THE DIVINE COMEDY
A new translation by
alma classics ltd
243-253 Lower Mortlake Road
Surrey TW9 2LL
This translation of the entire Divine Comedy first published by Alma Classics Ltd in 2012
The translation of Inferno first published by Hesperus Press in 2005; published in a revised edition by Alma Classics Ltd (previously Oneworld Classics Ltd) in 2010
The translation of Purgatory first published by Alma Classics Ltd (previously Oneworld Classics Ltd) in 2011
Translation , notes and extra material © J.G. Nichols, 201 2
Cover image: Gustave Doré
Printed in Great Britain by CPI Group (UK) Ltd, Croydon, cr0 4yy Typesetting and eBook conversion by Tetragon isbn: 978-1-84749-246-3
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C O N T E N T S
The Divine Comedy
Dante Alighieri’s Life 495
Dante Alighieri’s Works 498
Select Bibliography 516
Note on the Text and Acknowledgements
This canto, the prologue to Dante’s journey through the Inferno, acts also as an introduction to The Divine Comedy as a whole.
At the age of thirty-five Dante realizes he is lost in a dark, terrifying wood. He takes heart when he sees in front of him a hilltop shining in sunlight. But, as he starts to climb the hill, he is frightened by a leopard which obstructs him in a threatening manner, and then by an angry lion, and finally by a she-wolf – the most alarming animal of the three. So Dante is driven back into the darkness which – as we soon come to realize about everything in this poem – is both real and allegorical. (There are, throughout this poem, many kinds of allegory. for instance, the leopard, the lion and the she-wolf – emblems rather than symbols, and therefore in need of interpretation – are of a different order from the dark wood, whose import is obvious.)