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Inferno: A New Translation by Dante…
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Inferno: A New Translation (edition 2012)

by Dante Alighieri, Henrik Drescher (Illustrator), Mary Jo Bang (Translator)

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13,697123153 (4.11)1 / 326
Member:Mz.Balma
Title:Inferno: A New Translation
Authors:Dante Alighieri
Other authors:Henrik Drescher (Illustrator), Mary Jo Bang (Translator)
Info:Graywolf Press (2012), Edition: Illustrated, Hardcover, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:Poetry, Verse Novels/Epic Poetry

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The Inferno by Dante Alighieri

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English (119)  Italian (1)  Swedish (1)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (123)
Showing 1-5 of 119 (next | show all)
Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: This widely praised version of Dante's masterpiece, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award of the Academy of American Poets, is more idiomatic and approachable than its many predecessors. Former U.S. Poet Laureate Pinsky employs slant rhyme and near rhyme to preserve Dante's terza rima form without distorting the flow of English idiom. The result is a clear and vigorous translation that is also unique, student-friendly, and faithful to the original: "A brilliant success," as Bernard Knox wrote in The New York Review of Books.

My Review: The Doubleday UK meme, a book a day for July 2014, is the goad I'm using to get through my snit-based unwritten reviews. Today's prompt is the twenty-fourth, a book that reminds you of your English teacher.

Ninth grade, or freshman high school year, was The Odyssey, and tenth was The Inferno. We used, in 1974, the then-newish Ciardi translation, made in 1954; it was quite an event, since Ciardi (a poet of some renown) translated it as poetry instead of as Italian-to-English words.

Pinsky's translation attempts the damn-near impossible feat of preserving the terza rima (aba, bcb, cdc, etc.) rhyme scheme invented by Dante for this cycle of poems. The result is a noble experiment, one marked by many successes. There are some weird things like quotes flowing over multiple stanzas, and there are some...odd...rhymes. But hell, the man tried a damned near impossible feat! Italian is a language in which it's harder *not* to rhyme than otherwise, and English resists rhyme with all its might and main.

So what is any reviewer to say about a 700-year-old poem? Nothing hasn't been said by now. I am anti-christian. The theology behind the entire Divine Comedy appalls and repulses me. I speak rudimentary Italian. Pinsky's efforts to reproduce terza rima are, to my ears, clunky and unnecessary. But in the end, rating a book like this is about what the take-away is for the reader. I take away a sense of Dante as an intelligent, desperately lonely man, attempting to make a Universe in which his existence matters and is of some moment. I stand in awed amazement at his gloriously baroque imagination. I am gobsmacked by the sheer audacity of a medieval poet writing in the vernacular. If Dante was alive today, he'd be writing raps.

Ugh. Horrible thought.

But nonetheless, I am wowed at a root level by the joyous, exuberant viciousness and the unapologetic cruelty of Dante's score-settling fates for his enemies. What a guy! Those raps he'd be writing today? They'd inspire Wes Craven to make movies and Clive Barker to write gore-fests!

Try this exercise: Imagine a beat-box under the terza rima stanzas. Read a piece aloud imagining hand-claps at the end of each stanza. This is what I think we, in this relativistic age, should strive for: to interpret the classics of literature and poetry by standards relevant to today, in addition to the standards that we know were applied at the time of the work's creation.

Many more layers to this work that way. After all, a literary classic is a work that's never finished saying what it has to say.

And here one is.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
4 vote richardderus | Jul 23, 2014 |
The most elaborate, vividly imagined and well-organized revenge fantasy of all time. I now remember why, unlike everybody else it seems, I liked the Paradiso better. A scene by scene translation of the Inferno to film would be bloodier and harder to stomach than the worst gore fest I've ever seen at the movies. And the idea of actually living in a society that could perceive such a place as necessary to its deity's vision of justice is probably the saddest and most horrifying idea of all. But Palma's verse translation is a pleasure to read, and the monsters are kind of fun. ( )
  CSRodgers | May 3, 2014 |
If you haven't walked through Hell with Dante, I highly recommend you do so immediately. It's quite nice. ( )
  mlyons1 | Feb 12, 2014 |
Mildly amusing, though this ostensibly pure Christian author clearly has a perverse streak running through him. (As does the Christian God, so not surprising.) ( )
  Audacity88 | Feb 7, 2014 |
I read the Ciardi translation in college, and this had a similar feel. It read a little more like prose than poetry--it's unrhymed, though it still has a nice rhythm. Really drags when you get closer to the end, though. ( )
  thatotter | Feb 6, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (93 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alighieri, Danteprimary 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
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
Pinsky, RobertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pipping, AlineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reggio, GiovanniEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rooy, Ronald deIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rutgers, JacoBeeldredactiesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sayers, Dorothy L.Translatorsecondary 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).
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:38:43 -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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 22 descriptions

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