Dante's masterpiece is a foundation stone of European poetry. It was a profound influence on T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound, and in our own day has inspired Seamus Heaney. It is simple in style yet complex in its layers of meaning, episodic in manner yet architectonic in its over-arching vision. It is simultaneously a journey through life and a spiritual biography, a portrait of the internecine Italy of Dante's time and a pilgrim's progress through the tripartite afterworld of Catholic mythology. Paradoxically, it is also a devotional work and one of the strangest love poems ever written. It is without doubt one of the supreme works of world literature.
Peter Dale has established a reputation as one of this country's leading translators for his François Villon: Selected Poems, and more recently for his witty and accurate versions of Jules Laforgue. His great achievement here has been to produce a version of The Divine Comedy in modern English that echoes Dante's 'sweet new style', while keeping to the poet's demanding terza rima verse pattern. It is a reader's edition - accurate, clear and compelling. It is also Peter Dale's crowning achievement as a translator.