Clive James’ spent decades working on his splendid translation of Dante, sometimes in ‘back burner’ mode, other times full on.  It’s the best translation I have read so far, judged as poetry.  And indeed, as Dante advances from hell to heaven, the beauty of the writing and imagery keeps pace, and you feel yourself being elevated with him. 

I was glad to find this image of a mountain range to convey something of that journey into increasing light and loveliness.

‘Appreciated on the level of its verse, the thing never stops getting steadily more beautiful as it goes on.’ 

See also our illustrated quote-rich celebration of Dante’s Divine Comedy in Clive James’ entrance-lation. 

Source: Clive James, introduction, Dante,The Divine Comedy, trans. Clive James (New York: Liveright Publishing, 2013), p. xiii

Photo credit: Hans at


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