Divine Comedy in English: a critical bibliography of Dante['s] translation, 1782-1954
Cunningham, G. F.
It seemed equally important to find out something about the translators: their background, the nature of their interest in Dante, their motives in tackling the task of translation, their equipment, their other literary achievements and so on. While this was fairly easy with some of them, a great many proved very difficult to identify; but one or two strokes of luck during the first phase of the investigation gave encouragement, and all except a few have emerged as personalities.The object of the following pages is to present the fullest possible array of facts regarding the English translators of the Divine Comedy or substantial portions thereof; to give specimens of each translation together with a critical appraisal; to draw at least some preliminary conclusions from the results with regard to the principles on which the translation of poetry has been and should be based, as well as to its historical development, its relation to contemporary thought, and its value as a department of literature; and lastly to give a brief glance at the corresponding achievements in other languages, with perhaps a side -glance at the parallel stream of Faust translations. In the main only translations extending to at least one completed cantica have been dealt with, so that the record begins in the year 1782 with the appearance of Rogers' Inferno; incidentally until that year not even a single complete canto of the Divine Comedy had been printed in English.