The Divine Comedy

Inferno; Purgatorio; Paradiso
Length: 2 hrs and 50 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,367 ratings)

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

OR
In cart

Publisher's Summary

Blake Ritson, David Warner, Hattie Morahan and John Hurt star in this BBC Radio 4 dramatisation of Dante's epic poem.

Inferno: Thirty-five year old Dante finds himself in the middle of a dark wood, in extreme personal and spiritual crisis. Hope of rescue appears in the form of the venerable poet Virgil, now a shade himself, who offers to lead Dante on an odyssey through the afterlife, beginning in the terrifying depths of Hell.

Purgatorio: Dante is led up Mount Purgatory by his guide. They encounter numerous souls who have embarked on the same difficult journey - one that will eventually lead to their spiritual salvation.

Paradiso: Dante's journey comes to a glorious conclusion as he is led by Beatrice, through the spheres of Paradise and into the presence of God himself. As they ascend, they encounter a number of souls who have also achieved blessedness. Many years later, the older Dante reflects on the episodes from his life that have inspired his great poem.

©2014 BBC Worldwide Ltd (P)2014 BBC Worldwide Ltd
What members say
Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,116
  • 4 Stars
    186
  • 3 Stars
    42
  • 2 Stars
    15
  • 1 Stars
    8
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,090
  • 4 Stars
    112
  • 3 Stars
    21
  • 2 Stars
    8
  • 1 Stars
    6
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    986
  • 4 Stars
    168
  • 3 Stars
    55
  • 2 Stars
    11
  • 1 Stars
    6

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Revisiting the land of the dead

My last year's reading has mostly been on things Italian and in the Italian language. Still, I regret to say I haven't picked up Dante in thirty years, so when I saw this title, I reacquainted myself with this incredible work of art.

Naturally, a radio broadcast can't cover the whole spectrum of the poem, and translations are apt to miss a few things, but as a dramatic production, it's first rate. All actors are superb --- David Warner in particular has an incredible voice and impeccable timing --- and the situations are beautifully rendered. I enjoyed every minute.

Listening to this inspired me to listen to Clive James' translation of the Divine Comedy, read by Edoardo Ballerini. I recommend it to anyone who wishes to investigate further. Ballerini's reading is particularly enchanting.

26 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A great introduction to The Divine Comedy

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This is a great way to get a gist of The Divine Comedy. It's beautifully narrated with different voices for different characters. When you add the sound effects and different cool effects you get a whole experience that really pulls you into the story. You don't think that the story is being told to you. Instead you feel like you are right there with Dante going through the same experiences that he is.

What did you like best about this story?

As it's The Divine Comedy, the story speaks for itself. What I liked the best was how you never knew what was going to happen but knew that it was going to affect you greatly. It feels real and you honestly fear for Dante's life even though you know that nothing bad is going to happen to him. This trilogy is very graphic and pulls on your emotions as it looks at major theological and philosophical questions. You never really get bored.

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

It was a full cast which was great. You get that full on experience of living there. I loved that so much! It really honestly felt as if you were there because of that. Instead of one narrator doing different voices of characters. Even the older Dante is played by a different voice actor. I loved that older Dante was played by John Hurt but I didn't recognize who did the voice of the younger Dante. It has been stated that Dante was a symbol of the every man. So having it not be a recognizable actor, at least to me, added in its brilliance.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Experience the three realms of the afterlife like never before...in stunning 3D.

Any additional comments?

I do want to note that this is abridged from the source material. It's a dramatization and skips cantos. This can be annoying especially as there are cantos that I thought they would not skip. There was one spectacular action sequence from Infierno that they skipped that shocked me. It was one that should have been here. Even with that it's a great dramatization. This is a great thing to listen to if you want the main gist or read the whole comedy and want to hear it. I would certainly recommend this to anyone interested in The Divine Comedy.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

MASTERFUL TRANSLATION

Superb cast. Translation is always a concern but the essence of this classic seems well captured to this ignorant English only listener.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

a great synopsis of the Divine Comedy

The Divine Comedy has always been one of my favorite book series. This audio recording does a fine job of summarizing the trilogy, but sadly lacks a lot of detail I enjoyed in the original works. Key points, like the Devil's three heads, people met throughout the books, and the like are missing. If you are considering reading the Divine Comedy this will serve as a fantastic introduction, but if you truly enjoy it I would highly suggest the original works.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing.

fantastic, always thought this poem would be boring and dry but it was entertaining, enlightening, and very well done. listen to it.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great summary but not a good source for analysis.<br />

loved the acting but felt that it didn't grasp the entire comedy tone. Considerating the constraints of a dramatization, i got a good feeling for the plot, but not the fear and visuals that exist in the comedy. One should read those aswell to fully appreciate the comedy.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Devine

An amazing journey. Read it under the sun, with plenty of time. Very good production and performance, masterfully written, enjoy.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Completely skips 2 circles of hell

The narrator goes from circle IV (greed) and skips straight to circle VII (Violence) and doesn't cover at all Circles V and VI

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I was totally captured

Loved the story. The different voices playing the different characters and sound effects really brought it to life. My only pain point was sometimes the background sounds were louder than the voices so at that point I would need to crank up the volume.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars

Priceless Read for All Christians

As a Catholic, Dante has begun to have a profound effect on me as I study and embrace my renewed faith after years as a self aggrandizing atheist with a self-entitled sense of adept philosophy. I do wish Audible hosted more great Catholic works. But I look forward to when they do.

1 person found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Andyjn
  • Andyjn
  • 01-06-16

Very good

I first listened to this when it was broadcast on the radio. It is very enjoyable and have listened to it many times. I would recommend it to anyone.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Andy
  • Andy
  • 08-11-16

Fantastic Read

The performances were amazing. Gives real insight into Christians and non-Christians. Really makes you think!

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for maria
  • maria
  • 01-08-19

I really enjoyed this book

Book was really interesting and the dramatization was really captivating. Made you feel like you were a part of the story.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for S. Evans
  • S. Evans
  • 05-14-17

Wonderful adaptation

I have not read the original and in sure that if I had, I would have reservations about what must have been huge cuts, but as an experience in its own right, this is superb. Rich in imagery but never intimidating. Very approachable. And navigates some of the moral certainties of dante which a modern reader might find challenging, with great finesse. Congratulations to all involved.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Ms. L. J. Pantrey
  • Ms. L. J. Pantrey
  • 07-07-20

Thoroughly enjoyable and thought provoking

Listening came at a very apt time., one which I needed stimulus to encourage me to consider my surroundings

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-19-20

Brilliant.

A brilliant performance, definitely worth a listen. Still prefer the full book though. However, the passion and power of the performance definitely does it justice.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for John Fairweather
  • John Fairweather
  • 12-17-19

Marvellous!

I thoroughly enjoyed this version of the divine comedy. Inferno has always been my favourite story. This is certainly a version I will keep in my collection.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-23-19

Dante-tastic!

John Hurt is superb! Strong cast, a good abridged version of this iconic story !

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mr. P. Matsangouras
  • Mr. P. Matsangouras
  • 10-22-19

A classic brought to Life

I can’t comment on the accuracy of the translation, but this dramatised version of the Divine Comedy is excellently produced; the voice acting and narrations transformer the listener to hell, purgatory, paradise and back.
Chilling when it needs to be, with the aid of unintrusive sound effects, as well as glorious and divine in other parts.
Despite it’s antiquated and subjective specs on morality and the virtue of its historical and mythological characters, it remains a classic for it’s overall aspiration for a better world and its vivid and iconic depiction of hellfire, that mixes the pagan and the Christian beautifully.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for shaddz
  • shaddz
  • 10-16-19

fantastic voice acting

fantastic voice acting, best I've ever heard on an audio book!
the story was lovely, even for an atheist.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 01-02-19

Wow!

I discovered this through a YouTube review of the movie 1408 and the depths the "psychological horror" can delve. It spoke of the parallels between the movie and the divine comedy (which I had never heard of). I went on Wikipedia to learn more about its origins, which led me here to listen to the dramatisation.

This being written in 1308 is mind blowing! The divine comedy is rich in imagination which I did not expect. It makes a lot of literature and modern movies seem pretty sub-standard by comparison.

Despite the heavily Christian undertones (ever present) this epic is brilliant. I can see a lot of this being reflected/copied in today's works, which shows how impactful it is and will most likely continue to be.

The actors in this are amazing and the sound effects are great. I started questioning myself after reading this so I guess it's now left it's mark on me too.

If you're not religious and can put aside the religious nature of this story (like me), you will be rewarded by it's structure, story, characters and it's intended purpose (hopefully). What a wonderfully beautiful epic!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 11-21-18

entertaining listen

feel like a bit of the detail in the book was lost in the translation to a play, but fantastic as none the less

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Glenda Walters
  • Glenda Walters
  • 07-15-18

Wow, exceeded all expectations!

The most amazing Audible book, or should I say performance!
Being a Dan Brown fan I had heard of Dante's Divine Comedy so thought I'd see what it was about.
Even though some of the themes are very old religious ideas, the general message is still applicable today and it's an amazing way to describe our human failings!
Both a great entertaining story and a much deeper spiritual experience!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Maria
  • Maria
  • 02-26-20

More beautiful than I imagined

Even though I forgot about it halfway through and came back for it later, I'm so glad I did.
It was beautiful. talks about high ideals of the times and I find it fascinating how humanity has changed much in some ways and not so much in others.
I loved this audiobook as I wouldn't have read it otherwise.
Thank you, it will stay with me for years to come.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Lou Skunt
  • Lou Skunt
  • 12-04-19

Need To Listen Through Again

Great performance and I like the length of time.
That said I did just play through while distracted and didn’t catch everything that was going on, which is normal for me anyway.

All the best fiction audiobooks I get familiar with in chunks and cunt wait to have a full grasp of the story.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jeremy Swanborough
  • Jeremy Swanborough
  • 11-09-18

Excellent production

exceptional, intense and provoking is how I would summarise this dramatization of one of the most influential poems of the 12th century and to this day stands as a testament to poetic influence in religious culture.