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Extended Audio Sample The Divine Comedy, by Dante Alighieri Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (41,105 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Dante Alighieri Narrator: Ralph Cosham Publisher: Craig Black Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2007 ISBN: 9781455188123
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Blackstone Audio presents a new recording of this classic masterpiece, originally published in 1320, read by award-winning narrator Ralph Cosham.

No words can describe the greatness of this work, a greatness both of theme and of artistry. Dante’s theme is universal; it involves the greatest concepts that man has ever attained. Only a genius could have found the loftiness of tone and the splendor and variety of images that are presented in The Divine Comedy.

The story is an allegory representing the soul’s journey from spiritual depths to spiritual heights. As mankind exposes itself, by its merits or demerits, to the rewards or the punishments of justice, it experiences “Inferno” or hell, “Purgatorio” or purgatory, and “Paradiso” or heaven, a vision of a world of beauty, light, and song. Dante’s arduous journey through the circles of hell make for an incredibly moving human drama, and a single listen will reveal the power of Dante’s imagination to make the spiritual visible.

In this edition, Inferno is translated by John Aitken Carlyle, Purgatorio, by Thomas Okey, and Paradiso by Philip H. Wicksteed.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • The Divine Comedy expresses everything in the way of emotion, between depravity’s despair and the beatific vision, that man is capable of experiencing.”

    T. S. Eliot

  • “The poetry of Dante may be considered as the bridge thrown over the stream of time, which unites the modern and ancient world.”

    Percy Bysshe Shelley

  • “Dante’s greatest work…It is, in essence, a compassionate, oral evaluation of human nature and a mystic vision of the Absolute toward which mankind strives.”

    Masterpieces of World Literature

  • “One of the world’s greatest works of literature.”

    Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature

  • “It moves one to virtual awe.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “A modern reader, uninformed, could peruse the whole Commedia, satisfied with the mere literal story and entranced by its unparalleled beauty of language and imagery, but he would miss the inspiration of that higher message which so clearly merits the name of divine.”

    C. H. Grandgent

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brad | 2/17/2014

    " While I loved the imagery and twisted imagination of Mr. Ali, what was really great was flipping back and forth between the text and notes whenever he made allusions to his political enemies in the story and going "Oh Snap. D.A. just served you!" "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tom | 2/16/2014

    " Dante Aligheri's Divine Comedy is rightfully cited as a poetic masterpiece and the perfect snapshot of the beliefs of what was probably your typical Italian Catholic in the early 14th century (and includes a reference to a round Earth for all who thought Columbus figured that out). As such, all I will add is the audio CD I listened to had a very fine narrator that read the work well. As he's British and I am an American who can easily believe anything read in a British accent is automatically more classy, that helped enormously. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Billy Iliopoulos | 2/8/2014

    " got worse as it went along, but the inferno was fantastic "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rick | 2/5/2014

    " Always wanted to read, and glad I did, but I read all three parts, and burned out by the end. Dante is a great, clever, creative writer and you certainly get an opportunity to dip into the classics with him: Virgil, Ovid, the Greeks, mythology, and of course, a very deep, deep, dive into the Bible and the Catholic church. Purgatorio was my personal favorite. It taps the heart strings the most, at least for me. Inferno is intriguing, but at times it felt like being attracted to the Bearded Lady at a Carny with all the ingenious, cartoonish, creations of life in Hell. Paradiso I believe is the most straight and pure theological part in a work about humans drawing close to God, but I was tired of reading epic narrative poetry by the time I got to Paradiso and didn't really spend the effort on it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lauren | 2/2/2014

    " I read this one my junior year of high school and absolutely adored it! I thought the writing style and verse were really interesting and I loved all of the characters. My favorite part was the Inferno. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kris Phillips | 1/31/2014

    " This is one of the most descriptive, interesting stories I've ever read. It was this book that really opened my eyes up to what Hell truly would be like (I already had ideas about Heaven and Purgatory), and re-established me on the right path in life. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Delicious Strawberry | 1/29/2014

    " I was interested in buying 'The Inferno', not knowing that it was part of a trilogy. I looked around here on Amazon.com and learned that it was part of a series and it was available in one book. I looked around at the various versions of the Divine Comedy, and this book was highly-rated and came with helpful reviews, so this was the one I selected. I was not at all disappointed. I don't know Italian, but the translation feels appropriate, and the notes are helpful. A definite must for any literary collection. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bill | 1/16/2014

    " Incredible illustrations, and mind bogging work of philosophy. It also made me feel like I was going to Hell. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mike | 1/16/2014

    " I was surprised that a "timeless classic" would be 1) so packed with dated politics, and 2) largely a passing of judgement by the author on countless specific individuals from the era. I appreciated the explanations on all the mythology references and I'm glad I finally read it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jade | 1/10/2014

    " I have never finished reading this but, every time I pick it up it's so much fun. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer Barr | 1/10/2014

    " I found this to be an interesting concept. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Thomas | 1/10/2014

    " A good translation is key in order to enjoy The Divine Comedy. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sandra Howard | 1/9/2014

    " I just loved it. Enough said. :)) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Darcie | 1/1/2014

    " I loved this book. It was perfect for reading a little each night and even though I didn't know the people to whom he was referring at times, his creativity in expressing the apt punishments for the different sins and likewise his description of paradise was compelling and beautiful. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Patrick | 12/30/2013

    " By turns amazing (Hell) and tedious (Heaven - go figure), the writing is generally great fun. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sebastion Rose | 12/27/2013

    " Ye Olde English + Unique style of poetry = f@^%ing hard to read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jay Vincent | 12/13/2013

    " The layers of hell are hella interesting! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Konstanze | 11/18/2013

    " [I did not read this edition, but an old one from 1955.:] "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jared Detter | 11/15/2013

    " Can be pretty tedious at times. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lukasz Glinka | 11/13/2013

    " Absolute Classics. Studies of human nature. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mark | 11/8/2013

    " There is so much going on in The Divine Comedy that one reading is not enough to try to comprehend this book. Someone could, and I am sure many have, spend a lifetime reading and studying this. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Krissy | 11/7/2013

    " Inferno is easily my favorite of the three. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tommy Darby | 10/29/2013

    " This was a difficult book to read. It was in the style of poetry with Cantos and verse and divided into three sections. The first being inferno, the second being purgatory, and finally paradise. Was glad to reach the end and mark another classic off my bucket list, but do not believe I would ever find the time to read it again. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Joanne | 10/17/2013

    " Sorry, didn't love it. Read it in university - probably didn't get it at the time and haven't had cause to go back since. I should replace this on my "to read" list. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shawn Ryan Rosa | 9/28/2013

    " Absolutely brilliant! Not written by Dante himself, but rather by the hand of God. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joe | 9/25/2013

    " college read. but excellent medeival cosmology. gotta love premodern thinking "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vermicious | 9/21/2013

    " What does it say about me that I think Inferno is the best of the trio? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Haikaa Yamamoto | 9/3/2013

    " Dante's description of hell gave me not only the impression that I was there but also that Dante himself had been there. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Vildan Arıcan | 8/31/2013

    " It is gorgeous but I seek background about astrolojia..And one more thing I have seen the ghost of Dante some nights...maybe because I thought he was inspired by islam, yet he did not respect my prophet.. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Glenn Victor | 8/28/2013

    " This was a tough style of book to read. I found myself re-reading passages multiple times. It would be easier with a cliff note version to help explain things. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marc | 8/11/2013

    " Overall I thought The Divine Comedy an interesting read. Inferno was my favourite part of the three. Purgatory was not as good but the weakest of all was Paradise. In other words, it lost some momentum as the allegory went on. Still, I ploughed it through to the end. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Nickg Gleason | 8/11/2013

    " Bad theology, presented in the most monotonously boring story possible. I've been listening to the audio book for several months on my ipod, which was recently stolen. The only favor the thief did for me was giving me a great excuse for not finishing this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Courtney Green | 7/27/2013

    " Very hard read but I was instantly obsessed "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shannon | 7/26/2013

    " Inferno is great, Purgatorio is passable, but Paradiso is booooring. But still Dante is one of my favorites for the sheer magnificence of his writing. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Katelyn | 4/12/2013

    " Ech. Reading for class that I hate and I have little time to actually study the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Victoria | 3/4/2013

    " Wish I could read the original Italian. Someday ... "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Anne | 12/2/2012

    " Wow, that was not my kind. I read it, I understood the words, I like poems and poetry in general - but the story was neither captivating nor was I anyhow able to find a contact to it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gabor Molnar | 10/20/2012

    " if you are lucky enough reading of in Italian, you immedietly realize it is one of the worlds best written book ever. and I have a lot of books I like but non of them is as intense as this book. enjoy. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joshua | 9/24/2012

    " One of my favorites of all time! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alan | 9/1/2012

    " have to say haven't read it straight through, but I love to dip into this, and one day I will read it from cover to cover. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Somerset Tullius | 6/15/2012

    " One of the most inspiring poems ever written. I always go back to this classic when I'm looking for inspiration. Everytime I pick up this book I find something new; something I had never noticed before. Brava! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mike | 5/22/2012

    " I was surprised that a "timeless classic" would be 1) so packed with dated politics, and 2) largely a passing of judgement by the author on countless specific individuals from the era. I appreciated the explanations on all the mythology references and I'm glad I finally read it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Karen | 5/8/2012

    " Read this in my most boring college class ever. (I hate required reading and tests.) I like the idea though "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Syanara Ruffin | 3/28/2012

    " Freaky, and needed alot of cliff notes but interesting "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Steve Swanson | 3/23/2012

    " A must for anyone who considers themselves "educated" "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tim Adank | 3/4/2012

    " a book (or should I say "1000-page poem" you really have to sink your teeth into. I can be quite mesmerizing from time to time, yet tends to get somewhat tedious in between. The language is not very accessible or inviting for quick readers. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Niccola | 11/20/2011

    " I have readi it three times - it is probably one of the books I would bring with me on a desert island "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Martín Palombo | 10/20/2011

    " Great book, but you need a lot of historical background to fully understand it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 8/18/2011

    " If it were published today, it would need serious improvements in the narrative form to keep up with the style of modern fantasy literature. Nevertheless, it has stood the test of time and deservedly retains the title of a classic. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Morgan Bastille | 7/22/2011

    " who gives The Divine Comedy 4 out 5 stars. Yes, the same amount of stars as the Eddie Fisher book. Maybe sadly for me I found the Fisher book more interesting. I'd give it a three based on personal entertainment value. Instead an extra star out of appreciation for the quality. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Adam | 7/11/2011

    " The as yet untouchable and august tome containing the complete tour of Heaven, Hell and Purgatory which will scare any heretic or atheist straight. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lindig | 7/11/2011

    " The best translation of Dante, ignoring all "modern" attempts like John Ciardi's. She really seemed to grasp the rhythm and structure of the medieval Italian. Wonderful. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Niccola | 6/15/2011

    " I have readi it three times - it is probably one of the books I would bring with me on a desert island "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Justin | 6/9/2011

    " freshman year of college... in my mind i know everthing... this book was pretty good... looking back the book is still good... and i realize i was an idiot... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ness | 5/14/2011

    " always nice to re-read Alighieri. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alek Novak | 2/25/2011

    " Phew. This one took effort given that it was the original text with translations. I still think ill need to read it 4 more times to really understand it completely though. Its not a page flipper. Most pages make you rethink a lot of things about life in general. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brad | 10/31/2010

    " While I loved the imagery and twisted imagination of Mr. Ali, what was really great was flipping back and forth between the text and notes whenever he made allusions to his political enemies in the story and going "Oh Snap. D.A. just served you!" "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jigme Datse | 6/28/2010

    " There were some bits that were not totally 100% awesome but they were pretty much awesome. So we'll go with that. I finished it in a last effort a few months after leaving it sit. I guess I just wasn't into reading. It made me want to read other Classics. To see what the allusions were alluding to. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Abdz41 | 2/9/2010

    " A dramatic piece of literature. Even for us non-believers. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Norm | 1/12/2010

    " I wanted to read this book becasue of all the movie refences. It was a very good book. It also sheads light on what the author thought was inexcuseable during his lifetime. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amugawump | 12/23/2009

    " Very well written, but not particularly an "easy read". I ejoyed the Inferno very much, but lost interest in the middle of Purgatory...so honestly did not really finish. I may try again another time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mike | 8/24/2009

    " I was surprised that a "timeless classic" would be 1) so packed with dated politics, and 2) largely a passing of judgement by the author on countless specific individuals from the era. I appreciated the explanations on all the mythology references and I'm glad I finally read it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laramee Boyd | 9/6/2008

    " One of my favorite books "

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