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The Divine Comedy

Inferno; Purgatorio; Paradiso
Length: 2 hrs and 50 mins
5 out of 5 stars (31 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

Blake Ritson, David Warner, Hattie Morahan and John Hurt star in this BBC Radio 4 dramatisation of Dante's epic poem.

Inferno: Thirty-five year old Dante finds himself in the middle of a dark wood, in extreme personal and spiritual crisis. Hope of rescue appears in the form of the venerable poet Virgil, now a shade himself, who offers to lead Dante on an odyssey through the afterlife, beginning in the terrifying depths of Hell.

Purgatorio: Dante is led up Mount Purgatory by his guide. They encounter numerous souls who have embarked on the same difficult journey - one that will eventually lead to their spiritual salvation.

Paradiso: Dante's journey comes to a glorious conclusion as he is led by Beatrice, through the spheres of Paradise and into the presence of God himself. As they ascend, they encounter a number of souls who have also achieved blessedness. Many years later, the older Dante reflects on the episodes from his life that have inspired his great poem.

©2014 BBC Worldwide Ltd (P)2014 BBC Worldwide Ltd

What members say

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Wow, exceeded all expectations!

The most amazing Audible book, or should I say performance!
Being a Dan Brown fan I had heard of Dante's Divine Comedy so thought I'd see what it was about.
Even though some of the themes are very old religious ideas, the general message is still applicable today and it's an amazing way to describe our human failings!
Both a great entertaining story and a much deeper spiritual experience!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Wow!

I discovered this through a YouTube review of the movie 1408 and the depths the "psychological horror" can delve. It spoke of the parallels between the movie and the divine comedy (which I had never heard of). I went on Wikipedia to learn more about its origins, which led me here to listen to the dramatisation.

This being written in 1308 is mind blowing! The divine comedy is rich in imagination which I did not expect. It makes a lot of literature and modern movies seem pretty sub-standard by comparison.

Despite the heavily Christian undertones (ever present) this epic is brilliant. I can see a lot of this being reflected/copied in today's works, which shows how impactful it is and will most likely continue to be.

The actors in this are amazing and the sound effects are great. I started questioning myself after reading this so I guess it's now left it's mark on me too.

If you're not religious and can put aside the religious nature of this story (like me), you will be rewarded by it's structure, story, characters and it's intended purpose (hopefully). What a wonderfully beautiful epic!

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entertaining listen

feel like a bit of the detail in the book was lost in the translation to a play, but fantastic as none the less

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Excellent production

exceptional, intense and provoking is how I would summarise this dramatization of one of the most influential poems of the 12th century and to this day stands as a testament to poetic influence in religious culture.

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  • Zaubermond
  • 21-10-2016

Revisiting the land of the dead

My last year's reading has mostly been on things Italian and in the Italian language. Still, I regret to say I haven't picked up Dante in thirty years, so when I saw this title, I reacquainted myself with this incredible work of art.

Naturally, a radio broadcast can't cover the whole spectrum of the poem, and translations are apt to miss a few things, but as a dramatic production, it's first rate. All actors are superb --- David Warner in particular has an incredible voice and impeccable timing --- and the situations are beautifully rendered. I enjoyed every minute.

Listening to this inspired me to listen to Clive James' translation of the Divine Comedy, read by Edoardo Ballerini. I recommend it to anyone who wishes to investigate further. Ballerini's reading is particularly enchanting.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Nicole
  • 08-11-2014

A great introduction to The Divine Comedy

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This is a great way to get a gist of The Divine Comedy. It's beautifully narrated with different voices for different characters. When you add the sound effects and different cool effects you get a whole experience that really pulls you into the story. You don't think that the story is being told to you. Instead you feel like you are right there with Dante going through the same experiences that he is.

What did you like best about this story?

As it's The Divine Comedy, the story speaks for itself. What I liked the best was how you never knew what was going to happen but knew that it was going to affect you greatly. It feels real and you honestly fear for Dante's life even though you know that nothing bad is going to happen to him. This trilogy is very graphic and pulls on your emotions as it looks at major theological and philosophical questions. You never really get bored.

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

It was a full cast which was great. You get that full on experience of living there. I loved that so much! It really honestly felt as if you were there because of that. Instead of one narrator doing different voices of characters. Even the older Dante is played by a different voice actor. I loved that older Dante was played by John Hurt but I didn't recognize who did the voice of the younger Dante. It has been stated that Dante was a symbol of the every man. So having it not be a recognizable actor, at least to me, added in its brilliance.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Experience the three realms of the afterlife like never before...in stunning 3D.

Any additional comments?

I do want to note that this is abridged from the source material. It's a dramatization and skips cantos. This can be annoying especially as there are cantos that I thought they would not skip. There was one spectacular action sequence from Infierno that they skipped that shocked me. It was one that should have been here. Even with that it's a great dramatization. This is a great thing to listen to if you want the main gist or read the whole comedy and want to hear it. I would certainly recommend this to anyone interested in The Divine Comedy.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • CHET YARBROUGH
  • 09-12-2018

MASTERFUL TRANSLATION

Superb cast. Translation is always a concern but the essence of this classic seems well captured to this ignorant English only listener.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • thomas m.
  • 23-06-2017

Great summary but not a good source for analysis.<br />

loved the acting but felt that it didn't grasp the entire comedy tone. Considerating the constraints of a dramatization, i got a good feeling for the plot, but not the fear and visuals that exist in the comedy. One should read those aswell to fully appreciate the comedy.

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  • Kindle Reader
  • 05-08-2016

Amazing.

fantastic, always thought this poem would be boring and dry but it was entertaining, enlightening, and very well done. listen to it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael Melone
  • 27-05-2016

a great synopsis of the Divine Comedy

The Divine Comedy has always been one of my favorite book series. This audio recording does a fine job of summarizing the trilogy, but sadly lacks a lot of detail I enjoyed in the original works. Key points, like the Devil's three heads, people met throughout the books, and the like are missing. If you are considering reading the Divine Comedy this will serve as a fantastic introduction, but if you truly enjoy it I would highly suggest the original works.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Morten
  • 19-06-2015

Devine

An amazing journey. Read it under the sun, with plenty of time. Very good production and performance, masterfully written, enjoy.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Eric Kitzmiller
  • 26-01-2015

Awesome

I'm 14 and I loved this book. It met every expectation. I just loved it so much it was amazing

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • jackifus
  • 21-01-2019

A lovely introduction

This is a wonderfully approachable condensed dramatization.

I can’t recommend enough that one supplement this with the lectures by the great courses.

The poem is so rich … it deserves a deeper dove.

So too does it deserve an approachable dramatization.

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  • Brett D.
  • 20-01-2019

very short for the price no detail

I've listened to several books and this one was just very short for the price I paid for it, the sound effects and narrations were fantastic but there is a deep lack of detail and the text

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  • Andyjn
  • 06-01-2016

Very good

I first listened to this when it was broadcast on the radio. It is very enjoyable and have listened to it many times. I would recommend it to anyone.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Andy
  • 11-08-2016

Fantastic Read

The performances were amazing. Gives real insight into Christians and non-Christians. Really makes you think!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • S. Evans
  • 14-05-2017

Wonderful adaptation

I have not read the original and in sure that if I had, I would have reservations about what must have been huge cuts, but as an experience in its own right, this is superb. Rich in imagery but never intimidating. Very approachable. And navigates some of the moral certainties of dante which a modern reader might find challenging, with great finesse. Congratulations to all involved.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 21-01-2019

Good

It's just good. Didn't understand the Latin. It's just nice. Blake spoke really well and the emotion in his voice was believable.

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  • maria
  • 08-01-2019

I really enjoyed this book

Book was really interesting and the dramatization was really captivating. Made you feel like you were a part of the story.

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  • Dave
  • 20-12-2018

creative liberties taken, still great

write your review here (optional)

except its not optional is it, audible? because I couldn't submit just the title of the review and the stars hmmmmmmm........

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  • Knowledgehungry
  • 18-12-2018

riveting

extraordinarily riveting performance, so much so that my imagination felt sucked into the 1300s. This audio was an unforgettable aural journey

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  • James Goffin
  • 03-12-2018

a solid but trimmed down work

solid rendition, heavily trimmed down, voice acting was very good as can be expected, just slightly dissapointed with the glance over nature

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  • Barry
  • 09-10-2018

makes you think,

loved this, very real and raw and defenilty something everyone should read. in the end it's all about choices.

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  • Lauren
  • 09-10-2018

Enjoyable

Enjoyable book, fairly short can listen in a night if you wish to do so. Good performance