Left Pixel Bild

Reading Tips & Internet Links

On this page I may present you a selection of books and internet links that have helped me to better understand the Divina commedia and Dante. It is oriented to the topics of this website and brings one or the other additional suggestion. The entries are provided with a short evaluation, so that you can better estimate what to expect. Of course, the list does not claim to be exhaustive. It invites you to go on a voyage of discovery and to penetrate more deeply into the world of the Divina Commedia and its author, even while reading alternately between the work and secondary literature.

1. The Life of Dante

Barbero, Alessando (2020). Dante. Bari: Giuseppe Laterza & Figli Spa.

Recent biography of the historian and essayist. Book launch as webinar on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnsktUHsg1E.

Inglese, Giorgio (2015). Vita di Dante. Una biografia possibile. Con un saggio di Giuliano Milani. Roma: Carocci editore S.p.A. (Saggi).

Compact biography of the eminent scholar, reduced to the essentials.

Pellegrini, Paolo (2021). Dante. Una vita. Piccola Biblioteca Einaudi. Torino: Giulio Einaudi editore s.p.a.

A new biography of the philologist. Book introduction in youtube on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PDph-qBvdU.

Santagata, Marco (2012). Dante. Il romanzo della sua vita. Milano: Mondadori.

Englisch (2016): Dante. The Story of His Life. Translated by Richard Dixon. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Dante's life as a novel. Wonderfully written, a pleasure to read.

2. Monographs:

Bellomo, Saverio (2012). Filologia e critica dantesca. Nuova edizione riveduta e ampliata. Brescia: Editrice La Scuola.

Reliable textbook with biographical sketch and discussion of Dante's individual works.

Took, John (2020). Dante. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Current English-language monograph.

3. Divina Commedia

A. Critical work editions

Inglese, Giorgio (2016). Dante Alighieri. Commedia. Revisione del testo e commento di Giorgio Inglese. Nuova Edizione. Roma: Carocci editore.

Modern edition with detailed linguistic notes and a very useful glossary of the historical grammar of the Divina Commedia.

Lanza, Antonio (1996): Dante Alighieri. La Commedìa. Testo critico secondo i più antichi manoscritti fiorentini. Nuova edizione a cura di Antonio Lanza. Anzio: De Rubeis editore Srl.

Attempt to optimize Petrocchi's edition by reproducing an early copy using old Florentine sources.

Petrocchi, Giorgio (2003). Dante Alighieri, La Commedia secondo l’antica volgata a cura di Giorgio Petrocchi. Firenze: Casa Editrice Le Lettere. Terza ristampa. (Prima Edizione, Milano: Mondadori, 1966/67).

Classic reference, unsurpassed to this day; is also the basis of our edition. My thanks go to the Società Dantesca Italiana as well as to the Publishing House Le Lettere for the corresponding permission.

Sanguineti, Federico (2001). Dantis Alagherii Comedia. Edizione critica per cura di Federico Sanguineti. Firenze: SISMEL – Edizioni del Galluzzo e Fondazione Ezio Franceschini. Fondo Gianfranco Contini. Archivio Romanzo. Collana a cura di Lino Leonardi.

Attempt to optimize Petrocchi's edition by limiting it to seven critical manuscripts.

B. Modern editions (e-books):

Well known distributors like Amazon.com or Scuolabook.it provide a variety of digital editions of the Divina Commedia. Three of them have recommended themselves in my work. From the third volume I was able to take the titles as well as the temporal and local references of the individual Canti.

Bosco, Umberto & Reggio, Giovanni (2013). Dante Alighieri. Divina Commedia. Edizione Integrale a cura di Lorenzo Argentieri. Milano: Mondadori Education S.p.A. (Le Monnier Scuola).

Donnarumma, Raffaele & Savettieri, Christina (2010). Dante Alighieri. Commedia integralmente annotata e commentata. Palermo: G. B. Palumbo & C. Editore S.p.A.

Jacomuzzi, S., Dughera, A., Ioli, G., Jacomuzzi V. (2017). La Divina Commedia. Nuova Edizione Integrale con audiolibro. Torino: Società Editrice Internazionale.

C. Comments

The mass of commentaries on the Divina Commedia, accumulated over seven centuries, is almost impossible to keep track of, even for the expert. While many of the classical commentaries sought to harmonize the controversial, thoroughly heretical text with the principles of the Catholic Church, a reading of the more recent commentaries reveals redundancies. And often enough the commentary reflects the ideology of its author. The reader is therefore asked to take some of the interpretations with the necessary distance, to return again and again to the original and to form his own opinion.

The Dartmouth Dante Project's Dante Lab Reader offers a tremendous selection of historical and current commentaries, including such important recent ones as:

- Charles S. Singleton (English: 1970-75).
- Umberto Bosco & Giovanni Reggio (Italian: 1979)
- Anna Maria Chiavacci Leonardi (Italian: 1991-97)
- Robert Hollander (English: 2000-2007)
- Nicola Fosca (Italian: 2003-2015)

4. Pronunciation

Canepàri, Luciano & Giovannelli, Barbara (2012). La buona pronuncia italiana del terzo millennio. Manueletto d’italiano neutro con sonori, esercizi e test. Quarta edizione. Roma: Aracne editrice S.r.l.

Italian reference.

Carboni, Giancarlo & Sorianello, Patrizia (2011). Manuale professionale di dizione e pronuncia. Come educare la voce parlata. Milano: Editore Ulrico Hoepli.

Useful manual with rules and linguistic background information.

Dal Piai, Giorgio (2013). Dizióne e Fonètica. Un’esperienza didattica per il teatro. Prima edizione digitale. © 1994 Milano: Ponte alle Grazie srl; © 2008 Milano: Adriano Salani Editore.

Practical guide with rules and examples.

5. Metrics/Accents

Beltrami, Pietro G. (2011). La metrica italiana. Quinta Edizione. Bologna: Società editrice il Mulino.

Leading Italian Textbook.

Beltrami, Pietro G. (2015). Piccolo dizionario di metrica. Bologna: Società editrice il Mulino.

Useful glossary.

Beghelli, Marco (2011). Guida alla identificazione metrica dei versi italiani.

Compact introduction to metrics with a very successful analysis of the Count's aria from Verdi's Rigoletto “La donna è mobile”.

Bertinetto, Pier Marco (1973). Ritmo e Modelli Ritmici. Analisi computazionale delle funzioni periodiche nella versificazione dantesca. Torino: Rosenberg & Sellier.

Important analysis of Dante's endecasillabo, still valid today.

Elwert, W. Theodor (1968). Italienische Metrik. München: Max Hueber.

Early textbook on Italian metrics, appreciated for many years also in Italy.

Inglese, Giorgio & Zanni Raffaella (2011). Metrica e retorica del medioevo. Roma: Carocci editore S.p.A.

Detailed glossary of key terms in medieval rhetoric and metrics.

Menichetti, Aldo (2013). Prima lezione di metrica. Edizione digitale. Roma-Bari: Giuseppe Laterza & Figli Spa.

Compact, occasionally demanding introduction to metrics.

Menichetti, Aldo (1993). Metrica italiana. Fondamenti metrici, prosodia, rima. Padova: Editrice Antenore.

Standard work on Italian metrics; reference to this day.

Robey, David (2000). Sound and Structure in the Divine Commedy. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press.

Differentiated analysis of metrical structures and accents.

Sangirardi, Giuseppe & De Rosa, Francesco (2002). Breve guida alla metrica italiana. Milano: R.C.S. Libri S.p.A. (Sansoni).

Excellent introduction to Italian metric.

6. Translations

Of the many deserving translations, I have only looked at central prose translations, as they dispense with their own rhyme structures and can at least meet the claim to be close to the original. They thus lead towards it and not away from it. It makes sense to place them next to the Italian original text in order to become more quickly familiar with Dante's language.

A. German translations

Vossler, Karl (1942/1945/1960). Die göttliche Komödie. Hölle, Fegefeuer, Paradies. © 1942 Berlin: Atlantis Verlag; © 1945: Zürich: Atlantis Verlag. © 1960 Rheda-Wiedenbrück: Bertelsmann-Lesering. Auch Leipzig: Faber & Faber (2001) sowie München: Piper (1969).

Powerful, idiosyncratic, but impressive in its own way, in short: still indispensable. It is the basis for the German translation of our edition.

Hees, Georg (1995): Divina Commedia. Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso. Italienischer Text mit wörtlicher deutscher Übersetzung und ausführlichem Kommentar, dargeboten von Dr. Georg Hees. Dürnau: Verlag der Kooperative Dürnau.

Literal, very accurate transcription; perhaps the best choice for the learner; with extensive commentary.

Flasch, Kurt (2015). Dante Alighieri. Commedia. In deutscher Prosa von Kurt Flasch. Frankfurt a. Main: S. Fischer.

Very readable prose version in modern language; perhaps best for those who don't understand Italian and just want to enjoy.

Köhler, Hartmut (2011/12). Dante Alighieri. La Commedia. Die Göttliche Komödie. Italienisch / Deutsch. In Prosa übersetzt und kommentiert von Hartmut Köhler. Reclam Bibliothek. Stuttgart: Philipp Reclam jun.

A certainly meritorious, if not entirely flawless work with a somewhat idiosyncratic translation and rich commentary.

B. English translations

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth (1867). The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri. Translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Boston: Ticknor & Fields. (https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Divine_Comedy_(Longfellow_1867)).

First real satisfactory, complete translation into English. Somewhat antiquated language, but careful and close to the original.

Norton, Charles Eliot (1952 [1902]). The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri. Translated by Charles Eliot Norton. The University of Chicago. Chicago, London, Toronto, Geneva, Sydney, Tokyo, Manila: William Benton (Encyclopædia Britannica).

Excellent prose translation, unjustly forgotten; is the basis of our edition in a mildly adapted form.

Sinclair, John D. (1961 [1939]). The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri. Italian text with translation and comment by John D. Sinclair. New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

For many years reference prose translation.

Singleton, Charles S. (1977). Dante Alighieri. The Divine Comedy. Translated, with a commentary, by Charles S. Singleton. Italian Text and Translation. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Very good prose translation, still relevant today, despite the criticized similarity to Sinclair's work.

Durling, Robert M. & Martinez, Ronald L. (1996/2003/2011). The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri. Edited and Translated by Robert M. Durling. New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Today's reference translation, if the difficult-to-explain multitude of typing errors in the supplied Italian text is corrected.

C. French translation

Risset, Jacqueline (2010). Dante. La Divine Comédie. L’Enfer, Le Purgatoire, Le Paradis. Traduction, préface et notes par Jacqueline Risset. Paris: Éditions Flammarion.

Reliable, linguistically elegant translation into French.

7. Websites

Hollander, Robert, Campbell, Stephen, Marchesi, Simone: Dartmouth Dante Project (DDP).
Dante Lab:

Immensely informative website with original text, translations, and commentary by leading American Dante luminaries.

8. Lexicons

Bosco, Umberto (1984). Enciclopedia Dantesca (1970). Seconda Edizione Riveduta (1984). Edizione Speciale per la Collana «Orsa Maggiore» in Tiratura Limitata (1996). Roma: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana.

Classic reference lexicon in six volumes. To this day, a valuable source with unsurpassed richness of detail.

Gragnolati, Manuele, Lombardi, Elena, Southerden, Francesca (2021). The Oxford Handbook of Dante. New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Up-to-date encyclopedia that does not omit modern topics such as Dante's gender competence.

Lansing, Richard (2010). The Dante Encyclopedia. Edited by Richard Lansing. London & New York/Abdingon: Routledge (Taylor & Francis) /New York: Garland Publishing.

Very comprehensive, English reference. High quality entries.

9. Language:

Manni, Paolo (2013). La Lingua di Dante. Bologna: Società editrice il Mulino.

Phonology, morphology, and vocabulary broken down by works of Dante.

Luca Serianni is the leading expert on Italian grammar and language. Below are three of his works - a historical treatise, a grammar in book form, and one as an e-book - all of which may be considered a reference:

Serianni, Luca (2018 [2009]). La lingua poetica italiana. Grammatica e testi. Roma: Carocci editore S.p.A.

Serianni, Luca (2006 [1989]). Grammatica Italiana. Italiano commune e lingua letteraria. Con la collaborazione di Alberto Castelvecchi. © 2006 Novara: De Agostini Scuola SpA; © 1989 Torino: UTET Libreria Srl.

Serianni, Luca, Della Valle, Valeria, Patota Giuseppe (2017). Italiano plurale. Grammatica e scrittura. Milano, Torino: Pearson (Edizioni scolastiche Bruno Mondadori).

Paden, William D. (1998). An Introduction to Old Occitan. Second printing (2001). New York: The Modern Language Association of America.

Reference work for understanding the Old Occitan verses of Daniel Arnaut.

10. Astronomy/Astrology:

Cornish, Alison (2000). Reading Dante’s Stars. New Haven & London: Yale University Press.

Good overview of Dante's astronomy/astrology.

Jacek Grzybowski (2015). Cosmological and Philosophical World of Dante Alighieri. The Divine Comedy as a Medieval Vision of the Universe. European Studies in Theology, Philosophy and History of Religions, Vol. 9 (Ed. by Bartosz Adamczewski). Frankfurt a. Main: Peter Lang Edition: Internationaler Verlag der Wissenschaften.

Recent, scientific treatise on Dante's cosmology with mild Catholic coloring.

Orr, M. A [Mrs. John Evershed] (1956 [1913]). Dante and the Early Astronomers. New and Revised Edition. With an Introduction by Barbara Reynolds. London: Allan Wingate.

A book still worth reading despite its age, dazzlingly written, and also convincing in content.

11. Music and Poetry

The treatises by Thrasybulos G. Georgiades on the relation between music and poetry, some of which are out of print, have remained unmatched to this day. Each of the three works listed below is relevant in its own way:

Georgiades, Thrasybulos G. (1954). Musik und Sprache. Das Werden der abendländischen Musik dargestellt an der Vertonung der Messe. Verständliche Wissenschaft. Fünfzigster Band. Berlin, Göttingen, Heidelberg: Springer Verlag.

Georgiades, Thrasybulos G. (1967). Schubert. Musik und Lyrik. 3., durchgesehen Auflage. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.

Georgiades, Thrasybulos G. (1985). Nennen und Erklingen. Die Zeit als Logos. Aus dem Nachlass herausgegeben von Irmgard Bengen. Mit einem Geleitwort von Hans-Georg Gadamer. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.

Persico, Thomas (2019). Le Parole e la Musica. Poesia ed esecuzione dalla Vita nuova alla Divina Commedia. Canterano: Aracne editrice.

Topical Italian treatise with reference to Dante.

12. Boethius

Boethius, Anicius Manlius Severinus (2008). The Consolation of Philosophy [De consolatione philosophiae]. Translated by David R. Slavitt. Cambridge, Massachusetts; London, England: Harvard University Press.

One of the great works of world literature. On death row, the author succeeds in developing a vision of freedom and philosophy that is unique. A work that had profoundly influenced Dante and that is still very much worth reading today.

13. DVD-Rom/Internet

Shaw, Prue (2010). Dante Alighieri. Commedia. A Digital Edition. Birmingham: Scholarly Digital Editions; Firenze: SISMEL: Edizioni del Galluzzo per la Fondazione Ezio Franceschini.

Valuable DVD with original manuscripts of the Divina Commedia and linguistic search function. The DVD is no longer compatible with the latest Windows system. The product has since been offered as an Internet license at http://sd-editions.com/Commedia/index.html.

14. Maria Soresina

Maria Soresina's video sequences on Dante and the fate of the Cathars have enlivened and enriched our understanding of the Divina Commedia. With commitment and a distinctive personality, the essayist convincingly presents the provocative main thesis of her research: the secret sympathy of Dante for the Cathar heresy. Overall, a highly entertaining, sympathetic, and lovingly crafted product:

15. The Music of the Divina Commedia

Bardazzi, Federico: La Musica della Divina Commedia. Ensemble San Felice. Pueri Cantores. Cristina Borgogni, Stefano Mascalchi.

Realization of the musical verses and scenes of the Divina Commedia on historical instruments (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJJChgOGCbAUljXZOv2TH32IGeYfBwYTq).


Impressum/Privacy Policy