Setanta Records released a compilation album in 1999, A Secret HistoryThe Best Of The Divine Comedy. It included tracks from the five prior albums as well as a few unreleased songs and hit Gold in only three weeks. Hannon worked in 1999 with many well-known artists including R.E.M, Tom Jones, and Ute Lemper.
The Divine Comedys new direction emerged when they worked with Nyman, a contemporary classical composer, during 1997. The band arranged classic Nyman tracks and also arranged their own songs for Nymans string quartet to perform. A special project including Hannon, Joby Talbot, and Nyman, called Grizzly Knife Attack, was performed at the new music festival in Edinburgh, Flux.
Robin Kirkpatrick's masterful verse translation of "The Divine Comedy", tracing Dante's journey from Hell to Purgatory and finally Paradise, is published here for the first time in a single volume. The volume includes a new introduction, notes, maps and diagrams, and is the ideal edition for students as well as the general reader who is coming to the great masterpiece of Italian literature for the first time. "The Divine Comedy" describes Dante's descent into Hell with Virgil as a guide; his ascent of Mount Purgatory and encounter with his dead love, Beatrice; and finally, his arrival in Heaven. Examining questions of faith, desire and enlightenment, the poem is a brilliantly nuanced and moving allegory of human redemption. "The perfect balance of tightness and colloquialism ...likely to be the best modern version of Dante." (Bernard O'Donoghue). "The most moving lines literature has achieved." (Jorge Luis Borges). "This version is the first to bring together poetry and scholarship in the very body of the translation - a deeply - informed version of Dante that is also a pleasure to read." (Professor David Wallace, University of Pennsylvania).Individual editions of Robin Kirkpatrick's translation - Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso - are also available in "Penguin Classics", and include Dante's Italian printed alongside the English text. Dante Alighieri was born in Florence in 1265 and belonged to a noble but impoverished family. His life was divided by political duties and poetry, the most of famous of which was inspired by his meeting with Bice Portinari, whom he called Beatrice, including "La Vita Nuova" and "The Divine Comedy'. He died in Ravenna in 1321. Robin Kirkpatrick is a poet and widely - published Dante scholar. He has taught courses on Dante's "Divine Comedy" in Hong Kong, Dublin, and Cambridge where is Fellow of Robinson College and Professor of Italian and English Literatures.
Over the years, The Divine Comedy has encompassed other musicians, but the driving force of the band and its main, sometimes only member has always been Neil Hannon; Hannon was born in Londonderry, NORTHERN IRELAND, on November 7, 1970; at the age of 18, he and two Enniskillen school friends needed a new name for their band and Hannon spotted a copy of Dante's epic poem on the family bookshelf. It stuck and a year later it was the name under which the trio signed to Irish run indie Setanta Records.