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Burning Love

Colin Burrow: Clive James’s Dante

23 October 2013
DanteThe Divine Comedy 
translated by Clive James.
Picador, 526 pp., £25, July 2013, 978 1 4472 4219 2
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... classic which was supranational and religious. To these conservatively inclined modernists Dante’s theological and political vision was the ultimate antidote to Führer-worship and doodlebugs, providing a direct link between Christianity and the civilisation of ancient Rome. The intellectual substructure of ...

Power Systems

John Bayley

15 March 1984
Dante and English Poetry: Shelley to T.S. Eliot 
by Steve Ellis.
Cambridge, 280 pp., £20, October 1983, 0 521 25126 5
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Dante the Maker 
by William Anderson.
Hutchinson, 497 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 09 153201 9
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DantePurgatory 
translated with notes and commentary by Mark Musa.
Indiana, 373 pp., £19.25, September 1981, 0 253 17926 2
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DanteParadiso and Purgatorio 
with translation and commentary by Charles Singleton .
Princeton, 610 pp., £11.80, May 1982, 0 691 01844 8
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Virgil: The Aeneid 
translated by Robert Fitzgerald.
Harvill, 403 pp., £12.50, March 1984, 0 00 271008 0
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... different vision of later poets. Milton’s works are made to bear witness against him, and so are Dante’s, but in more far-reaching and more subtle ways. These are analysed by Steve Ellis with great sympathy and penetration, and his book is one of the most interesting for all lovers of poetry to have appeared for some time. In La Poesia de ...
1 September 2005
Dante in English 
edited by Eric Griffiths and Matthew Reynolds.
Penguin, 479 pp., £16.99, May 2005, 0 14 042388 5
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... Dante in English’ is an anthology of English translations of passages from Dante (most of them from the Commedia); it also includes poetry in English by authors who have been influenced by Dante. The authors and translators range from Chaucer and other English writers to non-British poets such as Seamus Heaney, Derek Walcott and W ...

Between the Guelfs and the Ghibellines

Tim Parks: Guelfs v. Ghibellines

13 July 2016
DanteThe Story of His Life 
by Marco Santagata, translated by Richard Dixon.
Harvard, 485 pp., £25, April 2016, 978 0 674 50486 8
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... and feel aggrieved will set alarm bells ringing and have editors demanding revisions. How would Dante’s Divine Comedy have fared in an environment like this? Large numbers of his fellow citizens are named and shamed. It’s true that most of them were dead, but by no means all. Two living characters are pronounced so evil that the devil has carried their ...

Beyond the Human

Jamie McKendrick: Dante’s Paradiso

26 March 2009
Paradiso 
by Dante, translated by Robin Kirkpatrick.
Penguin, 480 pp., £12.99, October 2007, 978 0 14 044897 9
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Paradiso 
by Dante, translated by Robert Hollander and Jean Hollander.
Anchor, 915 pp., $19.95, September 2008, 978 1 4000 3115 3
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... wafers and panettone, his ‘ppandescèlo’ probably a nod to the ‘pan de li angeli’ in Dante’s Paradiso. With Dante, though, it’s a different story. In the first canto of this third part of his Commedia, he links the words valor and lavoro, ‘worth’ and ‘work’, as near anagrams and almost synonyms. But ...

Dante’s Mastery

Gabriel Josipovici

21 August 1980
Dante 
by George Holmes.
Oxford, 104 pp., £95, April 1980, 0 19 287504 3
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The Divine Comedy: A New Verse Translation 
by C.H. Sisson.
Carcanet, 455 pp., £8.95, April 1980, 9780856352737
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... No one, except perhaps Proust, has been able to express such a sense of totally unexpected joy as Dante, and what most often brings joy flooding through his body is the chance meeting with a revered ancestor or teacher. ‘O sanguis meus, O superinfusa gratia Dei,’ Cacciaguida greets him in Paradise, and Dante, turning in puzzlement to Beatrice, feels that ‘I had touched the limit both of my beatitude and of my paradise ...

Jamming up the Flax Machine

Matthew Reynolds: Ciaran Carson’s Dante

8 May 2003
The ‘Inferno’ of Dante Alighieri 
a new translation by Ciaran Carson.
Granta, 296 pp., £14.99, October 2002, 1 86207 525 5
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... Throughout the 19th century, Italian critics attributed to Dante’s Commedia the formal and linguistic unity they desired for their country. It is ‘a national Bible’, de Sanctis said; ‘harmony,’ Mazzini affirmed, ‘flows throughout in full tide.’ Similar ideas flourished in Britain and Ireland, encouraged by the tendency of early translators to naturalise Dante in flattened versions of recognisable styles ...
22 August 1996
The Divine Comedy 
by Dante Alighieri, translated by Allen Mandelbaum.
Everyman, 798 pp., £14.99, May 1995, 1 85715 183 6
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The Inferno of Dante. A New Verse Translation 
by Robert Pinsky, illustrated by Michael Mazur.
Dent, 427 pp., £20, February 1996, 9780460877640
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Dante’s Hell 
translated by Steve Ellis.
Chatto, 208 pp., £15.99, March 1994, 0 7011 6127 2
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... the original than it would without them have penetrated.’ Of these three new translations of Dante (not all of them quite new, for Allen Mandelbaum’s was first published ten years or so ago), Mandelbaum’s and Pinsky’s belong firmly in the second class, whilst Ellis’s, which makes a point of the modernity of its idiom, aspires perhaps a little to ...

Disintegration

Frank Kermode

27 January 1994
The Varieties of Metaphysical Poetry 
by T.S. Eliot, edited by Ronald Schuchard.
Faber, 343 pp., £25, November 1993, 0 571 14230 3
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... on the face of it unexpectedly, given his title – he wanted to write a lot more about Dante. On Dante, as he remarked in a preface, the whole of his argument depended. But this book was itself to be merely part of a larger project, a trilogy of which the other volumes would deal with the Elizabethan drama (on ...
30 March 2000
Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Collected Writings 
edited by Jan Marsh.
Dent, 531 pp., £25, November 1999, 0 460 87875 1
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Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Painter and Poet 
by Jan Marsh.
Weidenfeld, 592 pp., £25, November 1999, 0 297 81703 5
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... comes and goes, faded by the sun that drew it from the unripe earth’ (Purgatorio XI, 115-117). Dante Gabriel Rossetti did not translate that particular text, but he might have; perhaps he should have, given his cultural history. For Rossetti was, according to his age’s two most imposing critics, Ruskin and Pater, the period’s central artistic presence ...

At the Royal Academy

Jeremy Harding: Botticelli

5 April 2001
Botticelli's Dante 
Royal Academy, 360 pp., £48, March 2001, 0 900946 85 7Show More
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... aligned with the loins of Lucifer, the gigantic armature which holds the damned in their place. Dante’s Paradise is about unmitigated light, before it drains through the spheres to the earth. Nature, St Thomas explains in Canto xiii, cannot transmit these remains of the divine day, but fumbles them ‘like an artificer/Who knows his trade but has a ...

Check out the parking lot

Rebecca Solnit: Hell in LA

8 July 2004
Dante's Inferno 
by Sandow Birk and Marcus Sanders.
Chronicle, 218 pp., £15.99, May 2004, 0 8118 4213 4
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... colonnades and porticos, and the new one, too, is full of Europeanate historical references. It is Dante’s Divine Comedy as a theme park, and just as in the Divine Comedy, the Inferno is the most compelling part. You take the Getty exit, and if you’ve been heading north, swing over the overpass and, after a few wriggles, dive into the garage. You come out ...
3 February 2000
Vertigo 
by W.G. Sebald, translated by Michael Hulse.
Harvill, 263 pp., £16.99, December 1999, 1 86046 623 0
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... in the past or present. On one occasion, in Gonzagagasse, I even thought I recognised the poet Dante, banished from his home town on pain of being burned at the stake. For some considerable time he walked a short distance ahead of me, with the familiar cowl on his head, distinctly taller than the people in the street, yet he passed by them unnoticed. When ...
4 May 2016
... that I’m cured of snoring and now I snore No more. There’s an Emily I met downtown recently. Dante’s Beatrice suddenly appeared to me! I don’t know her last name. Dante famously never was the same. A maiden I don’t know transfigured me In one brief moment for eternity. From one brief meeting with someone so ...

Hybrid Heroes

Janette Turner Hospital

12 December 1996
The Conversations at Curlow Creek 
by David Malouf.
Chatto, 214 pp., £14.99, September 1996, 0 7011 6571 5
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... and transcribed in tranquillity; the other distrusts words but lives avidly. In Johnno, there is Dante, the bright student and budding writer, cautious, restrained, insipid and judgmental, a detached note-taker of life; and there is Johnno, his wild and risk-addicted friend, who gives him in high school – just to make the Apollo/Dionysus axis quite clear ...

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