Olga Sedakova
Translating Dante


Olga Sedakova's new book is the fruit of her many years of work on creating a non-poetic, as close as possible to the literal, commented translation of Dante Alighieri's "Divine Comedy". The book opens with general reflections on the principles of the new translation and commentary: reflecting on the achievements of Russian and Western Dante studies and the state of Russian literature, Olga Sedakova answers the question of what it means to "translate Dante" now. In this perspective, the translations and commentaries for the three songs of "Purgatory" and "Paradise" are prepared. In accordance with the tradition of the Lectura Dantis, each song is preceded by an introduction that prepares the reader to meet the text and helps to follow the course of Dante's thought. Restoring the theological, philosophical and ethical basis of the Divine Comedy, Olga Sedakova proves herself a brilliant philologist and theologian. At the same time, reading its translation and commentary, it is impossible not to feel that they are made by a poet who leads a conversation about Dante with the involvement of a broad poetic tradition, who is able to hear in the lines of the great Italian what only a poet is able to hear, and let it resound in modern poetic speech.