1802 The Divina Commedia of Dante Alighieri, Boyd tr., 1st Ed.

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FULL TITLE: THE DIVINA COMMEDIA of Dante Alighieri: Consisting of the Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. Translated into English verse, with preliminary essays, notes, and illustrations, by the Rev. Henry Boyd, A.M., Chaplain to the Right Honourable the Lord Viscount Charleville.

1st English Edition, 3 Volumes Complete, Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso

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Written by Dante Alighieri 
Translated into English by Henry Boyd 
Printed by A. Strahan, New-Street Square; for T. Cadell Jun. and W. Davies, in the Strand (London), 1802.


Dante, Alighieri. The Divina Commedia. London: T. Cadell Jun. and W. Davies, 1802. First edition, 3 volumes, 8 vo., vi, [2], 408; [4], 384; [4], 420 pp.

This is the 1st edition of the first English translation of Dante’s The Divine Comedy by Henry Boyd. Printed and published by A. Strahan, New-Street Square; for T. Cadell Jun. and W. Davies, in the Strand (London), 1802. Complete in 3 volumes with engraved frontispiece of Dante. This set is attractively bound in contemporary mottled calf-leather boards. The spine of each volume is divided into compartments by double gilt decorative rolls and black leather title and volume labels, along with tooled gilt ornaments, gilded board edges, and plain end-papers.  

Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy (La Divina Commedia or La Commedia), “is usually held to be one of the world’s great works of literature.” Completed in 1320, the work is “(d)ivided into three major sections—Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso,” and “traces the journey of Dante from darkness and error to the revelation of the divine light, culminating in the Beatific Vision of God.”

Henry Boyd’s complete translation was issued in 1802, almost five centuries after the 14th-century Italian original. Boyd provided the very first full translation of La Commedia into English, translating Dante’s work into rhymed 6-line stanzas. Prior to 1802, there was little attention in the English-speaking Protestant world to Alighieri’s work given its deeply Catholic nature. Today, however, “the Divine Comedy has been translated into English more times than it has into any other language, and new English translations continue to be published regularly.” This beautifully preserved first-edition three-volume set is a rare addition to any collection. 

CONDITION: Very good condition; minor damages of leather boards, scuffing of edges and bumped corners; all 6 boards remain securely bound and attached, with tenderness, cracking of board joints, and slight separations appearing only at the bottom corners of the front board of Inferno and the back-board of Purgatorio; mottled calf-leather, with minor scratches and gouging, as well as chipping at the top and bottom of the spine ends; internally the books are all excellent, clean and unmarked, without any damages or foxing, and all of the pages securely bound and intact; undoubtedly an attractive and well-preserved copy of the 1st English edition of all three volumes of Dante's timeless epic-poem.

Collation: Complete. 3 volumes, 8 vo, volume 1: vi, (1), 2-408, engraved frontispiece portrait; volume 2: (1-3), 4-384; volume 3: (2), (1-2), 3-420, index, errata et addenda.