1

Maybe this question was asked before, but given this large platform, I couldn't resist to ask

Years ago I started reading the first part of the Divine Comedy (in German), Inferno. To this day I read the book more than three times and yet I'm not sure if I understand. The book itself is very fascinating, I am intrigued by the different perspectives Dante is offering but it's very frustrating at the same time.

Do you guys have any advice for reading and understanding Dante? Or do I have to go back and read some of his earlier writings?

(I also had an different approach and got some of Homers and Platos works, but I thought that's a longer and harder way of comprehending Dante)

Side note: I never had the chance to learn or study how to approach philosophy, therefor my knowledge of philosophy in general and how to read it is very little

closed as off-topic by virmaior, jobermark, James Kingsbery, iphigenie, user2953 Dec 8 '14 at 22:10

  • This question does not appear to be about philosophy within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • What are you struggling with? I know I had a hard time understanding Aristotle's Treatise in Rhetoric because the translation I had was of the literal sort and that meant that the grammar was very strange and jarring. Or are you struggling with understanding why he says X or Y? – Captain Kenpachi Nov 28 '14 at 13:19
  • As I mentioned above, I read the book a few times but I don't think I could proceed to Purgatorio. I hoped there's maybe a site or a book guiding you through the book, providing additional information (when I'm reading Inferno I always have to make notes and look up people he mentioned or things that I don't understand). – vkvau Nov 28 '14 at 13:22
  • 4
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about how to read classic literature (not necessarily how to read it as philosophy) – virmaior Nov 29 '14 at 12:08
  • I think the standard advice applies... find a good commentary or two and read the original text and the commentary in parallel. – James Kingsbery Dec 1 '14 at 16:35
  • I'd like to thank everybody for participating, I'll get back to Dante once I finished my TCP/IP books.. However, I was shocked there isn't a tag for Dante. He has been mentioned a couple times but there are no questions regarding him. Kind of a pity considering his work. – vkvau Dec 1 '14 at 16:53
3

You need some knowledge of medieval philosophy and of medieval/Early Modern European history.

It may help to supplement the reading of the book with some comment/critical books :

0

I managed to dig up these two items which I believe will be of great value to you:

Danteworlds, an integrated multimedia journey--combining artistic images, textual commentary, and audio recordings--through the three realms of the afterlife (Inferno, Purgatory, Paradise) presented in Dante's Divine Comedy.

and

https://dantesthedivinecomedy.wordpress.com/. This site is pretty extensive. It has the original works, summaries AND study guides for each of the three works.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.