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Author Topic: Proposal: The Divine Comedy by Dante  (Read 4065 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: July 31, 2012, 07:13:45 PM »

I think this might be a fun one if enough people want to join in.

I am not sure, as of right now, how to break up the epic poem, perhaps atleast 5 Cantos a week, maybe more? Any suggestions would be great.

I have the Carlyle-Okey-Wicksteed unabridged translation in front of me right now, but I've heard good things about the John Ciardi version. If there is a single translation that is superior to the rest, please say it here and maybe everyone can get the same copy.

I like the format quietmorning has, so we will have a discussion after the reading.

As to the question of why? I think it would be interesting to get Orthodox takes on this poem and how much or less it reflects the theology of the Church and what Orthodox can take away from it that may be beneficial to our spiritual life. And of course it being one of the greatest written works ever also being a good reason.

Let me know what you think. Maybe we can organize something in the near future.
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« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2012, 10:35:54 PM »

Sure, if people are interested. I checked my local library and they have several copies, all of which are out, but I'm sure I can snag it when someone returns one of them.
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« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2012, 11:42:31 PM »

Sorry to hear that. Yes if there aren't alot of people replying, that doesn't include Severian Thread Resurrection bump TM ever, maybe more people would be intrigued reading The Aeneid by Virgil?
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« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2012, 12:33:38 AM »

I'll be out of touch the next couple of days, but I'd definitely be interested. I haven't read Dante since college, so I do think it will interesting to revisit--not only with the different perspective of Orthodoxy but with another 20 years or so of life experience. The edition I have on the shelves is the Hollander translation from Anchor books. I think I've got another version around someplace (the Penguin edition I originally read) but I may have given that one away at some point.
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« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2012, 12:54:48 AM »

Mark Musa seems to be the best translation. There is a book called "The Portable Dante" which has all of it but lacks maps and such. Im gonna look at the split up volumes tommorow at B&N and let you all know.

But I've nothing but praise for the translation and it's extemely readable unlike what I have.
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« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2012, 03:04:30 AM »

I think this might be a fun one if enough people want to join in.

I am not sure, as of right now, how to break up the epic poem, perhaps atleast 5 Cantos a week, maybe more? Any suggestions would be great.

I have the Carlyle-Okey-Wicksteed unabridged translation in front of me right now, but I've heard good things about the John Ciardi version. If there is a single translation that is superior to the rest, please say it here and maybe everyone can get the same copy.

Sounds wonderful & I'd definitely be up for it! The only translation I've read was Longfellow's, whose style, though striking, can present a rather cumbersome experience. "The Portable Dante" looks to be a safe (and cheap) bet, but I'm fine with whatever's decided.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2012, 03:06:19 AM by kevlev » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2012, 03:44:54 AM »

Dude we should do one on Kierkegaard's "Practice in Christianity" at some point, which I am slowly trudging through.

In any case I'm going to buy Musa's Inferno tomorrow and pick up the other two when we get to it. I'll take some pics of the book and upload when I do.

Since many of us have lives to attend to, I'm thinking maybe 3 Cantos a week would work. Considering how densely packed each Canto is, I also believe 3 at a time should make plenty for discussion.
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« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2012, 04:10:01 AM »

Dude we should do one on Kierkegaard's "Practice in Christianity" at some point, which I am slowly trudging through.

"Training in Christianity" (Lowrie's translation) is currently collecting dust on my bookshelf. Sadly, I've yet to get around to reading it, so I think required reading would do much to motivate me. Please, let me know how PiC reads. I thought the Hongs did a pretty phenomenal job with "Works of Love"---feels so fluid and refreshing, especially compared to Douglas Steere's translations of Kierkegaard's work.

In any case I'm going to buy Musa's Inferno tomorrow and pick up the other two when we get to it. I'll take some pics of the book and upload when I do.

Since many of us have lives to attend to, I'm thinking maybe 3 Cantos a week would work. Considering how densely packed each Canto is, I also believe 3 at a time should make plenty for discussion.

Three per week seems manageable. I'll go ahead and order.

Are you seeking Orthodox interpretations alone or are Oriental, Catholic and Protestant views welcome as well?
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« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2012, 12:28:35 PM »

Dude we should do one on Kierkegaard's "Practice in Christianity" at some point, which I am slowly trudging through.

"Training in Christianity" (Lowrie's translation) is currently collecting dust on my bookshelf. Sadly, I've yet to get around to reading it, so I think required reading would do much to motivate me. Please, let me know how PiC reads. I thought the Hongs did a pretty phenomenal job with "Works of Love"---feels so fluid and refreshing, especially compared to Douglas Steere's translations of Kierkegaard's work.

I have the Hongs translation and it is phenomenal. How that compares with to Lowrie's, I don't know. I chose Hongs because many people cite it as the best translation that we currently have, and as you can tell even has a different title.

I'm not going to say much about it until I'm done reading. Actually let me clarify, how could I know its phenomenal since I don't know how close the translation is to the source material, since I can't read the language. More or less I trust those that can read both and recommend Hongs over the rest.

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Three per week seems manageable. I'll go ahead and order.

Are you seeking Orthodox interpretations alone or are Oriental, Catholic and Protestant views welcome as well?

OK.

Any interpretation is fine, it doesn't have to be Orthodox. I only said Orthodox because primarily the majority are Orthodox on this board and it would be interesting to see the similarities and differences of the Divine Comedy compared to Orthodox thought.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2012, 12:30:12 PM by Achronos » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2012, 03:05:13 PM »

I would be interested in this as well, if it's towards the end of the month.
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« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2012, 04:05:08 PM »

I would be interested in this as well, if it's towards the end of the month.
I'm fine with that as long as everyone else is?

It would give plenty of time to post stuff on Dante's biography (or lack) and some of the context that surrounds why it was written, and other things.

I'll probably make a thread in the near future on an introduction to the work and have various sources to consult before we tackle reading it.
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« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2012, 09:11:33 PM »

Ok folks I just got Mark Musa's translation in my hands. For a comparision check out the following.

Canto II, 127-132

From the translation of Henry F Cary:
"As florets, by the frosty air of night
Bent down and closed, when day has blanch'd their leaves,
Rise all unfolded on their spiry stems;
So was my fainting vigor new restored,
And to my heart such kindly courage ran,"

From the translation of Mark Musa:
"As little flowers from the frosty night
are closed and limp, and when the sun shines down
on them, they rise to open on their stem,

my wilted strength began to bloom within me
and such warm courage flowed into my heart
that I spoke like a man set free of fear."

I think it's obvious which is better. In fact I think it was brilliant Musa used the word "wilted" which correlates with the flowers.

Some pictures of my copy. Now the stand alone volumes have extensive notes and pictures and IIRC the Portable Dante does not have it. I will also post in the discussion threads of any maps that are included in both of my translations if your versions don't have them.



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« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2012, 01:23:40 AM »

One more week, who all is in?
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« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2012, 01:28:49 AM »

I'm in...  police
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« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2012, 01:40:47 AM »

One more week, who all is in?

Count me in  Cool
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« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2012, 01:50:38 AM »

At 3 Cantos a week, how long would it take?
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« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2012, 01:53:17 AM »

At 3 Cantos a week, how long would it take?

11 for Inferno and about 33 weeks for the entire Comedy.
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« Reply #17 on: August 29, 2012, 04:03:31 PM »

JamesRottnek I know you said you wanted to wait till the end of this month, but did you still want to do this? Been waiting for a response, but I assume you are busy. We can do it next week if you like.
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« Reply #18 on: August 29, 2012, 04:26:42 PM »

I read the whole thing about three years ago, so I might comment here and there.
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« Reply #19 on: August 29, 2012, 04:50:58 PM »

I read the whole thing about three years ago, so I might comment here and there.

I read the entire thing about a decade ago. In Tuscan or while on Tuscan. I can't remember which.

I'll have absolutely no participation in this thread after this I hope.
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« Reply #20 on: August 29, 2012, 06:57:59 PM »

I read the whole thing about three years ago, so I might comment here and there.
What translation and what did you think? Were you an Orthodox Christian at the time?
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« Reply #21 on: September 04, 2012, 10:58:21 AM »

I read the whole thing about three years ago, so I might comment here and there.
What translation and what did you think? Were you an Orthodox Christian at the time?

I read the translation by Wicksteed et al, mainly because it was all in one very easy-to-carry volume. I have no idea what translation is best. I do tend to prefer more old-fashioned translations (e.g. Alexander Pope's Homer). Yes, I was Orthodox at the time. I loved the Divine Comedy though and wouldn't mind reading it again. I just got a Kindle for my birthday and downloaded the free Cary translation, so I might join in this after all.

One thing that stands out to me is that the Divine Comedy is very much a whole. Most people who read Dante simply read the Inferno, I guess mainly to peruse the various tortures and political backbiting. In doing so they really miss the point.

My favorite canzone was Purgatory. Even if, as Orthodox, we don't believe in purgatory, this section is a very good allegory for our spiritual life on earth. Also, it's just plain beautiful.
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« Reply #22 on: September 04, 2012, 09:55:19 PM »

I felt a pull towards the Paradiso personally, I think it's just gorgeous.

Cool if you could join and anyone else for that matter.

If it's alright with you guys I'd like to start this on Monday, next week. Something unexpected has come up that I need to address.
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« Reply #23 on: February 26, 2013, 11:34:13 AM »

Hey, Achronos- I was wondering if you were able to read/ finish the Divine Comedy yet and what your thoughts were. This thread came to my mind after I was reading C.S. Lewis' The Discarded Image (which would have been helpful to read before I read the Divine Comedy.) Right now I'm reading too many things at once but I do plan on re-reading the Divine Comedy in the near future. 
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« Reply #24 on: February 26, 2013, 01:15:40 PM »

Let me know when you do.

I'm currently in the middle of reading Faust.
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« Reply #25 on: February 26, 2013, 03:41:08 PM »

Let me know when you do.

I'm currently in the middle of reading Faust.

After that, I would highly suggest reading about or reading a few other texts and reading Thomas Mann's Doctor Faustus.

How you are able to read Faust, especially Part Two, is beyond me.
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