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The Inferno by Dante Alighieri

The Inferno

by Dante Alighieri

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Divine Comedy (1)

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17,720161155 (4.08)1 / 448
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    Soul Retrievers by David Burton (Skylles)
    Skylles: Explorations of Hell

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English (155)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  All languages (161)
Showing 1-5 of 155 (next | show all)
A middle aged man finds himself off the path to righteousness and instead finds the way to Hell. So Virgil decides to go and show him the way through the Nine Circles of Hell on behalf of some girl that Dante liked when he was a younger man.

So we get a taste of God's ironic punishments as they were seen back in the Middle Ages. All of the major sins are represented, with a punishment to go along with it. Well written and fascinating, it is practically a window to the tumultuous politics and times of the 1390s. Several famous men of the times are already in hell, so it is kind of weird to read about it.

Ultimately, Dante is able to escape hell after descending all of the way down and then climbing the massive body of Lucifer, who is chewing on Judas, Cassius and Brutus for all eternity. Just as he escapes and comes to The Island of Purgatory, the stars light up in the night sky, so it took him a while to walk all that way. ( )
  Floyd3345 | Jun 15, 2019 |
“Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita mi ritrovai per una selva oscura…” “…Midway upon the journey of our life I found myself in a dark wilderness.”

So begins Dante’s Inferno, the first in the trilogy that makes up The Divine Comedy.

While I’ve never been a big fan of or believer in the Christian hell, I love Dante as a poet and a writer. His Divine Comedy is obviously a treasure of the western literary canon. I also love literature in translation. And so when I found out that Thornwillow Press was publishing the new translation by Anthony Esolen in a hand-lettered letterpress edition, I was pretty excited. I was much more excited that there was a state of the edition that I could afford! This is the fifth copy, and the fourth(?) translation of the Inferno I own and this review was a great excuse to re-read it. It will sit nicely next to my Folio Society edition with Blake’s illustrations, the Easton Press edition with Barry Moser’s illustrations, the Sandow Birk & Marcus Sanders edition, and the Seymour Chwast graphic novel version. And the shelf could get more crowded in the future as there are certainly other editions out there I’d like to have (the Limited Editions Club edition I would guess) and probably more editions to come in the future. Dante’s vision and light shows no sign of dimming. But there is ample literary criticism out there by much more knowledgeable readers than myself, so I’ll get right into this edition as an object and as a reading experience.

One of the more remarkable things about the Thornwillow Press is the way they fund their projects through Kickstarter, or crowdfunding. This allows them to size the edition to the demand and get their funding up front, thereby reducing what is probably one of the greatest risks for private press editions. Another compelling feature of their projects is the number of states and specials that they offer: for Dante there was a paper-wrapped, a half cloth, a half leather, and a full leather state. The full leather was offered in six different versions: three one-of-a-kind versions and three versions of six copies each. The nice thing about this wide offering is that there is more range in the pricing. The paper-wrapper version at the $85 offering price is an exceptional value for letterpress printing in my opinion. I’ll be interested to see how the paper-wrapper binding holds up with handling over time. I’m a careful reader but I can see that it would be easy to damage the wrapper and potentially the text block without the protection of the boards of the hardcover states. Other nice features of their publishing model include the ability to choose a limitation number if you wish and to have your name on a subscribers list that is included with each book.

While each edition of Dante’s Inferno out there has its pros and cons, this one was different and compelling in that it was done in an “artist’s manuscript” style by George Cochrane. The artist hand-lettered the text en-face in English and Italian. The margins are illustrated with line drawings that follow the text in the tradition of illuminated medieval manuscripts. The illustrations taken alone don’t particularly move me but work well as integrated and paired with the text. The text itself is packed in pretty tightly with a minimal spacing between lines. Although I had little trouble reading it, I did find myself losing the line occasionally due to the denseness of the text and maybe because of the style of the hand lettering. But, again, the lettering is definitely part of the charm of the edition, so I didn’t mind it while reading. However, I did notice more than the usual number of mistakes in the text for a private press. I’m not sure whether that is due to an inadequate amount of proofreading or whether the errors were noticed but correcting the hand lettering was too much trouble, too costly, or just plain impossible due to the availability of the artist.

The text is printed in two colors: black and red. While that makes for a striking layout on the pages that use both colors, there are only two that do. I wish they would have been a little more generous with the red, maybe using it with the first initial of every canto or even just the canto number. That would have made it a bit easier to find each canto on the page or to go back and find favorite passages. Without that, and with no page or line numbers, it was a bit of a slog to find passages quickly.

All in all, I applaud Thornwillow Press for publishing works of this scope, their scaling of edition states to multiple price points, and for their innovative way of funding the projects. I’ve funded their upcoming Pride and Prejudice as well so I will hopefully be posting about that in the spring. Once again that will be in the paper-wrapper but I hope to see and/or review one of the other states at some point in the future.

AVAILABILITY: The edition appears to be 1137 copies: 21 copies in various full leather states; 66 copies in half leather; 150 unbound; 300 half cloth; and 600 copies in paper-wrappers as reviewed above. The paper-wrapper edition is still available directly from the press.

Go to www.thewholebookexperience.com to see this review complete with photos of the book.
  jveezer | Dec 9, 2018 |

Dante’s Inferno - 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:

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.

( )
  Glenn_Russell | Nov 13, 2018 |
I'm not a religious man in the least, but - like the great works of Classical composers, or the Sistine Chapel - that's hardly a consideration when reading a soaring work of near-ancient literature. Esolen's translation is marvellous, attempting to keep rhyme, meter and meaning in check, without ever sacrificing beauty. What results is a work of epic poetry which, while adhering to rules, is more than happy to flaunt them when necessary. Dante's vision is quite clever, and - although you will need copious notes at times to understand the medieval Italian history references - a sublimely beautiful piece. ( )
  therebelprince | Oct 30, 2018 |
  StFrancisofAssisi | Aug 28, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 155 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (90 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alighieri, DanteAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sayers, Dorothy L.Translatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bego, HarrieRegistersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bellomo, SaverioEditorsecondary 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
Durling, Robert M.Translatorsecondary 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
Inglese, GiorgioEditorsecondary 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
Rensburg, J.K.Translatorsecondary 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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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.
Last words
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Book description
Questa nuova opera dantesca conserva - e consolida - la fortunata idea-forza delle precedenti dello stesso autore: trasparenza e didatticità dei commenti e delle note esplicative, aggiornamento e puntualità degli interventi critici.
Ciascuno dei tre volumi si apre con una introduzione mirata alla struttura fisica e all'ordinamento morale di ciascuna delle tre cantiche. In particolare il volume dedicato all'Inferno reca anche un'introduzione globale su tutto l'oltremondo dantesco.
In ciascuno dei tre volumi compaiono tutti i canti.
Ogni canto, completo nei versi e negli apparati, è preceduto da un'introduzione di sintesi narrativa, di valutazione critica, di inquadramento storico. Ed è concluso da una o due letture critiche su temi focali di Dante e della cultura che fu sua, desunte dalle opere dei maggiori dantisti e medievisti italiani e stranieri; da una ricca bibliografia di approfondimento multidisciplinare; da una batteria di proposte di ricerca.
Spesso, al termine del canto, ricorre la rubrica dei "passi controversi" dove vengono considerati i luoghi cruciali del poema di più complessa interpretazione filologica.
Un dossier di tavole illustrate fuori testo testimonia la fortuna iconografica della Commedia nei secoli, dai primitivi maestri miniatori ai grandi pittori del '900.
Rispetto alle precedenti opere dantesche dello stesso autore è stato accresciuto il numero complessivo delle pagine, è stata notevolmente migliorata la leggibilità, sono state aggiunte nuove letture, sono state rivisitate e ampliate molte proposte di ricerca.
Haiku summary
"Abandon all hope",
A journey begun in Hell,
But not ended there.

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 10 descriptions)

Translation of Dante's classic of the journey through the underworld.

» see all 52 descriptions

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5 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

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