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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 ...

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 ...

Between the Guelfs and the Ghibellines

Tim Parks: Guelfs v. Ghibellines, 14 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 ...

Confounding the Apes

P.N. Furbank, 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 ...

Diary

Clive James, 21 October 1982

... a gifted poetess: Sue’s such a doll she’d make Professor Carey Say that she wrote like Dante Alighieri. Sue’s bubble reputation having popped Her teachers must wipe soap out of their eyes, But one would hate to see those young wings cropped Merely because her mentors were not wise. If that compulsive gush of hers is stopped It ought to be ...

Osip and Nadezhda Mandelstam

Seamus Heaney, 20 August 1981

... those ‘upstart intellectuals’ of the 1860s, and who at this stage was imbued with Dante to the extent that he found his own practice of composing poetry by mouth and often on foot prefigured in the master – ‘the step, linked to the breathing and saturated with thought: this Dante understands as the ...

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