Translated by Robert & Jean Hollander
Doubleday, $40, 944 pp.
Some editions of the Divine Comedy bravely attempt to forego having any notes at all, or to keep them to a minimum. Their hope is to let the poem speak for itself. The aim is noble, but with Dante the difficulties of this approach are insuperable. From the start, readers of this poem have sensed a need for help. Boccaccio’s lectura Dantis unleashed a commentary tradition that now has nearly seven hundred years of depth.
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