Alasdair Gray to publish Dante translation with Canongate

Alasdair Gray to publish Dante translation with Canongate

Canongate is to publish Alasdair Gray’s Dante's Sublime Comedy: A Paraphrase in Prosaic English Rhyme in winter 2018.

Publishing director Francis Bickmore acquired world rights (including audio) from Jenny Brown at Jenny Brown Associates.

Gray’s book is a free verse translation of Dante’s "Comedia" into modern English. Written in 1320, "Comedia" describes Dante’s journey through Hell, Purgatory and his eventual arrival in Heaven. Gray will be creating illustrations for each of the 100 chapters as well as for the start of each of the three books, Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso. Creative Scotland have awarded Lottery funding of £24,000 to support the creation of the artwork through the Open Project Funding Programme.

Bickmore said: "Gray is one of the modern greats. His imagination knows no bounds. And it’s exhilarating to see him breathing fresh life into one of the masterpieces of literature from 700 years ago. Alasdair’s version of Dante is direct, lively and joyful to read and will sit beautifully with Alasdair’s unique artwork. Canongate is thrilled to be working with Alasdair, and Creative Scotland, in bringing about this landmark publication."

Brown added: "This is going to be remarkable: Alasdair’s contemporary and vigorous translation – and his inimitable illustrations – will bring this classic text alive and relevant for a whole new readership."