Clive James’ translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy is far the most entrancing I have read, an entrance-lation. A few quotations will appear here and elsewhere and, in due course, a quote-studded review. 

Here James highlights Dante’s exuberance even in the face of dread, which is to say an exuberance that is resilient. I am humbled by this capacity to keep singing when something dreadful is happening.   

‘Dante registers his exuberance even in his most desperate moments. He doesn’t stop singing just because something dreadful is happening.  What he says is: something dreadful is happening even as I sing. It’s an interplay of form and content: the most ambitious that any literary artist ever attempted.’

 

Source: Clive James, Introduction, Dante, The Divine Comedy, trans. Clive James (New York: Liveright Publishing, 2013), p. xviii

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