The Divine Comedy by Dante, translated by Clive James 

The Divine Comedy by Dante, translated by Clive James 

There is an astonishment, a certain mad arrogance (or even madder humility) in presenting an English translation of Dante's Divine Comedy to a 21st Century audience without any accompanying notes. Purists might say 'the poem - any poem - should be able to stand on its own, to speak clearly without the crutch of notes' - but such purists are seldom translators.

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The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

 The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

For such an enduringly popular writer, Alexandre Dumas, pere, has been surprisingly ill-served by his English-language translators. This is nowhere more true than in the case of his most famous and endlessly-adapted novel, The Three Musketeers. That book’s original 19th century translators, conforming to the delicate sensibilities of audiences across the Channel and the Atlantic, excised much of the sex, gambling, and bloodshed from what was once a happily raunchy historical adventure, transforming it into a fun but politely Victorian story for boys.

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