Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I was going to title my post, "This has officially become ridiculous," but then I saw that Fiona had scheduled a post with the title "This is ridiculous" for the same day, so I guess that's out. No matter.

Let me tell you what is truly ridiculous: I have, on my person, four different translations of the Purgatorio.

I know. This is out of control. But you see, as I mentioned last week, I'm having trouble with Merwin's translation. There are no summaries/arguments at the beginning of the chapter, and the notes are few and terse. I just feel like I'm missing so much.

So I took a lunch break and went to the used bookstore by my office. Now I have the Ciardi translation, because I know for sure I can follow it; the Mandelbaum, because as we all know by now, I like Mandelbaum; and, randomly enough, the Musa, because it's a Penguin edition with excellent notes. (That guy on Amazon seems to like him, too.)

I should not be spending so much money on used books, especially the Purgatorio. No one even likes the Purgatorio! But there's no point reading it, I don't think, if I can't make heads nor tails of it. And we'll be done with translations soon enough.

(The bookstore also had the Palma Inferno, and I took a moment to read some of it, and it was just beautiful. Oh well.)

I'm looking forward to getting a look at these translations and letting you know how it goes. I've made painfully slow progress with Merwin, so I'm hoping I'll be able to read faster now, too.

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