The text of the Divina Commedia is that edited by Giorgio Petrocchi and first published by Mondadori (Milan, Italy, 1966-67) for the Edizione Nazionale of the works of Dante sponsored by the Società Dantesca Italiana. It has now been republished under the same auspices, by Le Lettere (Florence, 1994) with changes (listed on p.vi of that edition) to only seven lines in the texts of Purgatorio and Paradiso. The user is advised that this machine-readable version of that text is intended only for scholarly use by individuals. No reproduction of the text for distribution of any kind is permitted, either by the original publishers or by the Dartmouth Dante Project, under whose auspices this aid to research -- with the kind permission of Professor Petrocchi -- is offered to the community of scholars. This text is an exact replica of the Petrocchi text; its only divergence occurs in the form of its punctuation, which accords with American rather than Italian usage. The text was copied by personnel of the Dartmouth Dante Project using a Kurzweil Data Entry Machine at Dartmouth College. It was checked by Frank Ordiway and Robert Hollander at Princeton University in 1987 and then by Lauren Seem, also at Princeton, in 1997.
The English translation of the Comedy is a new translation by Robert Hollander and Jean Hollander. Inferno was published by Doubleday/Anchor in 2000, Purgatorio in 2003; Paradiso in 2007.
The notes of Paget Toynbee are ©Oxford University Press 1968. From A Dictionary of Proper Names and Notable Matters in the Works of Dante by Paget Toynbee (1968) by permission of Oxford University Press. http://www.oup.com/.
Text development for database created and edited by Robert Hollander, Lauren Seem, Peter Batke, Emily Hoover *GS, and Francis Mukurazita. '99.
All of Dante's minor works are texts published under the auspices of Società Dantesca Italiana and are used with the collaboration and permission of the SDI.
Commentary, Philological Notes, and Lectures are all the work of Robert Hollander.
Italian readings of the Inferno provided by Prof. Lino Pertile, Harvard University. English readings of the Inferno provided by Robert Hollander, Princeton University and Jean Hollander, The College of New Jersey.
Richard H. Lansing, trans., Dante's "Il Convivio" (New York: Garland, 1990).
Ph. Wicksteed and E.G. Gardner, trans., Dante: "Eclogues" in The Latin Works of Dante Alighieri (London: Dent [Temple Classics]: 1904).
Paget Toynbee, trans., Dante: "Epistles" in The Letters of Dante (Oxford: Clarendon, 1920).
Prue Shaw, trans., Dante: "Monarchia" (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995).
Ph. Wicksteed, trans., Dante: "Questio de aqua et terra" in The Latin Works of Dante Alighieri (London: Dent [Temple Classics]: 1904).
K. Foster and P. Boyde, trans., Dante: "Rime" in Dante's Lyric Poetry (Oxford: Clarendon, 1967).
Mark Musa, trans., Dante, "La vita nuova" (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1965).
Steven Botterill, trans., Dante: "De vulgari Eloquentia" (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996).
Santa Casciani and Christopher Kleinhenz, trans., Attributable to Dante: The "Fiore" and the "Detto d'Amore" (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2000).
The accuracy of this translation from the Italian text established by Giorgio Petrocchi (1966-67) has been primarily my responsibility, its sound as English verse primarily that of the poet Jean Hollander, my wife and collaborator. As will be clear from various notes in the electronic text that makes use of this translation, "The Princeton Dante Project," I am not always in accord with Petrocchi's readings; however, I thought it imperative to use as the base of this entire project the current standard Italian text of the work, indicating my occasional desire to diverge from it only in its margins.
My original intention was to reproduce the John D. Sinclair translation (1939) of Inferno, cleaning up its just barely post-Victorian "thee"s and "thou"s and other such, to a late-twentieth-century ear, outdated usages. However, (a) differences between the Italian in the Società Dantesca Italiana (1921) edition, from which Sinclair translated, and Petrocchi's edition, (b) later "corrections" of Sinclair's version by a later translator, Charles Singleton, (c) further study of Dante's lines themselves, (d) a sense of ways in which a prose translation eventually fails to be "sayable" -- all of these considerations led us to attempt a new verse translation of the first cantica.
Our first debt, then, is to John Sinclair. Those who come to our text familiar with the Singleton translation (1970) will perhaps think that it is its resonance that they occasionally hear; this is because a tremendous amount of Singleton's translation conforms word-for-word to Sinclair's, as anyone may see simply by opening the two volumes side by side. Thus, having decided to begin with Sinclair and to modify him, we found that Singleton had apparently done essentially the same thing. To his credit, his changes are usually for the better; to his blame is his failure to acknowledge the frequency of his exact coincidence with Sinclair. And thus, on his own advice, we have considered it "a mistake. . . not to let the efforts of one's predecessors contribute to one's own" (p. 372), and have on occasion included his divergences from Sinclair when we found them just. However, let there be no mistake: the reason our translation seems to reflect Singleton's, to the extent that it does, is that ours, on occasion, and Singleton's, almost always, are both deeply indebted to Sinclair.
In February of 1997, when my wife and I decided to commit ourselves to this effort, we were able to consult the draft of a verse translation of Inferno composed by Patrick Creagh and me (begun in 1984 and abandoned in 1988, with some 80% of the work Englished). Some of its passages have found their way to our text, and we owe a considerable debt to Patrick Creagh (and to my earlier self), which we are glad to acknowledge. We also owe a debt to the prose paraphrases of difficult Italian passages found in the still helpful English commentary by the Rev. Dr. H. F. Tozer (1901); and to glosses gleaned from various Italian commentaries (most particularly, in the early cantos, those of Francesco Mazzoni [1965-85], but also to the interpretive paraphrases found in the Bosco/Reggio commentary ). We decided early on that we would not consult contemporary verse translations until after we had finished our work, so as to keep other voices out of our ears.
Several friends and colleagues have helped us in our task. Lauren Scancarelli Seem, who has served as administrative director of the computer project as a whole, helped prepare and edit the machine-readable version of the Sinclair text and then was our first reader, making a number of suggestions for amendment. Margherita Frankel, a veteran Dantist as well as an old friend, gave us a close reading and made many valuable criticisms to which we have attended. The poet Frederick Tibbetts lent us his exacting ear and made dozens of helpful suggestions. Our greatest debt is to Robert Fagles, who went through this translation verse by verse and made hundreds of comments in our margins. To have had such attentive advice from the most favored translator of Homer of our day has been our extraordinary fortune and pleasure.
Our goal has been to offer a clear translation, even of unclear passages. We have also tried to be as compact as possible -- not an easy task, either. It is our hope that the reader will find this translation a helpful bridge to the untranslatable magnificence of Dante's poem.
February 1997 (Florence)-February 1998 (Tortola)
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