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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well translated with plenty of explanation of the text
This translation of Dante's "The Divine Comedy" is good in many respects. It provides a long introduction detailing various differences between this (Mark Musa's) edition and many others and the reasons behind these. He also provides many of the stories around Dante's many subtle verses to help the casual reader and student like enjoy the work for its true...
Published on 27 Jan 2000

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Divine Justice meets Medieval Tuscan Politics
Inferno is the first 34 cantos (verses) of The Divine Comedy written around the beginning of the 14th century.It contains a considerable amount of reference to the political personages of northern Italy and to Greek and Roman mythology,which makes the quality of the translation,and particularly the reference notes,the decisive factor in selecting which version to...
Published 20 months ago by nicholas hargreaves


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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Abandon hope, 12 Oct 2007
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Divine Comedy: Inferno: Inferno v. 1 (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
"Midway life's journey I was made aware/that I had strayed into a dark forest..." Those eerie words open the first cantica of Dante Alighieri's "Inferno," the most famous part of the legendary Divina Comedia. But the stuff going on here is anything but divine, as Dante explores the metaphorical and supernatural horrors of the inferno.

The date is Good Friday of the year 1300, and Dante is lost in a creepy dark forest, being assaulted by a trio of beasts who symbolize his own sins. But suddenly he is rescued ("Not man; man I once was") by the legendary poet Virgil, who takes the despondent Dante under his wing -- and down into Hell.

But this isn't a straightforward hell of flames and dancing devils. Instead, it's a multi-tiered carnival of horrors, where different sins are punished with different means. Opportunists are forever stung by insects, the lustful are trapped in a storm, the greedy are forced to battle against each other, and the violent lie in a river of boiling blood, are transformed into thorn bushes, and are trapped on a volcanic desert.

If nothing else makes you feel like being good, then "The Inferno" might change your mind. The author loads up his "Inferno" with every kind of disgusting, grotesque punishment that you can imagine -- and it's all wrapped up in an allegorical journey of humankind's redemption, not to mention dissing the politics of Italy and Florence.

Along with Virgil -- author of the "Aeneid" -- Dante peppered his Inferno with Greek myth and symbolism. Like the Greek underworld, different punishments await different sins; what's more, there are also appearances by harpies, centaurs, Cerberus and the god Pluto. But the sinners are mostly Dante's contemporaries, from corrupt popes to soldiers.

And Dante's skill as a writer can't be denied -- the grotesque punishments are enough to make your skin crawl ("Fixed in the slime, groan they, 'We were sullen and wroth...'"), and the grand finale is Satan himself, with legendary traitors Brutus, Cassius and Judas sitting in his mouths. (Yes, I said MOUTHS, not "mouth")

More impressive still is his ability to weave the poetry out of symbolism and allegory, without it ever seeming preachy or annoying. Even pre-hell, we have a lion, a leopard and a wolf, which symbolize different sins, and a dark forest that indicates suicidal thoughts. And the punishments themselves usually reflect the person's flaws, such as false prophets having their heads twisted around so they can only see what's behind them. Wicked sense of humor.

Dante's vivid writing and wildly imaginative "inferno" makes this the most fascinating, compelling volume of the Divine Comedy. Never fun, but always spellbinding and complicated.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elegently written., 20 Sep 2009
By 
Steven Roe (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Divine Comedy: Inferno: Inferno v. 1 (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
This book will as you will know will always be one of the finest literary masterpieces of all time.

That said; the book feels powerful, mysterious and the translation and interpretation of the book is the best out at the moment.

So if you want to delve into this gem of a book or simply look clever while holding it, it should be bought.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoying and Understanding it., 1 Oct 2008
This review is from: The Divine Comedy: Inferno: Inferno v. 1 (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
This book is great. As a new reader to Dante's work the notes are clear and easier to read than I expected, leaving me looking forward to reading more and more.
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The Divine Comedy: Inferno: Inferno v. 1 (Penguin Classics)
The Divine Comedy: Inferno: Inferno v. 1 (Penguin Classics) by Dante Alighieri (Paperback - 27 Feb 2003)
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