English translations of Dante's Divine Comedy

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The Divine Comedy by Dante Aligheri was translated into French and Spanish and other European languages well before it was first translated into English. In fact the first English translation was only completed in 1802, almost 500 years after Dante wrote his Italian original. The lack of English translations before this is due in part to Dante's Catholic views being distasteful, or at least uninteresting, to Protestant English audiences, who viewed such a Catholic theology, mixed with references to classical mythos, as heretical.

Since 1802, however, the Divine Comedy has been translated into English more times than it has into any other language, and new English translations continue to be published regularly, so that today English is the language with the most translations by far. A complete listing and criticism of all English translations of at least one of the three books (cantiche; singular: cantica) up until 1966 was made by Cunningham.[1] The table below summarises Cunningham's data with (incomplete) additions between 1966 and the present. Many more translations of individual cantos from the three cantiche exist, but these are too numerous to allow the compilation of a comprehensive list.

Publication date Name Nationality Parts translated Form Notes
1782 Charles Rogers UK Inferno blank verse First translation of a full cantica into English
1785-1802 Henry Boyd UK Comedy rhymed 6-line stanzas First full translation of the Comedy in English.
1805-1814 Henry Francis Cary UK Comedy blank verse Available online. Volume 20 in the Harvard Classics series.
1807 Nathaniel Howard UK Inferno blank verse
1812 Joseph Hume UK Inferno blank verse one of the two 'worst' translations according to Cunningham
1833-1840 Ichabod Charles Wright UK Comedy rhymed 6-line stanzas
1843-1865 John Dayman UK Comedy terza rima
1843-1893 Thomas William Parsons United States Comedy (incomplete) quatrains and irregular rhyme
1849 John Aitken Carlyle UK Inferno prose
1850 Patrick Bannerman UK Comedy irregular rhyme one of the two 'worst' translations according to Cunningham
1851-1854 Charles Bagot Cayley UK Comedy terza rima
1852 E. O'Donnell UK Comedy prose
1854 Thomas Brooksbank UK Inferno terza rima
1854 Sir William Frederick Pollock UK Comedy blank terzine
1859 Bruce Whyte UK Inferno irregular rhyme
1859-1866 John Wesley Thomas UK Comedy terza rima
1862 William Patrick Wilkie UK Inferno blank terzine
1862-1863 Claudia Hamilton Ramsay UK Comedy terza rima
1865 William Michael Rossetti UK Inferno blank terzine
1865-1870 James Ford UK Comedy terza rima
1867 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow United States Comedy blank terzine First complete American translation. Available online.
1867-1868 David Johnston UK Comedy blank terzine
1877 Charles Tomlinson UK Inferno terza rima
1880-1892 Arthur John Butler UK Comedy prose
1881 Warburton Pike UK Inferno terza rima
1883 William Stratford Dugdale UK Purgatorio prose
1884 James Romanes Sibbald UK Inferno terza rima
1885 James Innes Minchin UK Comedy terza rima
1886-1887 Edward Hayes Plumptre UK Comedy terza rima
1887 Frederick Kneeller Haselfoot Haselfoot UK Comedy terza rima
1888 John Augustine Wilstach United States Comedy rhymed stanzas
1889-1900 William Warren Vernon UK Comedy prose
1891-1892 Charles Eliot Norton United States Comedy prose Translation used by Great Books of the Western World. Available online at Project Gutenberg.
1892-1915 Charles Lancelot Shadwell UK Purgatorio and Paradiso Marvellian stanzas
1893 George Musgrave UK Inferno Spenserian stanzas
1893 Sir Edward Sullivan UK Inferno prose
1895 Robert Urquhart UK Inferno terza rima
1898 Eugene Jacob Lee-Hamilton UK Inferno hendecasyllabic blank terzine
1899 Philip Henry Wicksteed UK Paradiso prose
1899 Arthur Compton Auchmuty UK Purgatorio octosyllabic terza rima
1899-1901 Samuel Home UK Purgatorio (incomplete: I-XXXI only) hendecasyllabic blank terzine
1901 John Carpenter Garnier UK Inferno prose
1901 Thomas Oakey UK Purgatorio prose
1902 Edward Clarke Lowe UK Comedy blank terzine
1903-1909 Edward Wilberforce UK Comedy terza rima
1903-1911 Sir Samuel Walker Griffith UK Comedy hendecasyllabic blank terzine
1904 Caroline C. Potter UK Purgatorio and Paradiso rhymed quatrains
1904 Henry Fanshawe Tozer UK Comedy prose
1904 Marvin Richardson Vincent United States Inferno blank verse
1905 Charles Gordon Wright UK Purgatorio prose
1908 Frances Isabella Fraser UK Paradiso blank terzine
1910 Anges Louisa Money UK Purgatorio blank terzine
1911 Charles Edwin Wheeler UK Comedy terza rima
1914 Edith Mary Shaw UK Comedy blank verse
1915 Edward Joshua Edwardes UK Inferno blank terzine
1915 Henry Johnson United States Comedy blank terzine
1918-1921 Courtney Langdon United States Comedy blank terzine
1920 Eleanor Vinton Murray United States Inferno terza rima
1921 Melville Best Anderson United States Comedy terza rima
1922 Henry John Hooper UK Inferno unrhymed amphiambics
1927 David James MacKenzie UK Comedy terza rima
1928-1931 Albert R. Bandini United States (born in Italy) Comedy terza rima
1928-1954 Sydney Fowler Wright UK Inferno and Purgatorio irregularly rhymed decasyllables
1931 Jefferson Butler Fletcher United States Comedy defective terza rima
1931 Lacy Lockert United States Inferno terza rima
1932-1935 Geoffrey Langdale Bickersteth UK Comedy terza rima
1933-1943 Laurence Binyon UK Comedy terza rima
1934-1940 Louis How United States Comedy terza rima
1938 Ralph Thomas Bodey UK Comedy blank verse
1939-1946 John Dickson Sinclair UK Comedy prose
1948 Lawrence Grant White United States Comedy blank verse
1948 Patrick Cummins United States Comedy hendecasyllabic terza rima
1948-1954 Thomas Goddard Bergin United States Comedy blank verse
1949-1953 Harry Morgan Ayres United States Comedy prose
1949-1962 Dorothy Leigh Sayers UK Comedy terza rima Penguin Classics edition. After Sayers' death in 1957, Paradiso XXI-XXXIII completed by Barbara Reynolds.
1952 Thomas Weston Ramsey UK Paradiso defective terza rima
1954 Howard Russell Huse United States Comedy prose
1954-1970 John Ciardi United States Comedy defective terza rima Inferno recorded and released by Folkways Records in 1954.
1956 Glen Levin Swiggett United States Comedy terza rima
1958 Mary Prentice Lillie United States Comedy hendecasyllabic blank terzine
1961 Warwick Fielding Chipman UK Inferno terza rima
1962 Clara Stillman Reed United States Comedy prose
1965 William F. Ennis UK Comedy dodecasyllabic terza rima
1965 Aldo Maugeri Italy Inferno blank terzine
1967-2002 Mark Musa United States Comedy blank verse An alternative Penguin Classics version.
1970-1991 Charles S. Singleton United States Comedy prose Literal prose version with extensive commentary; 6 vols.
1980-1984 Allen Mandelbaum United States Comedy blank verse
1981 C. H. Sisson UK Comedy ? Oxford World's Classics
1994 Steve Ellis UK Inferno ? Chatto & Windus [2]
1995 Robert Pinsky United States Inferno terza rima
1996 Peter Dale UK Comedy terza rima
1996-2007 Robert M. Durling United States Comedy prose Oxford University Press
2000 W. S. Merwin United States Purgatorio ?
2000-2007 Robert and Jean Hollander United States Comedy blank verse Online as part of the Princeton Dante Project.
2002 Ciaran Carson Ireland Inferno terza rima Granta Books
2002 Michael Palma ? Inferno terza rima
2002-2004 Anthony M. Esolen United States Comedy blank verse Modern Library Classics.
2006-2007 Robin Kirkpatrick ? Comedy ? A third Penguin Classics version, replacing Musa's
2009-2017 Stanley Lombardo United States Comedy blank terzine Hackett Classics
2010 Burton Raffel United States Comedy ? Northwestern World Classics
2012 J. Gordon Nichols UK Comedy ? Alma Classics
2013 Mary Jo Bang United States Inferno ? Graywolf Press[3]
2013 Clive James Australia/UK Comedy quatrains Picador
2017 Peter Thornton United States Inferno blank verse Arcade Publishing


  1. ^ Gilbert F. Cunningham, "The Divine comedy in English: a critical biography 1782-1966". 2 vols., Barnes & Noble, NY; esp. v.2 pp.5-9
  2. ^ Balmer, Josephine (13 March 1994). "BOOK REVIEW / The lost in translation: 'Hell' - Dante Alighieri". The Independent. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  3. ^ https://www.graywolfpress.org/books/inferno-0