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The Inferno by Dante Alighieri

The Inferno

by Dante Alighieri

Other authors: Robin Kirkpatrick (Editor & Translator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Divine Comedy (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
14,485134138 (4.1)1 / 383

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English (130)  Italian (1)  Swedish (1)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (134)
Showing 1-5 of 130 (next | show all)
Gets 5 star for the translation as much as the masterpiece itself - Pinsky really puts the fun back in the Inferno! ; ) ( )
  buffalopoet | Nov 18, 2015 |
Read Interno, Purgatorio, Paradiso - all Ciardi ( )
  beckydj | Oct 19, 2015 |
"Inferno is a rather interesting poem, even more when you take into consideration the various motives Dante had for writing it. One of the foremost reasons was partially revenge on propaganda against his political enemies. Dante's native city of Florence, Italy, was in political turmoil at the time of writing Inferno. Two warring clans, the Guelphs and the Ghibillines, alternatively ruled Florence. As a Guelph, Dante's clan suffered a defeat around 1301 which caused him to be banished from the city. As backlash, he published this poem in which he placed several of the dead Ghibillines in various circles of hell. The poem is actually set before Dante's banishment, so some of the spirits he speaks to foretell this event.

Also, Dante was a very religious man, so the theme of this book revolves around religion. The tactic Dante uses is a sort of ""scared straight"" idea. By describing the horrors of those who sinned, the reader is frightened into not doing those things. Even those who are neutral in religion are punished in Dante's Inferno; They are chased around endlessly by swarms of wasps, forced to follow a bright banner held by the fastest of them. The wasps represent the evil ideals tempting them and the banner is heaven's glory:
As soon as they enter, Dante hears innumerable cries of torment and suffering. Virgil explains that these cries emanate from the souls of those who did not commit to either good or evil but who lived their lives without making conscious moral choices; therefore, both Heaven and Hell have denied them entry. These souls now reside in the Ante-Inferno, within Hell yet not truly part of it, where they must chase constantly after a blank banner. Flies and wasps continually bite them, and writhing worms consume the blood and tears that flow from them.

The poem is both a description and a narration. The events go in chronological order; Regardless, Dante was a master poet, so he goes all-out in terms of detail and descriptiveness. He even tells at what time of day he reached each circle of hell. The sinners are what he reserves his most intense and, at times, coarse language for. It seems that he holds sinners in such low regard that he feels comfortable swearing about them.

Overall, I found this book intriguing, to say the least. I wasn't particularly enthralled with it, but I cannot begin to describe Dante's mastery with words. He is very blunt and graphic, but that is what the poem is supposed to be like. He wanted people to be horrified at his work so they would then be scared of sin. I suppose in this way it would have been easier for someone to relate to the story in its time. The translation was excellent, and the footnotes and index assisted my comprehension.

Interesting quotes that I didn't include in the review:
In the middle of the journey of our life I found myself within a dark woods where the straight way was lost.
There is no greater sorrow then to recall our times of joy in wretchedness.

The Last Passage
With course that winds about and slightly falls.
The Guide and I into that hidden road
Now entered, to return to the bright world;
And without care of having any rest
We mounted up, he first and I the second,
Till I beheld through a round aperture
Some of the beauteous things that Heaven doth bear;
Thence we came forth to rebehold the stars.
" ( )
  AdemilsonM | Sep 2, 2015 |
I had read all of the Divine Comedy just a few weeks ago and decided to try another translation, this time starting with just the Inferno.
This version includes many notes and explanations which were very helpful. Somehow, this translation seemed much more accessible to me. It is such an awe-inspiring piece of work. ( )
  rosiezbanks | May 30, 2015 |
Mary Jo Bang offers a wholly fresh interpretation of Inferno in English. I enjoyed her poetry exceedingly and how it reverberated against the poem as I've known it up to now. It's one of many translations I've read carefully and they are all so different, and there are many, many interpretations worth reading--for example the Marcus Sanders/Sandow Birk translation is like this one in its willingness to contemporize the characters in hell, but has a very different, almost graphic-novel breeziness to it; Mandelbaum's has this stolid ploddingness that reminds you that you're working hard; Ciardi's reminds you of how different English is from Italian and that he should have been more mindful of that when trying so absolutely to mirror Dante's rhyme scheme. Although Bang's is more poetic and startling, my favorite translation so far is Elio Zappula's 1999 Inferno--it is lovely, lucid, and close to the bone, and I would pick it in a minute as the best first experience of Inferno, for any English speaker who can't read the original. ( )
1 vote poingu | Jan 29, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 130 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (93 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alighieri, Danteprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sayers, Dorothy L.Translatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kirkpatrick, RobinEditor & Translatorsecondary authorall 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
Cary, Henry FrancisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chiavacci Leonardi, A. M.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ciardi, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Doré, GustaveIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Doré, GustaveIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ellis, SteveTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Freccero, JohnForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Halpern, DanielEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hollander, JeanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hollander, RobertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Janssen, JacquesTranslatorsecondary 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
Williams, HeathcoteNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Judith
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).
Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.
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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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