions are not always so clear-cut. The translator has typically chosen a single concrete tag line among the many possible annotations. But this audiobook is an introduction, not a substitute for an intensive study of Dante. It's meant to be an enjoyable and comprehensible audiobook, something that will give you more of the Divine Comedy on a first listen than you can get from most of the others available.
I've read the Commedia several times in a variety of translations, and despite my familiarity with many of the passages, I found these small additions to the text quite helpful. It's easy when reading the poem to forget who was a Guelph and who was a Ghibelline; this audiobook helps you keep it straight.
Although I haven't seen the text in print (I'm not sure if it's even available), the translation appears to be prose. The translator has tried to capture some of the poetic energy of the work by making extensive use of alliteration rather than rhyme. Most of the time this works admirably; sometimes it's a strain.
Grover Gardner, a Virgil among readers, gives his usual sterling narration.
I would suggest, if you do get this, that you listen to it in small doses. Despite the helpful features of the translation, Dante's poem remains dense with symbol and meaning. There's a lot to take in. Go slow and savor.
"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one." - Jojen Reed. #ADanceWithDragons
Dante did a masterful job here and coupled with the excellent narrative by Grover Gardner this was without a doubt a true joy to listen to.
The imagery created by Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso was done immensely well. I found Dante's depiction of Inferno (Hell) exceptionally well written and the translation of Herbert Kenny seems to have done it justice. I personally thought that it was the best of the three explained in this prose. I say that not to take away from the impact that Purgatorio (Limbo) and Paradiso (Heaven) created because those two (2) sections were also quite impressively worded and translated. One would think that due to the somewhat specific mention that was made to certain persons, places and cultural idiosyncrasies that was very evident in the book that it would be difficult to follow at times but I found it very easy to follow. It really is quite timeless if you ask me, it should be able to resound quite well if you are interested in any theological writing or if you are simply a fan of expertly written prose of epic proportions. There is nothing I can take away from the writing itself and outside of someone simply disagreeing with the concepts he puts forward I doubt there is anything anyone will be able to take from it.
There are a number of different versions of this book on the website and I was very concerned by the reviews regarding the narration until I came across this one. I started listening to this title very critical because I was essentially preparing for the worse... but I was surprised... Pleasantly so! The narrator did in fact do the book justice! He keeps the pace well and was able to keep you well enough engrossed in the story.
Overall, just plain masterful all around. This was time well spent! And most definitely have replay value!
The author's extensive knowledge and enthusiasm about the topic brings out the world of Dante's Divine Comedy like I have never experieced before reading these poems over the years. If you are at all interested at all in this classic work, then don't hesitate and pick up this masterful course.
Dante's visions during the first part of the comedy often strike me as proto-horror, with other elements anticipating fantasy and science fiction, but I don't think the work needs me to provide a synopsis. Wikipedia can give you that. The trouble with finding a good audiobook of Dante's work is finding one that has a good translation for listening, along with a narrator who doesn't drive you mad. In my experience, classic narrators often strike a really aggrandized, pretentious voice, which they don't need to. And that's why I love this translation by Herbert A. Kennedy, narrated by Grover Gardener. It's a great vernacular translation (Dante was writing in the language of the people) read without lofty tone. I've listened to two other versions of Dante's Inferno, and this unabridged version of the entire Divine Comedy is my favorite.
I found this translation and narration very crisp and engaging.
The story itself has high and low parts. I am constantly amazed at Dante's boldness in criticizing the church while worshiping in deep and honest reverence. His political and religious criticisms are very worthwhile to hear. It's only a shame that the events are too far removed from us to understand how these people and events fit into his world.
The imagery and constant imagination of Dante are without many equals. No one else has done any worthwhile imagining of Hell, Heaven, or Purgatory especially of Heaven. He manages to engage us and draw us in with vivid and personal descriptions.
The anachronism of the belief system is often a problem. I bristle at the vituperation heaped upon the tragic suicides. The paucity of grace and vindictiveness of god fall outside of my faith. I do love that he places Satan not as a victor but as the very deepest and most tortured prisoner.
An intriguing experience
This is easily one of the greatest poems ever written, not only in its literary style but in its timeless themes. Though not expressly a literary work, Dante probes the depths of human depravity and sin and the exquisite of hope eternal life to those who seek God's love through Jesus Christ. The translation is a nice mix between the classical nature of the language and up to date English.
The narrator has a very listenable voice. He reads very distinctly and with satisfactory inflection. He does have a rather fast rate that sometimes makes grasping the concepts and literary allusions a bit difficult. There are occasionally longer pauses that do not seem to fit the pacing of the story.
I was taken aback at the incredible drama when Dante finally meets Beatrice at the gates of Heaven. She chastises him for nurturing an adolescence crush on her rather than seeking the true love the comes from God--and there is nothing he can say.
A very worthwhile odyssey.
This version of the Divine Comedy is incredibly modern, which is why I recommend it for anyone new to this piece of literature. I myself am new to it, so I was pleased to see this version on Audible.
Grover Gardner's narration is excellent. He does move quickly through the material, which may explain why this version is somewhat shorter than the others on Audible.
This version adds clarifying phrases throughout the text. I like this, since I've never seen a good solution for incorporating footnotes and/or background notes into an audio book like this without detracting from the main narrative. I have to wonder if the translator knew that commuters don't want to be looking things up while they're driving.
Bottom line: if you're new to the Divine Comedy, this version is a good one to get.
Where does this one rank? Well, it is not my all time favorite, but it certainly is right up there with the top books.
I like the way the book flows. You are on a journey and if you pay attention to Dante, you can see the transformation that takes place as he moves through the poem. He grows and he finally gets it.
I have listened to many books narrated by Grover Gardner. He is outstanding. Mr Gardner is one of the few narrators that I have seen listed as the narrator on a book that I was a little 'iffy' about purchasing, that seeing him listed has made me decide to get the book anyway. I have never been anything less than delighted with his narrations.
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Difficult book because it's so not part of everyday European History with all the people he's talking about. Read twice now and still don't feel like I caught the gist of the book.
This book is great but can be hard to understand at times.The style it is written in and translated can be kind of hard to comprehend at first. It also helps a lot the more you know of the bible, Italian history and Greek mythology. I really really enjoy this/these books and the audio one is really well done. The Narrator does a good job with pace with the different style of writing that the book was written.
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