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The Inferno by Dante Alighieri
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The Inferno

by Dante Alighieri

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Divine Comedy (1)

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15,900145111 (4.08)1 / 420
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English (140)  Italian (1)  Swedish (1)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  French (1)  All (145)
Showing 1-5 of 140 (next | show all)
Peter Thornton's verse translation of the first book of the Divine Commedy, The Inferno, is certainly readable. To the extent that that was an (the?) intention it succeeds.

I think for a general reader who just wants to know why The Inferno has remained influential this will serve them well. There are plenty of contextualizing notes, a must for just about any translation, which will make understanding why certain people are where they are comprehensible to a contemporary reader.

For study purposes I have my doubts but I have my own favorite translations so am doing more of a comparison than simply an isolated assessment. First, my preferred verse translation is still Ciardi's version (plus, if for study purposes, he translated all of the Comedy not just one book so you don't have to change translations when you leave the Inferno). Part of my favoritism here is likely because it was the third version I had read and the first with a professor who made it come alive for me, so I do want to acknowledge that. Part of it for me is how the translators try to solve the issue of form. Some compromise is necessary to make an English translation and I am not sure there is a right vs a wrong way, they will all fall well short of Dante in Italian. I just think that wrestling with a form closer to Dante's helps students to slow down and do a better close reading while making it too easy to read turns Dante's work into simply a story that can be read quickly and easily. Again, this is personal opinion and preference. The necessary notes will keep the work from being read like a contemporary novel and could, with the right effort from an instructor, keep the reading close. I just have a hard time imagining The Inferno as an easy read and hope not to see this type of translation of Purgatorio or Paradiso since those should be more difficult to grasp in keeping with Dante's apparent intentions.

I would certainly recommend this to general readers who just want to read it and maybe for high school classes that want to get through it with just a few areas of closer reading. I would also recommend instructors look at it and decide if this translation would serve their purposes for what they hope to achieve in their courses. It is a good translation even though I would personally choose not to use it.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via Edelweiss. ( )
1 vote pomo58 | May 8, 2017 |

Dante’s Inferno was the first book I was assigned to read in my high school World Literature class. Back then I couldn’t get over how much the emotion of fear set the tone as I read each page. I recently revisited this classic. Rather than a more conventional review – after all, there really is nothing I can add as a way of critical commentary –- as a tribute to the great poet, I would like to share the below microfiction I wrote a number of years ago:

Joyride

One balmy July evening at a seaside amusement park, Hector and his date strolled past the merry-go-round, toddlers’ swings and tooting fire engine out to the more hair-raising rides. At the very end of the pier, beyond the Wild Mouse and giant Ferris wheel, there was a new roller coaster that looked pretty frightening. Not only did the tracks have steep climbs and amazing plunges but there was an opening in the boardwalk where the roller coaster took its passengers under the pier.
"Look,” Hector said, pointing to the hole in the boardwalk, “I’ve never seen a roller coaster whose tracks go beneath the surface.”

“Oh!” his date squealed, eager for as much of a thrill as the amusements had to offer, “that must really be scary. Let’s go.”

They took their place in line behind the last thrill-seeker and watched as the roller coaster ascended, hurled down and sped around hairpin turns, finally climbing the highest hump of track and descending to where the track ran beneath the pier. Hector looked over at the spot in the boardwalk from which the train would eventually reemerge. He waited and waited. This was taking much more time than he though.

Hector’s girlfriend squeezed his hand. “Wow! I bet they’re really getting spooked down there.”

Hector heard shrieks coming from some place underneath their feet – shrieks not of delight or pleasure but shrieks to make your blood run cold.

“Oh, I can’t wait!” his date said, tugging at his shirtsleeve.

Hector crouched down to hear the shrieks and howls more clearly. Waves of heat rising from the spaces between the wooden boards of the boardwalk burned his face. After several uneasy moments he stood back up and watched as the roller coaster finally rolled through the cavernous opening in the boardwalk and stopped near the line.

All of the passengers’ faces were ashen and a middle-aged woman in the front seat was weeping on her husband’s shoulder.

“This must really be something,” Hector’s date said.

One terrified passenger unbuckled herself and climbed out. She walked past, eyes downcast, and Hector could both see and smell her hair was singed.

And if this wasn’t enough, the cheerless bearded man running the ride collected everyone’s tickets and pronounced lots would be drawn to determine who would have to ride in the first car. Hector’s date called out that if nobody else wanted, she would gladly volunteer for the front seat.

When the old man nodded, she pulled Hector by the hand to the front of the roller coaster and strapped him in next to her. Hector noticed for the first time the name of this ride – spelled out in red iridescent letters over their heads was “DANTE’S INFERNO.”

Hector slunk down in his seat next to his girlfriend, who was now giggling and playfully poking him in the ribs. As the roller coaster began moving, Hector tried to console himself with the grim fact that everyone on the preceding ride did at least come back alive.
( )
  GlennRussell | Feb 16, 2017 |
The richness and depth of Dante's imagination is suggested by the incredible staying power of Inferno. This is a wonderful prose translation with extensive, helpful notes after each Canto. ( )
  jalbacutler | Jan 10, 2017 |
Stick with the original, this is "clever" yet not "readable." ( )
  librarylord99 | Nov 14, 2016 |
Exquisite edition. ( )
  Tracy_Tomkowiak | Sep 14, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 140 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (93 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alighieri, Danteprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sayers, Dorothy L.Translatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bego, HarrieRegistersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blake, WilliamIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Boeken, H.J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bosco, UmbertoEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Botticelli, SandroIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bremer, FredericaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brouwer, RobTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carson, CiaranTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Caruso, SantiagoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cary, Henry FrancisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chiavacci Leonardi, A. M.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ciardi, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Doré, GustaveIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eikeboom, Rogiersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ellis, SteveTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Esolen, AnthonyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Freccero, JohnForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Halpern, DanielEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hollander, JeanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hollander, RobertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Janssen, JacquesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kirkpatrick, RobinEditor & Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kuenen, WilhelminaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Longfellow, Henry WadsworthTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
MacAllister, Archibald T.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mandelbaum, AllenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mazur, MichaelIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moser, BarryIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Musa, MarkTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Norton, Charles EliotTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Phillips, Tomsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pinsky, RobertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pipping, AlineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reggio, GiovanniEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rooy, Ronald deIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rutgers, JacoBeeldredactiesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scott-Giles, C. W.Mapssecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sibbald, James RomanesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sinclair, John D.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Singleton, Charles S.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tiggelen, Chrisjan vanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tiller, TerenceEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Williams, HeathcoteNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
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First words
When I had journeyed half of our life's way, I found myself within a shadowed forest, for I had lost the path that does not stray. (Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita mi ritrovai per una selva oscura, che la diritta via era smarrita.)
Midway in his allotted threescore years and ten, Dante comes to himself with a start and realizes that he has strayed from the True Way into the Dark Wood of Error (Worldliness).
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Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451527984, Mass Market Paperback)

Considered to be one of the greatest literary works of all time- equal only to those of Shakespeare-Dante's immortal drama of a journey through Hell is the first volume of his Divine Comedy. The remaining canticles, The Purgatorio and The Paradiso, will be published this summer in quick succession.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:27 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

In the first part of Dante's epic poem about the three realms of the Christian afterlife, a spiritual pilgrim is led by Virgil through the nine circles of Hell.

» see all 22 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

5 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140440062, 0142437220, 0140448950, 0451531396, 0141195150

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Editions: 0253209307, 0253332141

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