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The Divine Comedy

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

Title: The Divine Comedy
Author: Danté
Year: circa 1300 A.D.

Then Beatrice regarded me with eyes
So full of sparkling love and so divine,
That all my strength was overwhelmed and fled,
And I with downcast eyes was almost lost.

This book is not light reading. It is a long poem, where the poet, Danté, is guided through Hell, Purgatory and Paradise in order to save his soul. Since it is written in prose, it does not rhyme, but even when it is translated into modern English, the reading is sometimes heavy, requiring a few pass-throughs to absorb.

There are a lot of mythical and religious overtones to this poem. The imagery is very vivid, and Danté is an exceptional storyteller. There is no doubt about this being a classic!

I recommend this book if you enjoy such works as The Iliad or The Aeneid. It is also important to get a good version, so that you can understand everything that Danté is trying to convey. In the version that I read, there are a lot of endnotes explaining some of the more obscure references and imagery.

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