Additional Book Information
Series: NYRB Classics
Publication Date: September 14, 2021
by Dante Alighieri, translated from the Italian and with an introduction by D. M. Black, preface by Robert Pogue Harrison
An NYRB Classics Original
2021 is the 700th Anniversary of Dante's death
Purgatorio, the middle section of Dante’s great poem about losing, and subsequently finding, one’s way in the middle of one’s life is, unsurprisingly, the beating heart of The Divine Comedy, as this powerful and lucid new translation by the poet D. M. Black makes wonderfully clear. After days spent plumbing the depths of hell, the pilgrim staggers back to the clear light of day in a state of shock, the sense of pervasive dread and deep bewilderment with which he began his pilgrimage as intensified as it is alleviated by his terminal vision of evil. The slow and initially arduous climb up the mount of Purgatory that ensues, guided as always by Virgil, his poetic model and mentor, is simultaneously a reckoning with human limits and a rediscovery of human potential in the light of divine promise. Dante’s Purgatorio, which has been an inspiration to poets as varied as Shelley and T. S. Eliot, is a book full of human stories and philosophical inquiry; it is also a tale of individual reintegration and healing. Black, a distinguished psychoanalyst as well as a poet, provides an introduction and commentary to this masterpiece by Dante from a contemporary point of view in this bilingual edition.
A great work of art like The Divine Comedy carries in it what readers in successive generations feel to be its ‘modernity’: what it says to us, now. David Black, a poet and psychoanalyst, by his translation, introduction, and notes, helps us into that enormous benefit. He enables Dante into our present lives.
David Black’s Purgatorio offers fresh insight into Dante’s poetry. We encounter a Dante whose psychological acumen is surprisingly relevant to us today. We are invited to read the Purgatorio as a journey of discovery: Dante’s discovery of his gifts and limitations; and through that, our discovery of resources that can help us address some of the pressing challenges of our time.
David Black’s translation of the Purgatorio unites psychological insight and intuitive understanding with scholarship and love of language.