Reviews for Divine Comedy

Library Journal Reviews 2010 September #2

Prolific translator Raffel (Distinquished Professor Emeritus of Arts & Humanities, Univ. of Louisiana at Lafayette) has produced a new verse translation of the complete Divine Comedy, joining those of John Ciardi, Mark Musa, Allen Mandelbaum, Robert Pinsky, and others. Raffel, whose recent translations include The Canterbury Tales and Das Nibelungenlied, offers a serviceable version of Dante, observing Dante's rhyme scheme and basic rhythms. His choice of diction, however, is a bit staid, flattening some of Dante's idiomatic registers. The overall effect is somewhat ponderous. Raffel's version also includes an introduction by Paul J. Contino (great books, Pepperdine Univ.) and extensive informational notes by Henry L. Carrigan Jr. (senior editor/assistant director at the press and an LJ reviewer). As with the translation, these are serviceable but offer no great insight into the text. VERDICT A competent translation that does not supersede any of the others that are currently available. While Raffel is a good poet and his translation is accurate, Musa's and Pinsky's translations remain the preferred choices for general readers and students owing to their fluency and vigor.--T.L. Cooksey, Armstrong Atlantic State Univ., Savannah, GA

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