Hot Best Seller

Paradise

Availability: Ready to download

“If there is any justice in the world of books, [Esolen’s] will be the standard Dante . . . for some time to come.”–Robert Royal, Crisis In this, the concluding volume of The Divine Comedy, Dante ascends from the devastation of the Inferno and the trials of Purgatory. Led by his beloved Beatrice, he enters Paradise, to profess his faith, hope, and love before the Heavenly “If there is any justice in the world of books, [Esolen’s] will be the standard Dante . . . for some time to come.”–Robert Royal, Crisis In this, the concluding volume of The Divine Comedy, Dante ascends from the devastation of the Inferno and the trials of Purgatory. Led by his beloved Beatrice, he enters Paradise, to profess his faith, hope, and love before the Heavenly court. Completed shortly before his death, Paradise is the volume that perhaps best expresses Dante’s spiritual philosophy about resurrection, redemption, and the nature of divinity. It also affords modern-day readers a clear window into late medieval perceptions about faith. A bilingual text, classic illustrations by Gustave Doré, an appendix that reproduces Dante’s key sources, and other features make this the definitive edition of Dante’s ultimate masterwork. From the Trade Paperback edition.


Compare

“If there is any justice in the world of books, [Esolen’s] will be the standard Dante . . . for some time to come.”–Robert Royal, Crisis In this, the concluding volume of The Divine Comedy, Dante ascends from the devastation of the Inferno and the trials of Purgatory. Led by his beloved Beatrice, he enters Paradise, to profess his faith, hope, and love before the Heavenly “If there is any justice in the world of books, [Esolen’s] will be the standard Dante . . . for some time to come.”–Robert Royal, Crisis In this, the concluding volume of The Divine Comedy, Dante ascends from the devastation of the Inferno and the trials of Purgatory. Led by his beloved Beatrice, he enters Paradise, to profess his faith, hope, and love before the Heavenly court. Completed shortly before his death, Paradise is the volume that perhaps best expresses Dante’s spiritual philosophy about resurrection, redemption, and the nature of divinity. It also affords modern-day readers a clear window into late medieval perceptions about faith. A bilingual text, classic illustrations by Gustave Doré, an appendix that reproduces Dante’s key sources, and other features make this the definitive edition of Dante’s ultimate masterwork. From the Trade Paperback edition.

30 review for Paradise

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Paradiso = Paradise = Heaven (La Divina Commedia #3), Dante Alighieri Paradiso is the third and final part of Dante's Divine Comedy, following the Inferno and the Purgatorio. It is an allegory telling of Dante's journey through Heaven, guided by Beatrice, who symbolizes theology. In the poem, Paradise is depicted as a series of concentric spheres surrounding the Earth, consisting of the Moon, Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, the Fixed Stars, ... It was written in the early 14th Paradiso = Paradise = Heaven (La Divina Commedia #3), Dante Alighieri Paradiso is the third and final part of Dante's Divine Comedy, following the Inferno and the Purgatorio. It is an allegory telling of Dante's journey through Heaven, guided by Beatrice, who symbolizes theology. In the poem, Paradise is depicted as a series of concentric spheres surrounding the Earth, consisting of the Moon, Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, the Fixed Stars, ... It was written in the early 14th century. Allegorically, the poem represents the soul's ascent to God. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: سال 1968 میلادی عنوان: بهشت؛ نویسنده: دانته آلیگیری؛ برگردان: شجاع الدین شفا؛ تهران، امیرکبیر، 1335؛ چاپ دیگر: 1347؛ جلد سوم از سه جلد؛ چاپ ششم 1378؛ شابک جلد دوم: 9640003999؛ چاپ بیست و یکم 1393؛ جلد نخست: دوزخ؛ جلد دوم برزخ؛ جلد سوم: بهشت؛ ترجمه از زبان ایتالیائی؛ موضوع: شعر شاعران ایتالیائی - سده 14 م سرود اول بهشت: جلال ِ آن کس که گرداننده ی همه چیز است، سرتاسر جهان آفرینش را به فرمان خویش دارد. ولی در اینجا (آسمان) بیشتر، و در جاهای دیگر کمتر متجلی است. بدان آسمانی رفتم، که بیش از هر آسمان دگر از فروغ او بهره مند است، و چیزهایی را دیدم، که آن کس که از آن بالا فرود آمده باشد، نه میداند و نه میتواند باز گفت. زیرا که حس ادراک ما، با نزدیکی به مایه ی اشتیاق خود، چنان مجذوب میشود، که حافظه ی ما را یارای همراهی با آن نمیماند. با این همه، آنچه را که از قلمرو مقدس (بهشت) در گنجینه ی اندیشه، جای توانسته ام داد، اکنون مایه ی این سرود خویش میکنم، و بازش میگویم. ای «آپولوی» نیک نهاد، برای این سهم آخرین، مرا آن اندازه، از نبوغ خویش عطا کن، که برای سپردن تاج افتخار محبوب خود به کسان، از آنان طلب میکنی...؛ ا. شربیانی

  2. 5 out of 5

    Michael Finocchiaro

    The journey with Dante and his spiritual guides through the afterlife concludes appropriately with Paradiso. Written around 1319 to just before he died in 1321, it is his ultimate vision of God and Heaven and a wild ride. The pace is much faster - or at least it seemed to me - than Inferno and Purgatorio and he and Beatrice fly through the Heavenly Sphere (yes, you need a lot of suspension of disbelief and lots of Scholastic philosophy - even Aquinas himself is a tourguide at one point), so it The journey with Dante and his spiritual guides through the afterlife concludes appropriately with Paradiso. Written around 1319 to just before he died in 1321, it is his ultimate vision of God and Heaven and a wild ride. The pace is much faster - or at least it seemed to me - than Inferno and Purgatorio and he and Beatrice fly through the Heavenly Sphere (yes, you need a lot of suspension of disbelief and lots of Scholastic philosophy - even Aquinas himself is a tourguide at one point), so it is almost like a science fiction/space travel book. At times, it reminded me of the incomprehensible end of 2001: A Space Odyssey with colors and light and memories flooding by. It requires perhaps the least use of footnotes (see my lamentations in my Purgatorio review) and was fun to read. I felt like I was really surfing sometimes and enjoyed the conclusion with - as in the other two canticles - stars in the sky. It gave me pause to think that as Dante was writing this, the Pope was in Avignon, Giotto was working on his frescoes in Padua, and Copernicus had not yet talked about the sun being the center of the solar system. Quite a time warp... To describe this with a painting, no less than Mathias Grünewald's Isenheim mantlepiece could do - particularly the inner panel with Christ shown in a blinding glow of light. I went to Colmar this year to finally see this piece in person and it gave me the same giddy, light-headed feeling as Paradiso did.

  3. 4 out of 5

    ἀρχαῖος (arkhaîos)

    "What little I recall is to be told, from this point on, in words more weak than those of one whose infant tongue still bathes at the breast." Canto XXXIII Note: When your eyes glaze over at any point while reading this review, simply skip ahead to the solid line __________. Dante wrote his 'Divine Comedy' as a didactic poem. He wanted to teach his fellow citizens about what could await them after death - Inferno; Purgatorio; Paradiso. He also wanted to teach a lesson in Faith and Morals. He wrote "What little I recall is to be told, from this point on, in words more weak than those of one whose infant tongue still bathes at the breast." Canto XXXIII Note: When your eyes glaze over at any point while reading this review, simply skip ahead to the solid line __________. Dante wrote his 'Divine Comedy' as a didactic poem. He wanted to teach his fellow citizens about what could await them after death - Inferno; Purgatorio; Paradiso. He also wanted to teach a lesson in Faith and Morals. He wrote it in the Italian dialect of his region so that they could easily access it. He included historical personages, including many still living at the time so that they could recognize their neighbours and themselves. And he created a stunning and beautiful work of poetic art so that they would want to read it over and over again. The very poetry carries the message in its form and structure. And here we are, 700 years later, still reading it - but do we learn what he tried to teach? Do we even understand the 'Divine Comedy'? Can any modern reader immerse herself in Dante's late medieval world to catch an inkling of his message? I think not. Perhaps there are a few, somewhat naïve, Catholic scholars locked away somewhere who can grasp it all, but to really be the audience Dante intended, no. The social imaginaries have changed and no one can get back to Dante. So why do so many somewhat educated, non-believing (or at least living a totally different belief) western thinking GR members continue to read the 'Divine Comedy'? Well, some 107 000 GR members say that they have read the 'Inferno'. (That's Best Seller status!). A lot of the reviews cite that the notes were necessary for identifying all those characters who Dante was critical of and had condemned to an eternity of suffering. Reviewers also cite their interest in the stories of these persons in life and, even more so, their delight in Dante's imagined torments. I suspect that few of us are frightened by these torments. Nor do we feel a particular sense of satisfaction or revenge that any of these souls (What's a soul?) are so condemned. But, we have scored 'Inferno' at 3.98 stars. Pretty good, even if we didn't really get where Dante wants us to be. Now, almost 16 700 ratings are in for 'Purgatorio'. Quite a drop in readership considering the high ratings for 'Inferno'. But these readers are quite happy with a rating of 4.01 stars. Obviously, those who stick with it are those who are most devoted. Again, the comments are focused more on the characters and the suffering than on the message that Dante intended. Finally, there is the 'Paradiso' with some 11 800 ratings. That suggests that the majority of the readers of the 'Purgatorio' persevered. And then, having made it all that way, they assigned an average of 3.98 stars. Now that is only .03 stars fewer stars than were awarded to the 'Purgatorio'. Statistically significant? I suspect so given the high numbers of raters. (I also suspect that there is a lot of the well known "Damn it. I've read all of this and I'm going to appreciate it" factor at play here. So the rating is likely skewed a bit on the high side.) What is interesting here is that many of the reviews, while positive, do note a lack of action. Perhaps the higher rating is due to the fact that Dante has made fewer references to historical personages who mean nothing or little to the reader. (Of course, this group of readers may include those most likely to read and enjoy endnotes.) However, it is noteworthy that few of the reviews say a great deal about the theological or philosophical discussions which abound in this volume. Dante's messages are apparently not getting through, even to the most devoted readers. Why not? Because we lack the background. The problem for most of us is that we are not born with an 'a priori' knowledge of classical literature and mythology, medieval philosophy and theology, and Dante's personal genius. Now I'm going to reveal myself as the pedantic, intellectual snob that I've always striven to be. I'm going to to tell you that I spent months reading up on medieval philosophy and theology and then read up on Dante. (I should note that others have outdone me and have demonstrated a much greater depth of knowledge and insight. Actually, I suspect that their knowledge is 'a priori', perhaps divinely ordained.) All of the above to say that I studied my way through the 'Paradiso', rather than reading it. I made as many connections with classical and medieval thought as I could and reconnected with those sources, which is why I spent months on this volume. And, it was fun. I will note, however, that I understood a great deal more than I would have done otherwise but the majority still evaded me. Also, I did not convert to Catholicism nor to Christianity. Not even to some vague spiritual belief (like, uhh, I don't really believe in any religion, ya know, but like, I think there's something out there, like, a god or something.) Nope. No epiphany. I'm still the same. Except I was blown away by Dante's genius. Wow. That guy had an enormous amount of information at his disposal. No internet. His own intellect had all of this within his grasp. We really should honour Dante. ______________________________________ So what did I get out of reading the Paradiso? (Finally. If you've read this far, you'll probably be disappointed.) I learned a great deal about Dante's worldview (If you're into German thought, that's "Weltanschauung".) I learned about his chain of reasoning which took him from the eyes and smile of Beatrice to love, to light, to the Sun, to all of creation, through to truth to the suffering and resurrection of Christ and then to the perfection of God. In Dante's world, not only is all of this united but, finally, it is all one, eternal and infinite. His development of this path is one of both logic and scripture. He uses his knowledge of medieval theology and his poetry to bring his reader to this perfect knowledge, to a moral and intellectual Wisdom. The only wisdom possible. To support this development, Dante has himself in Heaven addressed by a veritable army of saints, theologians and philosophers. He also calls forth Kings and Biblical persons as well as characters from Roman and Greek mythologies. It is all of the above who develop the imagery and the arguments necessary to lead his readers to Christ and to Wisdom. Dante presents himself as little more than a scribe chosen by Christ to bring the message to humanity. As such, of course, he can be seen as a prophet. But Dante, who was aware of his tendency to the sin of pride, and has been berated for it by Beatrice at their first encounter, often reminds his reader of his humble role. That a man of such genius has assumed this role seems somewhat unbelievable. But that may be part of his genius. My advice to anyone wishing to read and enjoy the 'Divine Comedy' is to immerse yourself in Dante's world as much as you may have patience for. As well, there is so much more that I have not touched upon.

  4. 5 out of 5

    William2

    I'm only reading the poems, and the preceding brief clarifying outlines, this first time through. I find the long critical sections to be almost wholly poem killing. I am not a Christian, so my view is literary and anthropological. All literature for me, the compelling stuff, delineates a lost or wholly imagined world or parallel sphere. (J.G. Ballard's off-beat work comes to mind.) The Divine Comedy wonderfully creates just such an imagined existence. It is, in fact, a dystopia, very ancient I'm only reading the poems, and the preceding brief clarifying outlines, this first time through. I find the long critical sections to be almost wholly poem killing. I am not a Christian, so my view is literary and anthropological. All literature for me, the compelling stuff, delineates a lost or wholly imagined world or parallel sphere. (J.G. Ballard's off-beat work comes to mind.) The Divine Comedy wonderfully creates just such an imagined existence. It is, in fact, a dystopia, very ancient and chilling. There are stanzas that take the breath away. Just two here: Oh you, eager to hear more,who have followed me in your little bark my ship that singing makes its way, turn back if you would see your shores again.Do not set forth upon the deep,for, losing sight of me, you would be lost.The old prejudices are here strong as ever. Especially, the killing of Jesus by "the Jews." Missing as usual is Jesus's Jewish birth. Also, the ridiculous dogma of Original Sin, which was an invention of Augustine of Hippo, and adopted by the early church, late in the 4th century. Yet the beauty of the verse allows us to glimpse something of the relevance and immediacy the poem must have had for readers of Dante's day. One gets a similar effect when viewing El Greco's portraits of the saints. It is the style that transfixes.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Manny

    For the Celebrity Death Match Review Tournament, The Complete Tales and Poems of Winnie-the-Pooh versus The Divine ComedyMy propositions are elucidatory in this way: he who understands me finally recognizes them as senseless, when he has climbed out through them, on them, over them. (He must so to speak throw away the ladder, after he has climbed up on it.) He must surmount these propositions; then he sees the world rightly. - Ludwig WittgensteinOne by one, all the other animals had left the For the Celebrity Death Match Review Tournament, The Complete Tales and Poems of Winnie-the-Pooh versus The Divine ComedyMy propositions are elucidatory in this way: he who understands me finally recognizes them as senseless, when he has climbed out through them, on them, over them. (He must so to speak throw away the ladder, after he has climbed up on it.) He must surmount these propositions; then he sees the world rightly. - Ludwig WittgensteinOne by one, all the other animals had left the Great Expotition. Rabbit had been first, in the Sphere of Mercury; then Kanga and Roo, in the Sphere of Venus. Tigger had joined the Holy Warriors in the Sphere of Mars, and Owl and Eeyore the Wise in the Sphere of the Sun. Christopher Robin had not been able to tear himself away from the Fixed Stars. "They're too beautiful," he'd muttered apologetically as they said goodbye. "You'll have to tell me what you find higher up." And now Pooh and Piglet followed Beatrice into the final Sphere. The rest of this review is in my book What Pooh Might Have Said to Dante and Other Futile Speculations

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sidharth Vardhan

    As much as you have to admire Dante for his knowledge spanning over so many fields - philosophy, cosmology, history, theology, mythology, poets, politics, whatever is the word for the science of torture (Dante should be called father of that science), about local crimes etc - one can see why Borges considered it the best thing ever written; still I didn't particularly like Paradiso. It is mostly saintly souls in large groups moving in different shapes. And despite all those souls telling us As much as you have to admire Dante for his knowledge spanning over so many fields - philosophy, cosmology, history, theology, mythology, poets, politics, whatever is the word for the science of torture (Dante should be called father of that science), about local crimes etc - one can see why Borges considered it the best thing ever written; still I didn't particularly like Paradiso. It is mostly saintly souls in large groups moving in different shapes. And despite all those souls telling us everything about right and wrong; the only thing that I liked are the parts where Dante and Beatrice are flirting with each other. "Open thine eyes and look at what I am Though hast behold such things, that strong enough Has thou become to tolerate my smile." or "Were I to smile, then you would be like Semele when she was turned to ashes, because, as you have seen, my loveliness which, even as we climb the steps of this eternal palace, blazes with more brightness were it not tempered here, would be so brilliant that, as it flashed, your mortal faculty would seem a branch a lightning bolt has cracked" I mean get a room, right? But that is another thing missing from Paradise. No rooms. Souls just move around in closed shapes all the time, singing prayers. Sounds boring. To be fair, there are some religious celebrities - especially towards the end which might interest the faithful. But still, isn't paradise supposed to be really,really attractive? I can't imagine anyone being sold on this idea of Paradise. I, for one, can't imagine myself climbing the stupid purgarito mountain for that. Not that I know of too attractive an idea of paradise. Even Hindu idea of paradise with all its riches never tempted me. It is this monotony which must accompany eternity - everything becomes boring in long run. Whats the point of having your favorite food, if you have been having it for last thousand years? I could rather prefer their alternative of cycle of rebirth and death over it, which Hindu saints are trying to free themselves from. The cycle of rebirth and death means, as I see it, the opportunity of doing things repeatedly without burden of the memory of having done it before. Think of all the first loves, first kisses, first sight of your children you can have in that scenario! Another defect of heavenly life is we will probably lose our personality, our individuality too along with our pleasure - as was the case in Borges' short story 'Immortal'. There is thus no Paradise that is not boring and that doesn't make us dull. The only incentive a paradise has is a negative one - it is not hell, so one need not suffer (except from boredom). And so, the best thing that can happen would be if we were reborn again or didn't have a soul at all. A soul doomed to live eternally must choose between suffering of hell and monotony of paradise. I know, pretty philosophical, is my it? I should be a theologian. I think for us, goodreaders, choice can't be more clear. There is only one suffering we can't bear - boredom. I mean we chose he books that might make us make us cry, suffer along with its protagonists over sitting idly. And if we know a book that has made someone cry, we give preference to that book. Not that there is anything wrong with that. If you shall Google 'soul-destroying', it shall offer 'monotony' as its meaning. We focus our activities on saving our souls and we must continue to avoid monotony (read paradise) even after death ... No, the money I received from Satan for making a sale-pitch for his resort has nothing to do with this. Let us face it, hell has all the interesting people. I mean where do you think all the Lawerences, Nabokovs, Calvinos are? So, feel free to commit all the sins you want. In the end, that is what will save you soul. ... On the other hand, the Islamic Paradise with its proposal of four virgins ... tempting. And of course, to quote Nemesis "stars".

  7. 4 out of 5

    Algernon (Darth Anyan)

    “Infinite order rules in this domain. Mere accidence can no more enter in than hunger can, or thirst, or grief, or pain.” “Now comes this man who from the final pit of the universe up to this height has seen, one by one, the three lives of the spirit.” I have been reviewing each canto separately, but that is not how the poem was constructed. Dante planned his timeless masterpiece to the last detail, leaving nothing to chance or improvization. His supreme deity is one of order and meaning, and only “Infinite order rules in this domain. Mere accidence can no more enter in than hunger can, or thirst, or grief, or pain.” “Now comes this man who from the final pit of the universe up to this height has seen, one by one, the three lives of the spirit.” I have been reviewing each canto separately, but that is not how the poem was constructed. Dante planned his timeless masterpiece to the last detail, leaving nothing to chance or improvization. His supreme deity is one of order and meaning, and only our limited intelligence stops us from understanding His master plan. My limited intelligence also made me struggle with the last Canto much more than with the previous two. The Florentine poet urges me to put aside everything I gained through the powers of reasoning and observation of the natural world and rely on Faith for the last leg of the journey, to look inward and examine what I believe in and how strong is my conviction. More than in the other two cantos combined, I relied on the the translator’s synopsis and endnotes to explain the subtleties of the text (says Ciardi: Dante warns back the shallow reader: only those who have eaten of the knowledge of God may hope to follow him into the last reaches of his infinite voyage, for it will reveal such wonders as only faith can grasp. ) The three lives of the spirit: Inferno shows us the punishment of those who only live for themselves and for material gains. Purgatory shows us there is a path to salvation of our souls, a tortuous and exhausting climb up from the gutter. Now Paradise is the proof that Man’s spirit was made to soar up into the immaculate sphere of pure thought and unreserved Love. Ciardi, my erudite and patient guide through the intricate swirls of Dante’s argument, remarks on how the poet achieves his goals – analogies and metaphors that are started in the first Canto and are followed up and developed throughout the journey. Dante climaxes the master metaphor in which purification is equated to weightlessness. Having purged all dross from his soul he mounts effortlessly, without even being aware of it at first. A second master metaphor I have identified is the use of light : from the darkness of Inferno to the night and day alternance in Purgatorio and now to painting with light on a white canvas. The spiris Dante meets in the celestial spheres are differentiated only by the intensity of their shining shapes, an ever increasing value that leads to the need for Dante to have his eyesight upgraded more than once in order to observe his surroundings without being burned to a crisp (he sees spirits dancing even in the middle of the Sun) To finish with the poem wide projects, I should also make a note of the soundtrack. From the groans, wails and screams of the condemned souls in Inferno or the individual songs of praise in the Purgatory we have graduated now to hearing the celestial chorus, the synchronized dance and music of the stars, as free of the weight of routine concerns as the body of the poet is free of gravity. “O heavenly love in smiling glory wreathed, how ardently you sounded from those flutes through which none but the holiest impulse breathed.” Paradise starts at the top of the Purgatory mountain, when Dante leaves behind his ancient philosopher companion (literally and spiritually) and is handed down into the hands of Beatrice, the incarnation of Divine Love. The distances the poet travel increase exponentially as he visits the celestial spheres nested one inside the other like Matrioshka dolls, but thanks to his above mentioned weightlessness after the shedding of all sinful and impure thoughts, he covers the space in a blink of an eye. Yet, for all the declared goal of writing about a spiritul voyage, I couldn’t help but notice that Dante cannot help himself from showing off his interest in astronomical observations, zodiac symbols and mythical recollections even as he visits the spheres of Air, Moon, Mercury, Sun, Venus, Jupiter, up to the final destination The Empirean. As he cannot renounce, not even when facing the highest authorities in Heaven, his right to criticize the religious excesses and the political betrayals that have sent him in exile. As a side note, beside Ciardi I am extremely grateful to the Divine Commedy reading group here, who provided excellent illustrations and commentary to each canto. The most intriguing, and in my opinion appropriate observation was linking the journey of Dante to contemporary Arab texts describing the spiritual journey of Mohammed on the back of a winged donkey. The implications are many and I am in danger of getting derailed, but I really liked to notice how the two major religions are not so different as modern haters want me to think, and how in early Renaissance the oriental wisdom played as major a part as the Greek and Roman philosophical heritage. Paradisio though is more focused on the Christian saints and myths, and I am less familiar with their names and their histories than with the people Dante met in Hell or Purgatorio. Yet I recognized the major influences : Aquina, Bede, Boethius, St Bernard, St Benedict, St Augustine. The higher Dante ascends, the closer he gets to the apostles, the Virgin and the Saviour. The ultimate revelation ( which amusingly for me comes only after Dante is questioned about his faith like a schoolboy reciting his catechism) is about the nature of the Trinity that is One. Despite being often confused by the sophistic arguments, I cannot help but be in awe at the conviction and passion Dante puts into this final affirmation of his creed. ‘There was not, nor will be, from the first day to the last night, an act so glorious and so magnificent, on either way. For God, in giving Himself that man might be able to raise himself, gave even more than if he had forgiven him in mercy’. God has given us a choice in our salvation. Dante sees more worth in devotion that is freely given instead of a general amnesty that forgives everybody or lip service that comes out of fear of punishment or desire for rewards. Punishment and rewards are still a major part of the poet’s project, but for me the most important question remains this one regarding free will. I was curious about how Dante would reconciliate the opposing concepts of freedom of thought with the total obedience to the tenets of the church. I found the solution weak, especially after Virgil exclaims at the end of Purgatory : “Lord of yourself I crown and mitre you!”. For a second I thought Dante will be consistent in his support for the idea: “Of all creation’s bounty realized, God’s greatest gift, the gift in which mankind is most like Him, the gift by Him most prized, is the freedom he bestowed upon the will.” But immediately after this exclamation comes Beatrice and tries to demonstrate that Man should use his freedom to give the gift back to God and act only in accordance with what the scriptures require of him. A second and third disappointment comes later when Dante’s inquisitive Renascentist mind can’t help but ask to understand the nature of Divine justice (for example why are countless innocent people killed in natural catastrophes?). Again Ciardi expresses the theme better than me: Dante is afire to understand the nature of Divine justice and begs the Eagle to explain it, but he is told that the infinity of God’s excellence must forever exceed his creation, and that none may fathom His will, whereby it is presumptuous of any creature to question the Divine Justice. Man must be content with the guidance of the Scripture and with the sure knowledge that God is perfect, good, and just. Not even these enormously elevated souls can know the full answer. Likewise, in the sphere of Saturn: The mystery of predestination is beyond the reach of all but God, and man should not presume to grasp it. Can you spell copout? This goes against all I admired in the first two cantos and all I loved about the Renaissance men – they liberated our spirit from the shackles of dogma. I need to think more about how Dante arrived at his conclusion, but for the moment colour me underwhelmed. I got a couple of more quotes that reiterate the position of Dante as a political militant, railing against the corruption of his home city and against the sins of the Pope and of his antourage. I’ve discussed the subject in my previous two reviews, so I will not spend more time on it: “Florence [...] brings forth and spreads the accursed flower of gold that changes the shepherd into a ravening wolf by whom the sheep are scattered from the fold.” and, “For all the goods of the Church, tithes and donations, are for the poor of God, not to make fat the families of monks – and worse relations.” and once more, “The bride of Christ was not suckled of old on blood of mine, of Linus, and of Cletus to be reared as an instrument for grabbing gold.” I don’t want to say goodbye to the Divine Comedy on this negative note. I kept one last stanza to express my awe and gratitude for the fantastic journey that keeps giving us food for thought and moral support after so many centuries, a masterpiece that sees scholars dedicate their whole lives to the study and interpretation of the poet’s verses, that has dramatically influenced the vision of countless authors who borrowed and used the fruit of his imagination, a ray of hope and of joy about the future of mankind: “Contemplating His Son with that Third Essence of Love breated forth forever by Them both, the omnipotent and ineffaable First Presence created all that moves in mind and space with such perfection that to look upon it is to be seized by love of the Maker’s grace.” For and outstanding collection of illustrations to the cantos, please visit the Divine Comedy reading group. Thanks again for pushing me to read the books and for providing a one stop cornuccopia of knowledge and enthusiasm.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Piyangie

    The Paradiso is the third and final part of The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri. As the name implies, this part contains Dante's version of Paradise. Dante's Paradise is influenced by medieval views on Cosmology. Accordingly, it has nine concentric spheres that surround the earth. Above the spheres is the Empyrean which is where God resides. In Paradiso, Dante journeys through Paradise. Here his guide is Beatrice. Virgil is no longer there and I missed dear old Virgil who guided Dante through The Paradiso is the third and final part of The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri. As the name implies, this part contains Dante's version of Paradise. Dante's Paradise is influenced by medieval views on Cosmology. Accordingly, it has nine concentric spheres that surround the earth. Above the spheres is the Empyrean which is where God resides. In Paradiso, Dante journeys through Paradise. Here his guide is Beatrice. Virgil is no longer there and I missed dear old Virgil who guided Dante through the Inferno and Purgatorio. Unlike in the Inferno and Purgatorio where literary influences also could be seen, Paradiso is based almost completely on Christian theology and religious history (so far as I understood it). It is said that allegorically Beatrice represents theology. So it is all but natural that Beatrice is his guide here and that Virgil has no role to play. The beautiful metaphors, the detailed descriptions and lyrical beauty of the verses that I loved in both the Inferno and Purgatorio, are found here as well. I really enjoyed reading them. However, when compared with the other two, Paradiso was a heavy read for me. At times, especially in the middle, I found the read a little exhausting. But towards the last third cantos, the contents were lighter and I was able to get in to a comfortable pace of reading. Now that I have read all three parts, I can safely conclude that my favourite out of them all is the Inferno. I find Inferno to be more creative and imaginative than the other two. Nevertheless, I enjoyed them all. With this read, I have completed my read of the Divine Comedy. I cannot say that I understood the entirety of it, but for me, poetry is more to feel than to understand.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Riku Sayuj

    Paradise: Too bright and too noisy. Not my choice for a good retirement spot. I have decided to settle for the Earthly Paradise atop Purgatory, with its meadows, light music and pleasant breeze. Seems like the best long term investment at the end of this cosmic tour.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Manny

    Some concluding statements. I began reading Paradiso believing it was the weakest of the three canticas of Inferno, Pugatorio, and Paradiso. Such a notion was implanted from what I can only say are biased academics. Paradiso does not have the fanciful torments of Inferno. It does not have the bodily tensions of Purgatorio. But Paradiso is special. Perhaps it is the most theological of the three canticas—and that is why I think that academic biased developed. But the theology is dramatized in Some concluding statements. I began reading Paradiso believing it was the weakest of the three canticas of Inferno, Pugatorio, and Paradiso. Such a notion was implanted from what I can only say are biased academics. Paradiso does not have the fanciful torments of Inferno. It does not have the bodily tensions of Purgatorio. But Paradiso is special. Perhaps it is the most theological of the three canticas—and that is why I think that academic biased developed. But the theology is dramatized in imagery, proposed in beautiful similes and metaphors, all leading to that vision of God as the Trinity. Paradiso is the most beautiful of the three canticas. The sublimity of the imagery is unsurpassed. One can be horrified at the imagery of Inferno, and feel empathy at the imagery of Purgatorio. But one longs to embrace the imagery of Pardiso. Indeed, one longs to participate in the imagery of Paradiso. In the very first canto of Paradiso, Beatrice in response to a question as to why all things move upward provides an answer which I think is the central thesis of not just Paradiso but of the entire Devine Comedy. 'All things created have an order in themselves, and this begets the form that lets the universe resemble God. 'Here the higher creatures see the imprint of the eternal Worth, the end for which that pattern was itself set forth. 'In that order, all natures have their bent according to their different destinies, whether nearer to their source or farther from it. 'They move, therefore, toward different harbors upon the vastness of the sea of being, each imbued with instinct that impels it on its course. (Par.I.103-114) That the universe has an order, that things created have an order, all of which resembles God, who has created all forms out of reason and love, is at the heart of this epic. The entire Commedia is shaped to reflect God’s order. The order in Inferno, as it winds its way down to the bottom pit of hell, reflects God’s ordering of justice. The penitential climb up the mountain in Purgatorio reflects the order to retrain the soul to what you were made to be. The order of Paradiso, with its impelling motion toward the city of God, reflects order of God’s love as He draws us into His bosom as a parent draws their child. No other epic has such a complete vision of humanity in its relationship to his universe, and, indeed, to his creator. Which is the greater of the three canticas? You can’t think of it that way. Each fulfills the other two. They complement each other as a trinity for a unified vision. So which of the three canticas do I prefer? Whichever I have read last, which at the moment is Paradiso.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Shawn

    Something about this passage gets me. I always come back to it. Sad and beautiful. Dante asks a woman in the lowest rung of Paradise - the moon - if she doesn't hanker to go higher: "A smile at this Lightened her eyes, and those who crowded near Smiled with her. Then she spoke, and all the bliss Of Love's first flame, it seemed, was hers to sing, She was so joyous in her answering. "Brother, the quality of our Love doth still The impulse of rebellion; all our will Being God's only. Here we rest Something about this passage gets me. I always come back to it. Sad and beautiful. Dante asks a woman in the lowest rung of Paradise - the moon - if she doesn't hanker to go higher: "A smile at this Lightened her eyes, and those who crowded near Smiled with her. Then she spoke, and all the bliss Of Love's first flame, it seemed, was hers to sing, She was so joyous in her answering. "Brother, the quality of our Love doth still The impulse of rebellion; all our will Being God's only. Here we rest content. What God hath in his perfect counsel meant In our assorting is our certain good. Incapable of a different thirst are we, And, that you may the clear occasion see, Consider that Love rules omnipotent From threshold unto threshold, from this low Soon-circling moon, that for our home we know, To the vast Ultimate Heaven. And think again. What is Love's nature? Love itself were vain If envy could corrupt it. Love must be Surrender by its own necessity Unto the God from Whom itself derives. No more desire in emulation strives, But all our joy is in this will supreme; And thence is His joy also, that our wills Find peace in His - the universal sea Which to Itself all that Itself creates, And all that Nature thence originates, Draws in divine attraction."

  12. 5 out of 5

    Laurel Hicks

    Beautiful! I need to read it a few more times to really own it, though. It is filled with music and smiles and light.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Helena

    Dante's journey to enlightenment ends with Paradiso. It was my least favourite part to be honest. I had hard time getting through the book and since I'm not into philosophy I didn't enjoy it as much. However, I'm glad I decided to read The Divine Comedy because, as a whole, it was worth it. Dante's brilliance cannot be denied.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lau

    3.5 This is the most difficult book I've ever read. And I still think Inferno is the most enjoyable part. Idk people, I like the damned.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa J.

    That's that. It's over. And it all ended with God. In Paradiso, Dante's journey is continued and brought to an end. Now, Dante's guide is no longer Virgilius (he stopped guiding him almost at the end of Purgatorio), but by Beatrice, who was introduced (by mention) in Inferno. In this one, just as in the previous one, Dante meets important figures, the difference being that in Paradiso they are mostly saints. The Paradiso has also a structure, just this time, its division is according to virtues, That's that. It's over. And it all ended with God. In Paradiso, Dante's journey is continued and brought to an end. Now, Dante's guide is no longer Virgilius (he stopped guiding him almost at the end of Purgatorio), but by Beatrice, who was introduced (by mention) in Inferno. In this one, just as in the previous one, Dante meets important figures, the difference being that in Paradiso they are mostly saints. The Paradiso has also a structure, just this time, its division is according to virtues, and not of sins. Heaven begins at the top of the Purgatorio Mountain and ends with The Empirean (in which the Big One lives). The physical place of Heaven is in the space. There are many references to stars, contellations and some of the planets are even places in Heaven. We should all know that the entire Divine Comedy is an allegory to the ascend of the human soul to God, from the complete desperation and impossible salvation of Inferno, to the hope and suffering of Purgatorio and the happiness and holiness surrounding Paradiso. In this one, the “great thing” —the climax—is the final ascent to God and the unification with Him. Doesn't that look a little creepy? Again, I had great difficulty in understanding the book. Perhaps, as I said in my previous review (Purgatorio), it was because I am tired of poetry (and we will never get along) or because the prose in this one was more complicated. Something tells me it is both, since in this one, there is also a lot of theology (more than in the previous installments) introduced. Thank you, Dante, for letting me introduce myself in your journey without being invited! It was surely great! And I got to meet the Great One who everyone wants to meet (don't deny it, I know you want to). Now, everyone praise me (you know I couldn't avoid it). Highly recommended.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Galicius

    There are some 1200 entries in Sinclair’s index at the end of "Paradiso" to names of places and people to the entire "Divine Comedy". The Comedy is a liberal arts encyclopedia of the Medieval mind. This edition has the original text with facing page translation. The footnotes and translator's notes after each canto are very helpful. This text is recommended by Yale University for it's Dante course that is available on line free.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Alireza Nejati

    Perfectly-written story and a true masterpiece, everybody should read this series because it's the story of us people and what creatures we are!!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    Right behind the Bible on my list. That's not to say the book is perfect, but this is a book to break one's heart, mind, soul, and imagination. Update: There will be better books two thousand years later. For now, we need to make do with this. I’m sorry to say that this was the hardest of Esolen’s translations to follow. Like Perelandra, the Paradiso has lotsa dialogue, much of it metaphysical, which is again probably why people do not usually like it. Certainly, I cannot blame some readers for not Right behind the Bible on my list. That's not to say the book is perfect, but this is a book to break one's heart, mind, soul, and imagination. Update: There will be better books two thousand years later. For now, we need to make do with this. I’m sorry to say that this was the hardest of Esolen’s translations to follow. Like Perelandra, the Paradiso has lotsa dialogue, much of it metaphysical, which is again probably why people do not usually like it. Certainly, I cannot blame some readers for not being entranced by theology like I am. However, this is not as much of a flaw as some would think. All sorts of movies and books have excess exposition of some sort—perhaps mathematical, perhaps scientific, perhaps strategic—but in all these cases, the exposition is forgiven because we get the big picture and the exposition that is there works. Dante’s theology is solid and never gets in the way of him flying. Okay, sometimes the light is a bit blinding, but it is hardly the source and font of all our problems with heaven imagery. (I hate to say it, but I think Bunyan is actually at the back of that and his work thankfully spends most of its time on the journey, not on the city). The one flaw that I concede is that Dante practically turns Beatrice into a sacrament. Lewis points out that devotion for the Virgin Mary increased after this time and one finally understands why. Beatrice was the way medievals realized that to love God was not to reject the world, but to affirm all that was good in the world as a path to its source. God is more beautiful than women; this has some good effect for Dante and cautious readers like myself, but it damaged the faith of the hoi polloi that started to see Mary as God. I don’t think Dante could have stopped it, but he definitely gives the Virgin Mary a place she ought not to have and it nearly ruined my appreciation of the ending. However, I forgive him, because I still think he did pinpoint how beauty relates to God, including female beauty. Also, I find it ironic that the greatest work of medieval literature is a cry from a man who hated the pope, hated the endless wars within Catholic countries,a and hated the profiteering of the church. It is almost too good to be true that the greatest work of literature should be so profoundly anti-Catholic in some ways. Sometimes the poem nearly seems to collapse under the density of the imagery, but most of my friends like Tilt-a-Whirl and it does that too, and here the imagery can be enjoyed in itself without the deep symbolism that begs and cries out for detailed explanations—and in fact goes beyond anything Dante could have intended, since he clearly would have wanted us to extend the application. Nobody beats this kind of symbolism which is so pregnant with meaning that the poem seems to be jumping with joy like the pre-natal John the Baptist. This brings me to the center of the poem: the Trinity. When I first read Dante, I thought he meant to imply that the Father and the Son and the Spirit loved each other in the same way three individuals love each other, but I have been corrected and see that individuals have Spirit and that the Trinity is really a mystery that we cannot comprehend. This theme of mystery is all over Dante and the best thing about it is that he gets the romantic’s feelings long before romanticism happened. I remember the mind-blowing event of finishing this for the fist time and walking outside in the spring in the green grass and by a nearby stream. I had seen that the world was not a mere discard, but a mirror, a picture of what God was like and that the trees, the rocks, and the streams told me much more about God than all the books and sermons and hymns and prayers that have ever brought me closer to God. Dante’s brilliance lay in taking scholastic metaphysics and Augustine’s doctrines of love and desire and portraying them in real human beings, both the good and the bad. The fact that he can make you go through the Cantos and remember Beatrice more than Virgil is amazing. I still see her smile and her eyes, and I know what he meant. Authors often do a better job with their bad characters than with their good characters. Lewis said that it’s easier to portray evil because one can always be worse than one is and that to portray goodness is far more difficult. And Lewis also said that Dante got better with each book. I agree: Dante is no good until he gets to Purgatorio and the higher and higher he gets, the broader his wings stretch and yet all along he knows that he cannot capture anything in his verse. This poem is astounding and staggering. This is a book I gotta reread every year for the rest of my life. I am struck more than ever by the fact that I am a creature made for perfect infinite happiness, not in this life, but in the next, and that Dante’s book by comparison will be a small blink compared to the light and flames that will shoot through our hearts on the last day. And we will not have missed anything. We will have different rewards, but we won’t care. We’ll have all of God and He will have all of us. What more could we ask for?

  19. 4 out of 5

    Melora

    I'll admit I was relieved to reach the end of this one. There were some really Great parts, and I Loved the last canto, but... it dragged more than a bit in the middle. More than I needed to know about the arrangement of the planets and the orders of the angels, and Way more than I needed to hear about how Fabulously beautiful Beatrice is. I understand that she spends most of her time being allegorical, but still. Her heart is clearly in the right place, but she is a terrible nag. Even so, there I'll admit I was relieved to reach the end of this one. There were some really Great parts, and I Loved the last canto, but... it dragged more than a bit in the middle. More than I needed to know about the arrangement of the planets and the orders of the angels, and Way more than I needed to hear about how Fabulously beautiful Beatrice is. I understand that she spends most of her time being allegorical, but still. Her heart is clearly in the right place, but she is a terrible nag. Even so, there was enough that was beautiful or interesting or both in here, plus themes that ran through all three books, to make it worth reading the whole Divine Comedy. A comment on this particular translation -- the Mark Musa Penguin edition. The notes here are really excellent. Nothing obscure or scholarly, but very thorough explanations of the relevant points. The downside of the thoroughness is that there are a Lot of notes. On average, about ten pages of notes for every five pages of poem. The notes are at the end of each canto, which is really nice, because you don't have to flip to the back of the book, but they do tend to break the "flow" of the poem if you read them the way I do, which is, as a block after each canto. What I Really would have liked would have been real footnotes -- at the bottom of each page. The Arden Shakespeares have those, and they do tend to take up more than half of the page, which isn't so aesthetically pleasing, But you can easily glance down and Just read the notes you need. Oh well. As I said, they really are excellent notes, and all the other translations I've looked at do the notes the same way, or, worse, put them all at the very end.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Julie Davis

    This time through I was much more engaged in Paradiso than the first time I read it. Perhaps it is because of the commentaries I'd read ahead to prepare myself. Perhaps it is simply because the second time I was readier for this part of the journey. Whatever the reason, I found myself very moved by the Empyrean (the celestial rose formed by Mary and the saints as they gaze on the face of God, with angels fluttering back and forth like bees) and the rainbow spheres of the Holy Trinity with the This time through I was much more engaged in Paradiso than the first time I read it. Perhaps it is because of the commentaries I'd read ahead to prepare myself. Perhaps it is simply because the second time I was readier for this part of the journey. Whatever the reason, I found myself very moved by the Empyrean (the celestial rose formed by Mary and the saints as they gaze on the face of God, with angels fluttering back and forth like bees) and the rainbow spheres of the Holy Trinity with the figure of a man in them. These images are not only moving but somehow comforting and stayed with me through the evening and into the next day. I also was moved by reflecting upon the entire journey from the dark woods through the grotesqueness of Hell, the struggles up the mountain of Purgatory, and into the Heavenly spheres. I saw the book in a whole new light. I now understand much better why people urge readers not to simply read Inferno and stop. That is like settling down in a roadside hotel instead of going all the way to that glorious vacation you planned. It is just a small part of the trip and can't be understood in context without the rest of the journey.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    Finished my slow reading of the Paradiso on the last day of the year, which somehow seems appropriate. The Hollander translation seems excellent, and the notes, while far too detailed in their summary of all earlier commentaries, pretty much answer most of my questions. Now to go back to the Inferno and start my repeated rereading of the Commedia, this time in this translation. Somehow I remain convinced that if I just read it one more time, I'll understand everything, if only for 15 minutes.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Matt Pitts

    This was easily my favorite of the three books of Dante's Divine Comedy. It is more beautiful of course than the Inferno with its lex talionis inspired vision of hell and (for me at least) much more interesting than Purgatory . I'm a Protestant, so there were necessarily many things Dante described with which I do not agree, but from a broad Christian perspective there was also much to agree with and for a Christian interested in the classics much to appreciate and admire.

  23. 5 out of 5

    sarah massoni

    this book is incredibly intimidating. but after reading the vita nuova and the other two books in the divine comedy, paradiso is literally the coup de grace, in the most beautiful and beatific way possible.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The "Paradiso" is the climax of Dante's great "Commedia". This is what we've been waiting for since we opened to page one of "Inferno". And what do we find here? Many, it would seem, find disappointment and boredom. After the horror and close calls in "Inferno" and the gruesome purgations and labor of "Purgatorio", Dante now proceeds upward through increasing beauty and light until he comes to be in the very presence of God, the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That's it. At first The "Paradiso" is the climax of Dante's great "Commedia". This is what we've been waiting for since we opened to page one of "Inferno". And what do we find here? Many, it would seem, find disappointment and boredom. After the horror and close calls in "Inferno" and the gruesome purgations and labor of "Purgatorio", Dante now proceeds upward through increasing beauty and light until he comes to be in the very presence of God, the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That's it. At first glance it seems to be a bit of a let down. No action, no suspense, only increasing bliss. How dull it all seems, but is it really? The typical modern reaction to Dante's final book says less about the "Paradiso" and more about our understanding of theology, God, and Heaven. Even among Christians, there is a tendency today to misunderstand the point of Heaven. We talk about the wonders we will encounter, the joy of being reunited with loved ones in a sinless state, the meaning of vocation in eternity (judging angels, etc), and so on. True and desirable as these things may be, they fall short of the mark. The real goal of heaven, the end for which we strive is not a family reunion, but to be united with God Himself. He is the prize, the reward for all of Christ's and our sufferings. The saints in Purgatory long to be with God, not with each other. Beatrice, the personification of theology and the symbol of God's beauty is not what Dante is really looking for. She eventually steps aside to allow Dante to move closer to God, and so great is his desire for God at this point that he does not really miss her. If I may use an illustration, the first time I visited the Louvre, I went very early to beat the crowd and was among the first 100 or so people to enter the museum. Wanting to see the Mona Lisa without having to wade through a crowd, I made a beeline through the Grand Gallery for her. The gallery was empty except for me and my wife, and as we made our way down, ignoring the masterpieces on either side of us, the staircase at the far end of the gallery slowly revealed a statue. It was the "Winged Victory" of Samothrace. I did not know she was there and her appearance was a complete surprise to me. I was so overpowered by her sudden appearance and her great beauty that I almost fell down weeping. I wanted to forget the Mona Lisa and stay by Winged Victory and drink her in. I think that this, in the most infinitely small way, is similar to the way in which God's appearance to us in Paradise will affect us. We will be overwhelmed by His beauty, glory, and splendor. An eternity will not be too long a period of time to dwell on HIm and drink Him in. This is what Dante understood about God that so many of us have forgotten. This is the point of the "Paradiso". There is suspense, there is action here, but of a different sort than we have been taught to expect by our action-movie glutted society. The suspense comes from the anticipation of the final consummation of the soul with God. As Dante ascends through each of the heavens, the sense of anticipation grows. The feeling is like that of a child waiting for Christmas. Every day it gets closer and the suspense grows until they are ready to burst with excitement on Christmas Eve. So it is with Dante as he gets closer to God. His soul is overwhelmed, he is so anxious to get there he does not even realize that Beatrice is gone until her absence is pointed out to him. And then the event finally arrives. Words fail him completely as the mystery of the Trinity is revealed to him, just like the child on Christmas morning is so wrapped up in the moment they cannot find words to express their joy. Even better, it is like the anticipation felt by a bride or groom as their wedding day approaches. As the day draws near the hours drag by and the couple feel as though they might burst from the pending excitement. Then the hour arrives, the bride comes down the aisle, and there are no words the groom can utter to express the delight he experiences when her hand is placed in his. This is the best I can do. Words fail me in trying to describe the "Commedia" and what it has meant to me. I could exhaust superlatives, but to what end? Hundreds of books have been written on the "Commedia" by greater minds than mine and their works put my poor efforts to shame. Hopefully, though, I have encouraged someone out there to look into reading the "Commedia", or have encouraged someone who read it but might feel a little isolated in their appreciation of it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Felonious

    The Paradiso is the last volume of Dante's Divine Comedy (which includes The Inferno, The Purgatorio and The Paradiso). The Divine Comedy was written between 1308 and 1320. The Paradiso is Dante's ascent through heaven. Dante's vision of heaven (and God) is so poetically beautiful and well done that much of today's Christian belief is steeped in The Paradiso. In fact all the volumes of The Divine Comedy lends some basis for the Christian beliefs of the afterlife. Like the first 2 volumes Dante The Paradiso is the last volume of Dante's Divine Comedy (which includes The Inferno, The Purgatorio and The Paradiso). The Divine Comedy was written between 1308 and 1320. The Paradiso is Dante's ascent through heaven. Dante's vision of heaven (and God) is so poetically beautiful and well done that much of today's Christian belief is steeped in The Paradiso. In fact all the volumes of The Divine Comedy lends some basis for the Christian beliefs of the afterlife. Like the first 2 volumes Dante uses The Paradiso to denounce the corruption in the church. He sees Popes and other religious figures while in Hell and Purgatory (He names the people he sees). In Paradise, St. Peter calls the leaders of the church (including the sitting Pope) corrupt lairs who uses the church to get rich. St. Peter tells Dante to go back and tell all what he says. I'm amazed at the blatant heresy he got away with in his time, and the fact the church even allowed the publishing of The Divine Comedy. As Dante moves through heaven, his awareness and understanding of God's love and goodness comes into focus. The Divine Comedy is a must read for everyone. No matter your religion, even if you are an atheist or agnostic, I would be surprised if you didn't enjoy this trilogy. The poetry is beautiful and the visions Dante creates range from horrifying justice of hell, to unimaginable beauty, bliss and love of heaven.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kyra Boisseree

    I GET ETERNAL BRAGGING RIGHTS. Okay, I'm actually amazed and relieved that I managed to stick to my reading shcedule and finish this because I was three weeks behind at one point, and I do have a final paper to write. I was planning on giving this canticle 1 star because it's significantly less interesting than Inferno and Purgatorio AND Virgil isn't even there to make up for it (and I got more pissed off reading this one than the other two), but near the end....it got to that point....the same I GET ETERNAL BRAGGING RIGHTS. Okay, I'm actually amazed and relieved that I managed to stick to my reading shcedule and finish this because I was three weeks behind at one point, and I do have a final paper to write. I was planning on giving this canticle 1 star because it's significantly less interesting than Inferno and Purgatorio AND Virgil isn't even there to make up for it (and I got more pissed off reading this one than the other two), but near the end....it got to that point....the same point I reached with Great Expectations freshman year of high school....where I hated it so much....I was fond of it. Gotta love those books you love to hate. It was also a strange experience to spend an entire semester waiting to get the final lines of Paradiso, only to discover....you know them already. Because of Cassandra Clare. "The love that moves the sun and all the other stars?" Seen it. References to Dante are no longer cute or clever to me. I read another thing that involved a journey to Purgatory (for fun) and I could tell EXACTLY how much they took from Dante and I just felt like I was being trolled. I was reading for fun to get away from Dante! I don't know how I'm going to read the fourth Robert Langdon book. Me, @ every reference to Dante for the rest of my life: Oh yeah, Dante? That dumbass?

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Adams

    There is a lot of light and philosophy in Paradiso. The dialogue certainly begs a re-read, and gave me a lot to think about language. Even in translation, Dante's stylistic and linguistic choices have changed dramatically through this journey, the art in the language is beautiful. *The Mandelbaum translation is very readable. Probably better suited to a second reading as the notes are separate from the text.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sunny Houk

    I have already read the whole divine comedy but this book was on my shelf and I am not disappointed in Dante. Not one bit.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Baal Of

    Fuck this book. What a bunch of tedious, overblown bullshit. Heaven sucks.

  30. 5 out of 5

    John Pistelli

    Here is what you've heard about the Divine Comedy: the Inferno , with its poignantly vivid tortures and its cacophony of wicked voices is the most entertaining canticle, beloved of various and sundry; the Purgatorio , with its wistful focus on the lives and ambitions of poets and its chastened mundanity, is of special interest to writers and artists; and the Paradiso, with its saints in chorus, its mystical refusals of imagery, and its long disquisitions on Scholastic philosophy, can be Here is what you've heard about the Divine Comedy: the Inferno , with its poignantly vivid tortures and its cacophony of wicked voices is the most entertaining canticle, beloved of various and sundry; the  Purgatorio , with its wistful focus on the lives and ambitions of poets and its chastened mundanity, is of special interest to writers and artists; and the Paradiso, with its saints in chorus, its mystical refusals of imagery, and its long disquisitions on Scholastic philosophy, can be appreciated exclusively by the faithful, and even they might nod off. Being a contrarian by nature and a producer of "fresh content" by mission, I am supposed to tell you that everything you know is wrong. I will, eventually, but for now let's give the devil his due: Dante's Beatrice-guided tour of Paradise is depressingly devoid of drama. At one point when Dante seems to feel fear, Beatrice rebukes him and reminds him that nothing bad can happen in Heaven. What can happen in Heaven? Dante can have the secrets of the universe revealed to him. Beatrice and a host of sometimes literal luminaries (St. Thomas Aquinas, the emperor Justinian, Charles Martel, St. Peter Damian, St. Bernard, and more) explain to Dante the nature and purpose of God's creation, from the dark spots on the moon to questions of salvation. Dante doesn't even have to ask, because everyone in Paradise can read his mind. The Paradiso, therefore, very often reads like a beautiful digest of medieval thought rather than much of a narrative or drama—interesting on historical grounds, but a good deal less exciting than even Dante's earlier rivals in epic poetry, Homer or Virgil. As for Beatrice, I admire Dante's Troubadour audacity in elevating his school crush to a level of holy authority just below the Blessed Mother, but Bea must be second only to Milton's God in the annals of Christian poets' divine disappointments. Unlike the solicitous and even maternal Virgil of the previous canticles, Beatrice lords it over Dante like a stern schoolmistress or martinette. She rarely—at least in translation—speaks a word in tenderness or spontaneity; comparing herself to Jupiter when he accidentally annihilated his mistress, she notes, "'Were I to smile, then you would be / like Semele when she was turned to ashes'" (note the gender swap—Dante=Semele, Beatrice=Jupiter—more of which below). She sometimes seems like a machine programmed with the thought of Aristotle and Aquinas—as, to be fair, do the rest of the saints in Heaven. At times in reading the Paradiso, the incorrigible post-Christian reader feels a nostalgia for the agitations of hell. For the purposes of this piece, I am going to omit discussion of the Paradiso's philosophical particulars—if you would like to know why there are hierarchies among the angels or whether or not there are degrees of divine dessert among unbaptized infants, the answers are there in the poem, even if I have not managed to hold them all in my mind or understand all their logics ("'he who hears, / but does not hold what he has heard, learns nothing," chides Beatrice—o mea culpa, bella donna!). Instead I will seek elements of literary (as opposed to philosophical) and human (as opposed to divine) interest. Dante begins the poem with a petition to Apollo, lord of light and of boundaries. This is in fact a poem of light as it narrates Dante's increasing powers of sight as he approaches the divine: From this you see that blessedness depends upon the act of vision, not upon the act of love—which is a consequence… It is also, like the trilogy of which it forms the final part, a poem of boundaries: Paradise, like Hell and Purgatory, is carefully ranked according to the merit of each of its constituent elements. God does not permeate the universe equally, and where His light shines lowest, matter is freest to take its errant course, hence the presence of those who have failed in some way even in the lowest layers of the heavens. While Dante refers early in the Paradiso to "the mighty sea of being," his Apollonian imagination inclines to nothing so chaotic as the ocean. (The aforementioned Semele, by the way, was pregnant with Dionysus—Apollo's archetypal opposite—when she was incinerated by Jove.) When sea imagery recurs, Dante deploys it to make sure we as readers are kept in our place as possibly unworthy subordinates in his poetic armada: O you who are within your little bark. eager to listen, following behind my ship that, singing, crosses to deep seas, turn back to see your shores again: do not attempt to sail the seas I sail: you may, by losing sight of me, be left astray. The waves I take have never been sailed before… Despite this adventuresome rhetoric, and despite a climactic comparison of himself to Jason, Dante's poetic project is less an uncharted voyage than the charting of everything. Recall that Ulysses, reimagined as an irrepressible explorer, was damned. When Dante reaches the sphere of the Primum Mobile at the height of Heaven, he looks down at earth for the second time in his ascension. The first time, he noted that, from his height, the earth appeared "scrawny." Now he overlooks the distant Mediterranean, as if to put Ulysses the secular quester in his place at last, far below the spiritual pilgrim: I saw that, from the time when I looked down before, I had traversed all of the arc of the first clime, from its midpoint to end, so that, beyond Cadiz, I saw Ulysses’ mad course and, to the east, could almost see that shoreline where Europa was sweet burden. Why does Dante disparage the earth, which he twice calls a "threshing floor," the unglamorous site where godly wheat is separated from infernal chaff? As Beatrice explains, implying more than perhaps she means, the fault is time, the medium through which the errant will moves and matter decays: "The will has a good blossoming in men; but then the never-ending downpours turn the sound plums into rotten, empty skins. For innocence and trust are to be found only in little children; then they flee even before a full beard cloaks the cheeks." The Paradiso is a politically as well as religiously didactic poem. Dante does envision a political solution to the corruptions of earth. Beatrice continues: "'on earth no king holds sway; / therefore, the family of humans strays.'" Dante deplored the political conditions obtaining in Europe around the turn of the fourteenth century. He believed that the church had corrupted into a worldly and temporal power, even as the rightful temporal power—the secular emperors—were weak. Division is again the solution: let the church tend the spirit and the state discipline the body. Charles Martel complains to Dante: "But you twist to religion one whose birth made him more fit to gird a sword, and make a king of one more fit for sermoning…" These political issues are not abstractions to Dante. His own city has fallen into moral ruin, and he himself has been exiled from it. In Paradise he meets his ancestor Cacciaguida, who gives a lyric portrait of Florence's golden age, and, in some of this canticle's best-known lines, prophesies Dante's banishment: "You shall leave everything you love most dearly: this is the arrow that the bow of exile shoots first. You are to know the bitter taste of others’ bread, how salt it is, and know how hard a path it is for one who goes descending and ascending others’ stairs." Upon reaching the court of Heaven, where the highest saints and the angels are arrayed as the white rose of Paradise around the blinding Borgesian aleph that is God, Dante, despite his conviction that the temporal and spiritual powers must be kept apart, cannot help but see the sight as a barbarian's first glimpse of the finest political order, the Roman Empire itself: If the Barbarians, when they came from a region that is covered every day by Helice, who wheels with her loved son, were, seeing Rome and her vast works, struck dumb (when, of all mortal things, the Lateran was the most eminent), then what amazement must have filled me when I to the divine came from the human, to eternity from time, and to a people just and sane from Florence came! His final guide, the mystic St. Bernard, introduces the personae of Paradise as "great patricians / of this most just and merciful empire." Spiritual and secular authority, which Dante had taken pains to separate, here collapse back into each other so that Paradise is an ideally ordered empire. Dante seems to be at the verge of the post-Christian world, very nearly imagining, like Hegel or Marx, that God might be nothing other than the imagination's projection of good governance onto the heavens. Though Dante was thus (to use an anachronistic term) a totalitarian, he was no phallocrat. Writing in the mariolatrous Middle Age—St. Bernard, reports one of Allen Mandelbaum's endnotes, did much to revive the cult of Mary—and nearly deifying his first love, Dante places an ideal image of woman at the center of his vision and pictures Paradise as centered upon a rose, not a phallic but a vulvic image. No wonder the Apollonian male poet allows himself to be figured by his beloved as Semele, mother of Dionysus. These initially puzzling slippages of our poet's ordered intelligence, which seems to confuse sacred/secular and male/female when it had been so concerned throughout the poem to separate their spheres, are explained when Dante finally does behold God, or the Eternal Light: In its profundity I saw—ingathered and bound by love into one single volume— what, in the universe, seems separate, scattered… God is the artwork that holds the totality of experience, including every opposition (male/female, spiritual/temporal, good/evil) in perfect balance and tension. God is the total book, the highest epic—or, as an incorrigible post-Christian like myself might insist, the supreme fiction. God is the Divine Comedy. By conceiving his self, his book, and his universe as a unity, Dante accomplishes the transfiguration of epic into lyric that will become the mark of modern poetry from Wordsworth to Whitman to Walcott. But if epic is imperial, lyric is personal, the staging of a psyche in motion, as when Dante, just before mounting up to God, records his struggle to recall and record his vision: As one who sees within a dream, and, later, the passion that had been imprinted stays, but nothing of the rest returns to mind, such am I, for my vision almost fades completely, yet it still distills within my heart the sweetness that was born of it. I have never read a better analogy for the attempt to write poetry or fiction than that of trying to remember a dream whose emotional impression colors the whole day even after its events have evanesced from the mind. In the endnotes to Mandelbaum's translations, the editors comments on this passage: Dante, the poet attempting to record his vision, is like a man awakening from a dream he does not remember, filled with the emotion of a dream, but with no clear recollection of its particulars. We are reminded of Coleridge's preface to "Kubla Khan," where the poem itself is presented as the recollection of a dream. Reading this last canto, it is easy to see how the Romantic poets were attracted by Dante. The stupendous tension of the remainder of the poem derives in large part from Dante's dramatization of his present struggle to recollect (i.e., imagine) and describe (i.e., create in words) the content of his final vision. Earlier in the poem, Beatrice explains to Dante that God—whom we know from his sculptures in Purgatory to be an artist—created the universe for the same reason that any artist creates, not for company and certainly not for gain but merely to affirm that what exists exists: "Not to acquire new goodness for Himself— which cannot be—but that his splendor might, as it shines back to Him, declare ‘Subsisto,’ in His eternity outside of time, beyond all other borders, as pleased Him, Eternal Love opened into new loves." Not just a static affirmation then, but one in motion. God seeks "new loves"—should this not be foreclosed by Beatrice's logic when she claims God seeks no "new goodness"?—and so blossoms as the rose does. Again, we suspect that Dante can't do it: he cannot separate divinity from nature, nature from art, though Aristotle or Aquinas tell him he must. God is a rose is an artist. Dante's final vision is of the Trinity, specifically of its second person; he beholds a man inscribed into a circle, our effigy fused with divinity in the Incarnation. At the center of the universe and the middle of the rose, he finds the figure of the human. So in his archaic, forbidding poem, we might find ourselves, "more truly and more strange."

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.