• The Divine Comedy

  • The Inferno, The Purgatorio, & The Paradiso
  • By: Dante Alighieri
  • Narrated by: Pam Ward
  • Length: 13 hrs and 3 mins
  • 3.8 out of 5 stars (210 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Dante Alighieri's poetic masterpiece is a moving human drama, an unforgettable visionary journey through the infinite torment of Hell, up the arduous slopes of Purgatory, and on to the glorious realm of Paradise-the sphere of universal harmony and eternal salvation. One of the greatest works in literature, Dantes story-poem is an allegory that represents mankind as it exposes itself, by its merits or demerits, to the rewards or the punishments of justice. A single listening will reveal Dantes visual imagination and uncanny power to make the spiritual visible.
©2009 christianaudio

What listeners say about The Divine Comedy

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Not Ciardi's Translation!

Even though this is a decent translation, it is not Ciardi's which is why I purchased it.

9 people found this helpful

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Not For Audio

The Divine Comedy is a masterpiece of imagination. I loved picking up pieces of the story from researching it on my own and I thought listening to the entire thing would finally allow me to get to know the whole story. Sadly, this book does not really lend itself to be listened to. Unless you are a learned scholar of early Renaissance Italian society, this book will make no sense. The portrayal of the hell, purgatory, and heaven is quite vivid and well done, but the narrative is tied to the souls that Dante meets along the way. Dante uses his story to criticize the people that were living in his time I found it nearly impossible to follow the story as he meets with and discusses the sins and salvation of Italian notables from 7 centuries ago. I will still try to read this book someday, but I will find a hard copy with footnotes and keep a good encyclopedic website handy while I read it. This was written before audio recording was conceived and does not do well in this medium.

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

OK

This is an OK recording of the Charles Eliot Norton translation. The problem is not so much the reading as the translation itself; it's one of those stilted, pseudo-Biblical 19th century affairs. On the other hand, it's the whole thing, not just the Inferno, in a compact inexpensive package.

33 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent Delivery of This Classic Story

Definitely hard to stay focused due to the depth of the writing and use of old language. However, the narration is excellent and acts as a guiding hand to tug you through this amazing story.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Highly dependent upon historical context

Is there anything you would change about this book?

It would be a better audio book with narrations of explanation on some of the people in a commentary similar to the audiobook series

Was The Divine Comedy worth the listening time?

I don't think this a book well suited to the audio format unless you have a specialization in Italian Renaissance history so you know more of the people whom Dante mentions. Most of the people visited by Dante on his trip through the abodes of the afterlife are not well known even to a person with a history major (though I admitted focused on more ancient history). This difficulty would be averted by reading an actual book version with notes (like an oxford edition) to give better context to the various people mentioned.

Besides this difficulty people being skimmed-over throughout the work, it provides an interesting, narrative portrayal of the Catholic Church's doctrines both popular in that time and generally continuing into the present.

3 people found this helpful

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Solid Recording

When I looked at this book I noticed that most of the reviews commented on how you need to read the Divine Comedy, not simply listen to it. I agree with this statement but if you are already familiar with the Dante's writings then this is a solid recording and quite enjoyable.

4 people found this helpful

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it's what you would expect and well read

I read this book at the same time as Inferno so that I could see both books and have a behind-the-scenes from fiction of today attached to this book back then. I was pleasantly surprised buy both books.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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great sit down audio book

Would you listen to The Divine Comedy again? Why?

yes its a classic you really have to listen to this a couple of times to absorb it. i usually work when i listen to audio boods but yes good classic novel.

What other book might you compare The Divine Comedy to and why?

paradise lost

Have you listened to any of Pam Ward’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

probably dont care much for the people that speak the audio book just as long as they do a good voice lines for each character!

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

oh it was good i loved to just sit and laugh at it and also absorb it

Any additional comments?

good audio book but you have to focus on this one instead of multitasking like i do when i listen to audiobooks

1 person found this helpful

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Do better

Chapter divisions are random separations not aligned with cantos. Also I believe final cantos are missing

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    3 out of 5 stars
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I'm not a fan of the narration

I've read this a million times, and for some reason, the narration just bothered me. I'll get it again; just read by someone else.