Mandelbaum Vs Longfellow

Mandelbaum Vs. Longfellow

After carefully reading both the Longfellow and Mandelbaum versions of Canto
V,

I’ve decided that I favor the Mandelbaum version because it is clearer and
easier to

understand, which allows the reader to absorb and relate to it; and also the
fact that it isn’t

as direct and “to the point” as the Longfellow version makes it more
interesting.

In the Longfellow version, a storm is described, “The infernal hurricane”
as

opposed to the Mandelbaum version that describes it as “The hellish
hurricane”. Although

both versions on Canto V were very descriptive, the vocabulary in the
Mandelbaum

version was more at the highschool level, therefore making it clearer and
easier for the

reader to understand. Also, the Longfellow version is older, using words that
aren’t

common now. When Dante speaks about Minos, the judge of who is cast down to
hell and

why, he says in the Mandelbaum version, “ There dreadful Minos stands”
but in the

Longfellow version, it is worded as, “There standeth Minos”. By replacing
the older word

“standeth” that is not commonly used in modern times with “stands”,
one can more easily

comprehend and relate to the story. The Mandelbaum version uses simple,
modern

vocabulary, which is one reason why I chose it as my favorite.

At first, after skimming through both versions of my Canto, I had trouble
finding

many strong differences between the two. But as I went on to reading through
them more

carefully, I decided to read a small section of each version and summarize
them at the end.

By doing this, I found that my summary of the Mandelbaum version was more
accurate

and I found myself re-reading the Longfellow version until I clearly
understood what it

was about. I drew the conclusion that the Mandelbaum version was easier to
remember

because it is clearer.

Another fact about the Mandelbaum version that helped me make my decision was

that it is easy to relate with. “I reached a place where every light is
muted”. After reading

this beginning of a stanza, one gets the feeling of a dark, gloomy, quiet
area. It made me

think of a personal experience of mine when I was hiking in the woods and the
sun went

down, causing a dark and gloomy ambiance. From this, I concluded that this
version sets a

definite mood, which makes relating to the story simple. On the other hand,
the

Longfellow version failed to describe the setting. “I came into a place
muted of light” gets

the point across, but because of the lack of intense description, I couldn’t
relate it to my

personal experiences as easily as I could when reading the Mandelbaum
version.

A story wouldn’t be a story if it wasn’t interesting. I found that the
Mandelbaum

version of my Canto describes the setting so vividly that, even though it’s
not as “to the

point” as the Longfellow version, it adds thrill to the story. For example,
Canto V opens

to Dante describing his descent down from the first to second circle of hell,
and The

Mandelbaum version reads, “So I descended from the first enclosure down to
the second

great circle” as opposed to the Longfellow version that describes his
descent as, “Thus I

descended from the first circle to the second”. It is clear that the
Mandelbaum version is

more interesting because of the more illustrative description of Dante’s
descent, which is

yet another reason why I chose this version as my favorite.

The world isn’t perfect, and either is the Mandelbaum version of Canto V.

Although it is easier to read, I still managed to stumble onto some vague
passages that I

had trouble understanding. For example, Dante says in Mandelbaum, “I
reached a place

where every light is muted, which bellows like the sea beneath a tempest”.
Confused by

what is meant by “beneath a tempest” I went on to read the Longfellow
version. “I came

to a place muted of light, which bellows as the sea does in a tempest”.
Then it became

clear that Dante was describing how the sea bellows in a storm. By this, I
discovered that

the vague parts of the Mandelbaum version are accented by the Longfellow
version.

In conclusion, I favor the Mandelbaum version because it uses easier and more

modern vocabulary, its clarity makes it easier to remember, one can better
relate to it, and

it is more interesting because of its illustrative descriptions. Although,
nothing is perfect

which is why I added the fact that certain vague parts in the Mandelbaum
version of my

Canto are made clear after reading the Longfellow version. All in all,
despite some quirks I

have about the Mandelbaum version, it is by far my favorite.

Category: English