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Extratextual sources for studying The Divine Comedy

I’m reblogging this because I’ve added a bunch of new resources in the hyperlink section. Enjoy!

Welcome to My Magick Theatre

While you can read the Commedia without any extratextual study, as I did the first time around in 2003–04, it’s not really something that’s recommended if you want more complete understanding. Unless you’re coming to the poem with a pre-existing wealth of knowledge about Catholic theology, Classical Antiquity (history, myths, literature), Medieval Italian history, the Guelph vs. Ghibelline power struggle, and Dante’s own life, chances are you’ll miss out on a lot of things.

The most obvious place to start is a translation with lots of supplemental notes and essays. Many come with introductory summaries of each canto and footnotes, but don’t always have anything beyond that. Unfortunately, many editions only provide the basics when the entire Commedia is in one volume. You have to buy separate volumes of the three canticles for more in-depth notes.

Because I read the Commedia on my own instead of for a class, I…

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Writer of historical fiction sagas and series, with elements of women's fiction, romance, and Bildungsroman. Born in the wrong generation on several fronts.

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