The Divine Comedy marked nothing less than the arrival of vernacular Italian as a literary language-and Dante's book is still considered Italy's greatest literary achievement. Its highly idiomatic verse, however, has long bedeviled English-language translators. Burton Raffel, whose translation of Don Quixote is acclaimed for making Cervantes more accessible to the modern generation, in this new translation for Northwestern World Classics, shows exciting new directions, preserving both the lyricism of the original and its incisive meaning. First-time readers and longtime fans of "the supreme poet" alike will cherish this clear and lyrical rendering of one of world literature's masterpieces.
Dante Alighieri (1265 1321) was born in Florence to a prominent family and trained as a pharmacist. He fought in the Battle of Campaldino and was active in the internecine Florentine politics of the time, which resulted in his exile. During this time, he began writing Commedia, which he finished shortly before his death in Ravenna. Burton Raffel is a translator, a poet, and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Arts and Humanities and emeritus professor of English at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. His most recent translations are the Modern Library edition of Geoffrey Chaucer s The Canterbury Tales and the Penguin edition of the Poema de mio Cid. He has translated the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf, most of Horace s poems, and Rabelais s Gargantua and Pantagruel."