There are over 120 versions of The Divine
Comedy in English alone, including online text and ebooks,
as well as paperback editions. Most of them lack accuracy, particularly right at the beginning, which is crucial for understanding the whole book and its messages. The biggest error is in translating the word "ritrovai", in Italian, which means "re-found", in English.
The Divine Comedy is made
up of three parts, corresponding with Dante’s three
journeys: Inferno, or “Hell”; Purgatorio,
or “Purgatory”; and Paradiso, or “Paradise.”
Each part consists of a prologue and approximately 33 cantos. Since
the narrative poem is in an exalted form with a hero as its subject,
it is defined as an epic poem.
Estimated Reading Time: The average silent reading
rate is 250 to 300 words per minute. Since each page contains approximately
11 stanzas of 27 words each, the average number of words per page
is 300 words. Each page takes readers 2-3 minutes if they read carefully,
consult the notes in the edition they are reading, use the dictionary
or glossary regularly, and take notes. Since there are 291 pages
in each part of a classic edition, this means that the reader will
need 291 times 3 minutes, or 873 minutes (about 15 hours) to read
the entire Divine Comedy book.
The different versions of The Divine Comedy are mainly
two, verse (original) and prose (it reads like a story). However,
both of these versions can offer comments and explanations at the
end of each page to help the reader in the interpretation of this
great poem. In addition to these two versions are the many translations
from Renaissance Italian into English and more than 30 other languages.
This goes for all types of reading options: paper books, online
books and ebooks.
Paper Books: The selection is not easy so we decided
to give you some of the options we prefer. Click on each title:
Online Books: The Divine Comedy can usually
be read for free online and can also be printed out to be read anywhere,
anytime. Here are a few of these free online versions, the first
one suggested by Steve Khinoy:
Ebooks: This type of reading option can be very
handy but you must choose carefully. Some ebooks can be downloaded
and read offline on your PC monitor. Others are more versatile and
can be read on a PDA (Personal Directory Assistant), such as Palm
or Pocket PCs. Finally, there are those that can let you read the
ebooks on both, your PC and your PDA, giving you a better deal for
your money. So, here are what we suggest: