Topic | Anyone read Dante's Divine Comedy?

This topic contains 10 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  LindseyD 5 years, 6 months ago.

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    Has anyone read Dante’s Divine Comedy with their high schooler(s)? What are your thoughts on this work of literature?

    I read it many moons ago in school it is an allegorical tale of a journey through hell to God, from error to seeing the light…it is an exceptional book in my mind. It is a disturbing book in some ways, beautiful in others – lots of supernatural things in the writing – the descriptions in hell are graphic and make you want to cringe – the writing is haunting and vivid in many ways. There is as I remember a lot of symbolism – it is a book I read with my class and found fascinating with lots of discussion with our lecturer. I would read it with your students or have read it youreslf, to be sure they understand all the nuances. I did not use it in my high school, mostly because there were so many others I wanted them to read first – I have it on my shelf so that they can read it when they want to. I think it would be ok for the teens 16 and up, I would not think the understanding or interest would be there before that.

    So in my humble opinion, it is a worthy read and is quite a beautiful and imaginative book all things considered. I will always have it on my shelf.


    Same thing here–read it myself long ago in school, found it challenging but very interesting.  Did not read it yet with my high schoolers but they know about the book.  It does take some work and application to make sense of it, and the translation you get can make a big difference.  I personally found some of the verse ones very difficult and found another translation when I was in school to read along with the verse translation to help me out. 


    Thanks ladies! I am thinking about reading it with my high schooler. I’ve never read it myself. I found it on Librivox and it’s the translation by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I also found the same translation free on gutenberg. My plan was that my daughter and I would listen to it together and she would follow along on the kindle.

    I have read the section on The Divine Comedy in the book Invitation to the Classics but I’d like some further commentary to help us through the reading of each section. Do you have any suggestions of where I could find some commentary for this? I don’t want to miss out on understanding important symbolism, nuances, etc.

    In regards to difficulty, in your opinion, how does this compare in reading to Chaucer’s Cantebury Tales or Bunyan’s original Pilgrim’s Progress?


    IMO harder than both.  I had a textbook and a professor when I read it, so I don’t myself have any commentary to recommend, but I have a ginormous site in my files, some of which might be useful to you, although you’ll have to sift it:



    Here is a link to the verson I have read which I think is the best, just mho. This is also free for Kindle.

    I find the Longfellow text rather too complex and disjointed for my taste, it does not read in a fluid fashion and was just rather difficult. The version above is closer to the original and therefore is more pleasant to read and more fluid.


    I had to read parts of it in 8th grade, in Italian… we were living overseas at the time. It was hard enough having to read in a non-native language, but an older version of the langauge at that. Ack. Not really a great memory! LOL

    I haven’t tried it in English yet, but missingtheshire, thanks for posting the link to your recommendation!


    Bookworm, thanks for the link. I’ll check it out!

    missingtheshire, I was hoping to find an audio reading so my daughter and I could both listen to it. The Longfellow text was the only one available on Librivox. Do you know of an audio available for the one you recommended? I actually had that version you mentioned downloaded for the Kindle. Librivox only had the Longfellow so I downloaded that one too. I probably need to sit down with both versions tonight and read through some of them both. 🙂

    I am sorry but no I don’t know of an audio version, I would look at them both like you said, and I think you will see the difference – maybe the Longfellow will work for you, but it did not have the same beauty as the Reverands version or the flow. Hope that helps:))

    Rachel White

    There’s an audio version at christianaudio, don’t know if it’s the same as the one recommended above:


    I read it in my sophomore college English literature class. It was WAY over my head then! I never planned on reading it again, but I guess I may have to re-visit that. I read Canterbury Tales as a high school student and quite enjoyed it. (Yes, I was an English/literature nerd back then.) Good luck figuring it out!



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