Saturday, January 15, 2011

New Translation of Dante's La Vita Nuova


What a treat for those of us who love the works of Dante Alighieri. The newest translation of these magnificent poems is marvelous. Dante did a number of things that were a first and this libello was standard setting. In addition to being rich with some of the greatest love poetry ever penned (31 love poems), Dante provides reflection of both the form and the content of his own poems where he writes of the "logic of poetry" (102).

The reader of this small volume is exposed to countless rich phrases such as "O cruel Death, pity's implacable foe, the ancient mother of woe..." (42) and after the death of Beatrice, "Love and I are left to comfort one another and cry" (115).

This impressive translation is written by the great scholar, poet, and translator David Slavitt. This little book is essential reading for those who admire the writings of Dante and should be required reading before making one's way through The Divine Comedy, especially Paradise.