English translations of Dante's Divine Comedy
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. 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.
- Gilbert F. Cunningham, "The Divine comedy in English: a critical biography 1782-1966". 2 vols., Barnes & Noble, NY; esp. v.2 pp.5-9
- Balmer, Josephine (13 March 1994). "BOOK REVIEW / The lost in translation: 'Hell' - Dante Alighieri". The Independent. Retrieved 20 April 2017.