The course is in English and the reading is in English translation.
I am unsure how (if at all) I want to proceed with this course. On the one hand, it seems like a great opportunity to read and understand this very famous and important work. On the other hand, I would prefer to read it in Italian one day (though I am probably not ready for it yet), and I see that the Italian version of La Divina Commedia is available in the lingQ library.
Maybe I could try to read the Italian version with lingQ’s help while doing the course. Or I could do the course with the English reading and then try to read the Italian version later, when I would be more advanced in Italian and would have already studied the poem in English.
Thanks for the link, I’ll be participating too! Like Elric says, go ahead and read it in both languages. If you already have one Romance language down, understanding Dante’s Italian isn’t too difficult. Getting the historical/theological/philosophical references is much more challenging…
Thanks for the encouragement guys. Here is a link to an Italian/English version of the Divine Comedy that could be a good way to read it, though unfortunately it doesn’t contain the Hollander translation to be used in the course: http://dante.ilt.columbia.edu/comedy/
I see now that there are 100 canti that make up the poem and that the lingQ version only contains 25 canti, so it seems quite incomplete.
Thanks again. I’m also slightly ‘worried’ about using lingQ for Dante. I don’t want to flood my lingQs and known words with words that might not be used in practical speech today, as this might end up being confusing rather than helpful.
Don’t worry about that. I doubt you’d make any confusion of the sort. A good solution would be to tag your Dante vocabulary, though, just as you’re making the lingqs. You can delete them later if you want.
I see that you are anxious to read the Divine Comedy. What I think is that you should leave the Divine Comedy as a reward for achieving high proficiency in Italian. The Divine Comedy is not modern Italian, so it is of no use to those who want to read, write, and speak moden Italian. It is certainly of interest to those who want to read, write, and perhaps speak medieval Italian. I can also understand that people are interested in the content of the Divine Comedy, but then you can also just read the translation. This is just my 2 cents. Do what you think is best. If you think it is best for you to leave it as a treat, then do it. If you really want to read it now, then do it. Make one decision and stick to it. Others cannot make it for you, but can only advise you. Best wishes!
Art is not only about content, but also about form. If you’re interested in the “content”, it should be enough to read a plot summary. The main reason I decided to learn languages like French, Russian, Spanish and Italian is because they have a very rich literary tradition that I’d like to gain direct access to without the need of a translation, no matter how brilliant said translation can be.
And what’s the use of literature in any language after all? “All art is quite useless”, as Wilde said.
Interest in content does not necessarily exclude interest in form. What works for you is what you should stick to. Some learn languages just to communicate, others learn it for art. It is purely subjective, and the rule here is just to let people decide for themselves. We can discuss the options with them, but the decision is ultimately up to them. The best we can hope for is that others take our advices into consideration.
Thanks Giovanni. I am not anxious to read The Divine Comedy exactly, but this course starts in a month so I would like to take advantage of it. I’m still unsure what the best approach is.
I also like the idea of ‘reward’ like you said. One of my original goals/rewards for this year was to read ‘Il Nome Della Rosa’ in Italian, which is hopefully not much harder than the Marcello Simoni books that I am reading now.
Meanwhile I hope you can improve on the six words of English that you know
Ok, point taken. It’s his choice to make. I don’t want to argue or nitpick, I was just pointing out that when you wrote “It is certainly of interest to those who want to read, write, and perhaps speak medieval Italian”, it jumped out at me that a work of literature (and one of the greatest ones at that) has many more uses than that (and those reasons you mentioned are probably way down the list in the mind of anyone who reads Dante).
I think that if he’s eager to read it, he should go ahead and read it in the original too, even if he doesn’t use lingq. I have read it in the original and in a couple of (good) translations to English and Portuguese, and I can say that they’re not really comparable.
Jungleboy, it’s great that you are challenging yourself with Dante. You might implement this with Roberto Benigni’s material on Dante - YouTube
What stands out with most Italian literature, is that it is a struggle to read for Italian natives and without guidance. Benigni tried to bring back that love and passion that gets lost when literature is only understandable by few. Your course will certainly bear these things in mind. I look forward to hearing how it goes. Thanks for sharing !
“What is in your opinion the extra value of the original?”
You’re Italian (or so I gather from the flag on your profile), so you tell me what you think is the extra value of the original. Have you read any of the translations? Let’s say the original is an oil painting whereas a translation is a watercolor copy (not dissing watercolor, btw, just using the two different mediums - or media - as illustration). They may depict the same scene, but it’s just not the same. In the original, the language itself is intrinsically a part of the work of art. La Divina Commedia, IMO, simply does not exist if not in Italian, just like (let’s be extreme here) Finnegans Wake does not exist outside of English, except as a pale reproduction or recreation. And please believe me, I’m not taking translators and their work down, I’ve done lots of freelance translation in the past, and I obviously truly respect their/our work.
“What are according to you the greatest works of literature?”
I am bumping this thread because the course begins next week (Wednesday, 15 October, 2014). The reading platform at MyDante opened for pre-course reading yesterday (https://mydante-public.georgetown.edu). The poem is presented in English and Italian side-by-side with an audio recording of each canto in Italian.