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Divine Comedy: Inferno

by Dante Alighieri

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Divine Comedy (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
19,451183153 (4.08)1 / 465
Led by Virgil, the poet is taken down into the depths and shown the seven layers of Hell and those doomed to suffer eternal torment for vices exhibited and sins committed on earth. The 'Inferno' is the first part of the 'Divine Comedy' which continues the journey through Purgatory and Paradise.
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» See also 465 mentions

English (171)  Catalan (2)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  French (1)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (179)
Showing 1-5 of 171 (next | show all)
I read the Inferno sometime during high school or college. I was trying to pick my brain as to whether it was for a class or if I was just being pretentious. At the time, I thought it was pretty cool, mapping out hell, and placing various people, be they contemporaries or Dante or historical/mythological characters, in various states of torture and distress. Reading it a second time, I came away very differently. It comes off as part laughing, little boy torturing ants with a magnifying glass, part high school clique sniping, and finally, part poorly written propaganda.

One thing that saved the book were the notes that concluded each Canto. I didn’t like or dislike John Ciardi’s translation … it was okay. But, his notes were really useful and I believe the first time I read the Inferno, there were few notes so it was quite difficult figuring out who was who among the more contemporary characters.

If you’re interested in exploring similar matter at a higher level, I’d wholeheartedly suggest Milton’s Paradise Lost, with fully developed characters, incisive philosophical and political commentary, problematized dilemmas, and just a damn fine read. ( )
  drew_asson | Dec 3, 2020 |
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 | Nov 15, 2020 |
I'm just going to say that Dante is the greatest writer ever, and move on to review this edition.

This edition is great--not as great as Dante, but great. Kirkpatrick's translation is enjoyable, and more or less metrical; he's not afraid to leave in the difficulties and obscurities that you find in the Italian, and he's willing to occasionally just say screw it and throw in something unexpected and perhaps a little reckless. He also has a glorious vocabulary. He is to other Dante translators as Cormac McCarthy is to other American novelists, but Kirkpatrick's odd vocabulary is not limited to obscure concrete nouns.

Two things I took away from reading 'Inferno' via Kirkpatrick: first, Virgil is a genuine tragic figure, and can surely be read as a kind of apologetic fiction. Look at Virgil, Dante says, and consider what you--a far inferior human being on so many levels--are throwing away by not being a good Christian! Here is the greatest of poets, the most reasonable of writers, locked out of heaven simply because of his birthdate. Don't waste the unearned good fortune of being born after Christ's coming!

Second: I'm now pretty sure that Dante's dark wood was a suicide attempt. Read canto I, then read the canto of the suicides in Kirkpatrick's translation, and I suspect you'll decide the same. As well as aesthetic sense, it makes biographical sense. Don't bring your scholarship to bear on this, it's my interpretation and I'm sticking to it.

Kirkpatrick's also taken an interesting approach to notes and commentary. Rather than exhaustively annotating every line, he's written mini-essays on each canto, which allow you to get a good feel for what's coming/what you've just read, and then annotated episodes. Kirkpatrick's prose is, as you'd expect from the vocabulary of his translation, rather baroque. So if, like me, you enjoy that kind of thing, voila.

All that said, I suspect most readers will find Hollingdale or Carson (or Pinsky, if you like that kind of thing) a better introduction to Dante. This, however, is an ideal second read. My friends mock me for saying things like this, but: when you come to read Dante again, Kirkpatrick is the way to go. ( )
1 vote stillatim | Oct 23, 2020 |
Dante is the standard against which other authors should be judged. He is smarter than other authors, his work is more beautiful than theirs, and while he can create characters out of two words, he doesn't think that's all there is to literature. If the Western intellectual tradition has a center that holds everything together, it is Dante: he brings together everything that went before him, and you can find seeds in the Comedy for almost everything that comes after him. In every book I read, I find something missing, because we are finite creatures and not everyone can do everything. Except Dante, who is somehow as adept at brutal satire as he is at describing the Virgin Mary's tear-ducts. I believe he really went to heaven, because if he didn't, where the hell did he get the ability to write a long poem that will satisfy anyone who is willing to use their brain, even a little?

So, obviously, I'm just rating the edition. I read this one largely because I was curious about Ciaran Carson, and I can see myself picking up some of his own work on the basis of his translation. Not many--possibly none, other than Carson--poets try to put Dante into any form at all, let alone stick to terza rima as closely as English sense and sound will allow. If that's not challenging enough, Carson then tries to make the thing readable with a minimum of notes, and, inexplicably, succeeds in doing so. And he also futzes with tone in sometimes thrilling, sometimes questionable ways, but at least he tries to show that Virgil is often irritated and Dante often a putz.

Sadly, there are some really bad choices (please, let's have a moratorium on rhymes including the word 'zone'), and some things just don't work. But the ambition is breathtaking, and this might be the best place to start if you've never read Dante, but don't want to slog through, e.g., the Hollanders (Pinsky is probably Carson's competition, but I haven't read his Inferno). The downside is that Carson's tone and method probably wouldn't work for Purgatorio or Paradiso, both of which are far superior works, while being less immediately interesting. Let's be honest, not much is more entertaining than watching evil popes have their heads rammed up each others' arses, not even visions of heavenly souls. So I imagine this will be a one volume affair. But, as I said, a great place to start. ( )
1 vote stillatim | Oct 23, 2020 |
Notes And Laura Magnus Gabriel Marruzzo Allen Mandelbaum
  DerekClegg | Sep 19, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 171 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (87 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dante Alighieriprimary authorall editionscalculated
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
Crespo, ÁngelForewordsecondary 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
Sayers, Dorothy L.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scialom, MarcTranslatorsecondary 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
Williams, Heathcotesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wright, S. FowlerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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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.
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This work contains the first cantica of Dante's Comedy. Please do not combine it with other works containing the other cantica
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Led by Virgil, the poet is taken down into the depths and shown the seven layers of Hell and those doomed to suffer eternal torment for vices exhibited and sins committed on earth. The 'Inferno' is the first part of the 'Divine Comedy' which continues the journey through Purgatory and Paradise.

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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.
(piopas)
Haiku summary
"Abandon all hope",
A journey begun in Hell,
But not ended there.
(hillaryrose7)

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Penguin Australia

5 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140440062, 0142437220, 0140448950, 0451531396, 0141195150

Indiana University Press

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Editions: 0253209307, 0253332141

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