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Inferno by Dante Alighieri


by Dante Alighieri

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Divine Comedy (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
18,231164154 (4.08)1 / 456
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.
  1. 00
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English (155)  Catalan (2)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  French (1)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (163)
Showing 1-5 of 155 (next | show all)
This edition and translation is absolutely fantastic. The references that I miss in the poem because I'm not well versed in 14th century Italy are, essentially, priceless. ( )
  thecolorblack | Jan 21, 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 | Dec 14, 2019 |
A handsome book, but a clunky and awkward translation. ( )
  hillaryrose7 | Jul 10, 2019 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 155 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (90 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alighieri, DanteAuthorprimary authorall 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
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
Tiller, TerenceEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Williams, HeathcoteNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Williams, Heathcotesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wright, S. FowlerTranslatorsecondary 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
Disambiguation notice
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Canonical DDC/MDS

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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.

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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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