I finally finished reading this (Longfellow translation).
I recognize the genius behind it and it's obvious Dante was intelligent and very well read but I really can't say I overly enjoyed it.
Would a different translation or more knowledge of Christianity (and its many notable contributors) increase my liking for it?
Clive James' translation if you want a more bombastic, modern translation that takes a lot of liberties with the source text
John Ciardi's if you want a perfectly serviceable translation with great notes on the deeper allegorical meanings of the work
The Hollanders' translation if you want each cantica in seperate , aesthetic at volumes brimming with academic commentary. Probably the dryest of the three but still very enjoyable.
A lot of the reason the Divine Comedy is so popular is because Dante is very intimate with his reader, addressing him directly and inviting us to go along with him. In a sense, the best readers perform a bit of their own moral inventory as they accompany Dante along. If you read this not as a dusty old poem but as a great work of moral fiction, and really sit on and contemplate the horror of Hell and the beauty of heaven, it s one of the most powerful poems I've ever read. Approach the historical figures present in the poem not as boring historical figures but real actual people who lived who did some fucked up shit and were saved by the grace of their faith in a better life.
Not to mention Dante's language always shines through
No. Even the basic concept of the story is shit: a protagonist who just walks around looking at scenery and people, sometimes having short and invariably shallow conversations (often just an excuse for the author to vent his pettiness and resentment) and never encountering challenge or adversity of any kind.
Some of the descriptions of the punishments/scenery are beautiful and wonderfully imaginative, which redeems the book somewhat, but that's it. The Italian original might have good rhymes or something, I don't know. But as an epic it's a complete failure, especially when compared to the work of his Roman idols.
this is made really simple by a 3 month crash course in italian and prior knowledge of Latin
"but I'm not gonna learn italian!"
it should take you 3 months tops before you can read dante. maybe less. literally pleb
>implying you posted of anything of substance to refute within your initial claim
>what is shitposting?
new /lit/ is /shitlit/
I hate you. I hate you so, so much. If I were to take every strand of DNA in my body and stretch it out, writing "I hate you" on every nucleotide, it still would not express a fraction of a fraction of the hate I feel towards you. Literally kill yourself.
Harold Bloom recommends monoglots read it in John D. Sinclair's lucid prose. I read Sinclair's Inferno and liked it better than the verse translation I read (Esolen).
I've dabbled in Ciardi. He's all right.
>mfw you have unironically started to believe your own bait about the Divine Comedy, one of the greatest and most influential works in Western history, the birthbed of the Italian language, being 'shit'
>not shallow conversations
"Florence sure sucks, am I right guys?"
"The Papacy is bad lol."
"And now for my most brilliant theological argument... how do I know the biblical miracles really happened? Because the Bible became really popular, which is itself a miracle, proving that everything in it is true! Checkmate atheists! Man, what a genius I am."
Aaaaand there we have it. The person defaming Dante's masterpiece is a fedora.
Don't know what I expected.
You shouldn't see the Divine Comedy as a mere story: it is the poem that contains every aspect of the medieval culture and relationship with religion, plus lots of beliefs and common ideas of the time. Plus Dante is really "in his time", so much that he puts various people that he effectively knew in the three different reigns, giving also a great view of the political situation of the time. You should more "study" the Divine Comedy rather then read it like a story, because it is so filled with details that yu could endlessly go deeper in its comprehension. Plus, you obviously should read it in Italian ;) even if it's veeery difficult for us too, especially Heaven. In Italy we spend three whole years of school studying the three parts of this poem, so yeah, it's pretty complex, but its beauty is astonishing and its imagery is unbelievable. Also, the Divine Comedy was the work that established the rules of a whole new Italian language, and so the words and the construction of phrases that he uses is very important and interesting to analyze too. I could talk about this masterpiece for ages, but I think you got the point, Dante was incredible.
nice numbers bro
Dante confirmed top tier, fedora's btfo
>Not enjoying the most atmospheric piece of literature of all time
>Not enjoying maybe the best last sentences in a book ever written
>Virgil > Han Solo
> "... like a man whose mind is on his winnings, when time comes from him to lose, all his thoughts turn into sorrows and tears..."
>Not getting on the feel train
>God himself has granted quints to shoo the fedoras
Have you ever thought that people with taste will naturally converge on the same great works on art because they are better than the rest rather than it just being a result of people parroting others?
Oh wait no, because you're a fucking pleb.
Not my fault Purgatorio is such a slog.
But really, I think people get turned off by the elevated prose of the latter two volumes. Inferno is gritty and banal, and the language becomes loftier and more intricate as the Commedia progresses.
When Virgil laments to Dante that he will never see the gates of heaven I tear up. Every time.
"Confine yourselves, o humans, to the quia;
had you been able to see all, there would
have been no need for Mary to give birth.
You saw the fruitless longing of those men
who would--if reason could--have been content,
those whose desire eternally laments:
I speak of Aristotle and of Plato--
and many others." Here he bent his head
and said no more, remaining with his sorrow.
Longfellow is a bit archaic. He really turned me off from reading the Divine Comedy when I tried to do it in high school. Picked it up again last year with the Mandelbaum translation and I really enjoyed. So yeah, try another translation. It can make a big difference.
Virgil (and others who were good pre Jesus) should at least get to go to purgatory.
I wonder how Virgil felt after returning to Inferno.
Would the other souls ask him of his journey, would he compose a poem for them? Would he be thankful for being teased the beauty of purgatory or would it make him bitter that he'll never experience it?
Is the Inferno just one giant hissy fit? All of the people that made fun of Dante are suffering in hell, everything he dislikes is punished. I know hell is generally just one big revenge-fantasy but Dante doesn't even try to hide it.
No one has said that the garbage theology is the only problem or even the main one. The main problem is that everything good in it is essentially scenery (i.e. the environments, but also the punishments and the rewards, which are little more than scenery). Everything else is mediocre at best and laughable at worst.
None of the characters are ever challenged and none of them develop (aside from Dante, but his development is minimal and not interesting in any way). And the characters aren't even interesting in the way a static character can be interesting because none of them are examined in any depth whatsoever. The dialogue sometimes consists in awful theology and sometimes in mediocre psychology, but mostly it's Dante giving his value judgments on 14th century Florence or some religious order/obscure historical figure or other. But these value judgments are neither entertaining nor interesting. If he wanted to write a shitty religious-political essay full of personal attacks he should've written a shitty religious-political essay full of personal attacks, and not an epic.
What remains after this is the scenery. And again, the scenery is great. But scenery alone can never aspire to the same heights as a depiction of conflict, struggle, danger and tragedy on a grand scale, as found in the very works Dante claims to idolize -- that is, the works of Homer, Virgil, Ovid, Statius -- and of course in many other epics from other eras and cultures. But the Comedy is lacking even if we confine ourselves to comparing it with other Christian epics. Take Paradise Lost. Actually, don't: take just ONE of its twelve parts, and chances are that in that one part you will find more beauty, passion, tragedy etc. than in the Comedy as a whole.
Meanwhile praise for the Comedy on this site reaches such heights as "it's good" and "it influenced the Italian language." Well, let me give criticism that better fits the intellectual level here, then: "its a shit book m8, btw I took your mum to paradiso last night lol"
we don't need to prove it's good. besides its longevity, the consensus of thousands of actual, educated scholars of literature over the generations since its publication is on our side. the burden of proof is on you, my friend, and if the best you can come up with 'i don't like christianity' and 'the characters aren't interesting,' well, i'm afraid it's a burden far too heavy for your myopic intellect to shoulder.
>"And the characters aren't even interesting in the way a static character can be interesting because none of them are examined in any depth whatsoever"
>"And the characters aren't even interesting in the way a static character can be interesting"
>"static character can be interesting"
>ignoring other criticisms and assuming that interesting characters, whether static or not, are at all claimed to be a prerequisite for a great story, while in reality that isn't said anywhere
I seriously doubt that someone who is barely literate has read the Comedy at all.
>besides its longevity, the consensus of thousands of actual, educated scholars of literature over the generations since its publication is on our side
>"Why do I like it? Oh, well, because I was told I should."
>the best you can come up with 'i don't like christianity' and 'the characters aren't interesting,'
Again, I doubt that someone who can't even read 4chan posts without tripping over his own feet, hallucinating things that are not there (like the idea that "I don't like Christianity" has at any point been advanced as an argument) while ignoring what is actually written (leading to the idea that "the characters aren't interesting" is the only criticism) has read the Comedy at all.