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The Divine Comedy

Narrated by: Charlton Griffin
Length: 17 hrs and 3 mins
3.6 out of 5 stars (14 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Dante's Divine Comedy is considered to be not only the most important epic poem in Italian literature, but also one of the greatest poems ever written. It consists of 100 cantos, and (after an introductory canto) they are divided into three sections. Each section is 33 cantos in length, and they describe how Dante and a guide travel through Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso.

Expertly translated here by the famous poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Dante's masterpiece leaps vividly to life in this production.

Philosophically, the poem is based on the theological works of St. Thomas Aquinas. The Divine Comedy is essentially an allegory of the progress of the human soul toward God and the progress of mankind toward peace on earth. Many of the characters involved are drawn from ancient Roman history and from Dante's contemporaries, making the work a realistic picture of Italian life in the early 14th century. As well, it is an intensely developed analysis of human affairs. In structure the poem appears to be a description of the afterlife. But it is in essence, a compassionate, oral evaluation of humanity and a mystical vision of the Absolute toward which mankind struggles. The Divine Comedy endures today because of the universality of its drama and the lyric quality of the poetry, and not as the result of any doctrinal content.

Public Domain (P)2009 Audio Connoisseur

What listeners say about The Divine Comedy

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Not the Original book !

Very disappointed the title is misleading and the poem never starts. 55 minutes in and I've just been told the end of the original book already. Spoiled everything. This is basically a voice telling the story of Dante Allegieri The Author, and his inspirations. Never was disappointed with Audible except for this one.

10 people found this helpful

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Very well done

First off ignore the other two reviews in the Canadian section, this does include the full poems, but there is a biography first and then a section after which summarizes each canto. Weird placing I’ll admit but if you check the chapter section you can easily scroll down and get to the poem. It’s about 2 hours and half plus into the recording Now for the production it’s great, the narrator, Charlton Griffin, is amazing as he is in the plethora of other audiobooks he’s recorded in. Not an expert on the translation but I do enjoy it.

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BEFORE YOU BUY

If you are looking for a breif overview of each canto, as it is interpreted, this is for you. I, on the other hand, purchased this audiobook thinking it was a reading of the translated original, and only after sitting through the life story of Dante did I realize, much to my surprise, that was not that. Although the performance was pretty well done, and I learned quite a bit about the life of Dante, I was quite disappointed. The description available on Audible is misleading and I did not get what I thought I was buying. Still a perfectly acceptable compendium, however I was wanting the originals as written.

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  • Tbaley
  • 2015-05-27

Divine Comedy

The epic of all epics. Carlton Griffin is magnificent. His pronunciation and intonation made it so much more reachable.

19 people found this helpful

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  • Craig E. Campell
  • 2015-07-14

Timeless poetry

This is a decent translation of the Comedy, though perhaps not my favorite. Griffin's narration moved the story along nicely without getting in the way, and the sound effects at the beginning of each canto contributed to the otherworldly atmosphere of the book.

21 people found this helpful

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  • Tracy
  • 2017-05-03

Wonderful read

First off, I may not have made it through this book had it not been for the performance. It added a deep rich layer to this story. I think I got lost in the beauty of the narrator's voice as much as I did the beauty of the words.

Now, because it is written in poetic form you have to pay attention to the words. It isn't a book you can drift off in as easily as you can with any other book. Of course, that is why I made the comment above. It took focus on every word.

I was amazed at the imagination and detail of the realms of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven that was painted. That was my second most favorite part.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-05-10

What a Masterpiece!

This is a truly great tool for reading Dante's masterpiece. This, to my knowledge, is the only quality audiobook of The Divine Comedy, and it does not disappoint. I had to read it multiple times in order to get a familiarity with the narrative in order to do research for and write my undergraduate thesis. The translation of Dante's Commedia in this audio recording is Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's English translation, a literary masterpiece by its own right. Its lyrical verse helps bring the epic poem to life for the English reader, and it made it easier for me to memorize large portions of the text by replaying it over and over again on this recording. I don't think I could have completed my thesis without this excellent, audio edition of one of the Western Canon's greatest texts. I actually first subscribed to Audible just to get this audiobook, and this alone has been worth the subscription. Couldn't recommend it more!

8 people found this helpful

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  • T Dennison
  • 2018-02-26

Outstanding!

So great. The only thing I'd change is that the synopses should immediately follow their given cantos. Having them all together at the beginning makes them hard to follow alongside the cantos. Other than that, a beautiful audiobook!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Domenik Davis
  • 2017-04-21

A thoroughly entertaining performance

The book is a classic and while interesting, the story is a bit sluggish. However, the performance was absolutely phenomenal, making even the most mundane prose engaging and impactful. Absolutely worthwhile.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Jonathan Wells
  • 2016-09-27

Wonderful Performance

The narration was great and I especially liked the background noises at the beginning of each canto. It was a little difficult to follow in places, being poetry, but that was more a deficiency in the listener than the performance. I would heartily recommend it.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Larry
  • 2011-03-13

Not for listening.

Longfellow was a wonderful poet, but the linguistic hoops he jumps through to preserve the form of the cantos leaves comprehension in the dust for the listener. Charlton Griffin can't save this muddle. It is almost incomprehensible at times. Almost everything in Italian rhymes, not so with English. One thing that is missing is comprehensive footnotes on the political background and personalities that Dante meets. Still, the language is beautiful, just don't expect to follow it in your car.

38 people found this helpful

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  • daniel hoffelder
  • 2014-03-12

My first digital book

Where does The Divine Comedy rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Second only to the Bible

What did you like best about this story?

The final balancing of justice

What about Charlton Griffin’s performance did you like?

Very strong voice

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Several, mainly in hell.

Any additional comments?

It is a little tough being in King James English...just push on thru and it will raise your mental view on life.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Bob the Marley
  • 2016-04-15

better on paper

the content does not lend itself well to audio format. great work of literature, but is enjoyment is found in slower contemplation and review of passages.

5 people found this helpful