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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful introduction and commentary
For anyone who may not be familiar with the plot of Dante Aligheri's Inferno, in brief, it involves the narrator's descent, while still alive, into the circles of Hell where he witnesses the grotesque punishments of many people including his own contemporaries, from corrupt popes to soldiers. The book is an allegorical journey of humankind's redemption, at the same time...
Published on 12 Dec 2009 by Mrs. A. Day

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3.0 out of 5 stars Dante Alighieri – The Inferno | Review
Mark Twain once described a classic as "a book which people praise and don't read". Dante's Inferno fits the bill, then. Here's a book that I read because I always felt like I should have already read it, but I didn't enjoy it. See, I like reading 'classics', but some are tougher than others - this is one of the toughest.

The main problem is that unless...
Published 5 months ago by SocialBookshelves.com


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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful introduction and commentary, 12 Dec 2009
By 
Mrs. A. Day (Hinckley, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
For anyone who may not be familiar with the plot of Dante Aligheri's Inferno, in brief, it involves the narrator's descent, while still alive, into the circles of Hell where he witnesses the grotesque punishments of many people including his own contemporaries, from corrupt popes to soldiers. The book is an allegorical journey of humankind's redemption, at the same time casting a critical glance over the politics of Italy and Florence, all portrayed in beautiful verse.

There is a lot of speculation about the exact reason for this descent into Hell, confusion which results in immediate differences in translation from the very first chapter of the book. So the question for most people would be which book has the best translation?

Well, that depends on what you are looking for. This book does have some wonderful translations; in particular I enjoyed Canto 33. And if you are looking for an edition for studying, line by line, then this is a very good version - the introduction and commentary are worth the price of the book alone, though the notes are in the back of the book which can be a little annoying. This version also has the Italian and English side-by-side, one of the main reasons for me buying it. But, I think, if you are reading it purely for pleasure, I probably prefer the Mark Musa or Robert Hollander versions.

That said, when choosing between the various translations, I would say that it really is down to personal taste; I like aspects of pretty much most translations and I enjoy having various translations available to scrutinise. But I would recommend this to anyone studying Dante's Inferno.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great text, unfortunate formatting, 17 Jan 2014
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I've read a couple of Dantes and to my ear Kirkpatrick's version is the best yet. It gives a "feel" for medieaval Europe somehow; obviously (and rightly) the rhymes aren't maintained - Kirkpatrick considers accuracy of meaning more important - but the metre and rhythms work well; the imagery is brought to life by very careful word choice.

However - this is the Kindle edition, ASIN B002RI9HHU Inferno: The Divine Comedy I - and there's a problem. The print edition includes the original Italian text on facing pages. While great for study, the differing lengths of English text versus Italian mean no amount of formatting reliably delivers a Kindle pageful of Italian followed by a pageful of English; everything is in one long column making the book virtually unreadable. The edition includes Real Page Numbers, which in future versions of Kindle software may allow page-by-page flickthroughs or side-by-side layouts as the formatters intended, but the technology isn't there yet, making this a much less enjoyable read than it should.

I'm a Kindle nut, but if you want this excellent work, buy it in paperback.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good translation and great notes, 25 May 2009
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This review is from: The Divine Comedy (Hardcover)
I am not a classics expert but wanted to read the Divine Comedy because it is referenced so much i wanted to be able to understand the references. The explanation notes are great and for the most part understandable. Lots of references to mythological figures with whom I am not familiar however the book is easy to read and understand and that's what i was looking for.
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38 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Divinely nasty, 4 Feb 2007
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
"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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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Politics of Dante, 10 Feb 2011
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Dante was first exiled from Florence, and then condemned to death in his absence.

He wrote this poem about the political corruption of his times. He particularly hated those who were lending money at interest, and those who were using the Church as a political power.

The evil sorts of lower kind of men were gaining the upper hand in his time. Those who were waging wars for purposes of the unreal, those who were using religious and important public bodies for personal gain.

We see this everywhere today. He was also against the commercial expansion of his city, seeing large scale 'multinational' sorts of activity as bad for human life in its proper visionary state.

Ezra Pound took Dante's politics and economics seriously. TS Eliot speculated that Dante really had seen what this book says that he saw: God, angels, devils, underground worlds, beings, bipods which were not human.

When books become proscribed, removed from shelves and bookcases in homes becuase of political purges in the future, Dante's will be one of the first to go. Forever, Dante will be the example of the human genius for freedom, revolt, dissidence, visionary abilities, and love.

His book is a book of divine love, written in extended large scale sonnets. These love poems are not aimed at a single solitary woman as the earlier Vita Nova ones were, but at the whole circle of existence as humans can perceive it. God is the source of love, and is inside those who are not corrupted by power, money, lies, violence, hate.

This is why it is the greatest book of the post classical era.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best translation, 16 July 2010
By 
M. J. Powell "o/i mndspc" (England) - See all my reviews
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Of all the translations I have read, this one seems to best capture Dante's powerhouse tone. I'd read in short bursts however, because reading it in quantity I find myself stumbling on its rhythmic awkwardness: if you want to enjoy its poetic virtues don't come to it expecting the terza rima-like fluidity of Sisson's version, say.
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4.0 out of 5 stars reading this book was like wading through treacle, 9 July 2014
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reading this book was like wading through treacle. It is real hard going but worth the effort. I'm gonna read it again to see if it makes more sense, as I think this is a read more than once book !! there are written notes that try and decipher the meaning of the text ,otherwise I would have been totally lost. Apparently there are study groups and "leading authorities" who have spent years studying Dante s Inferno so if you dont get it first time round dont despair !!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars truely wonderful - not sure i needed the italian on the ..., 1 July 2014
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truely wonderful - not sure i needed the italian on the opposite page, although it's rather wonderful to try the lines in their original from time to time - terrific
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Book, 29 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The Divine Comedy (Hardcover)
Bought this for my grandson as a Christmas pressie (his request) ......... A well known book by Dante, and in my view something to treasure, as the written word moves into oblivion, along with all understanding of the English Language.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Dante Alighieri – The Inferno | Review, 30 Jan 2014
By 
Mark Twain once described a classic as "a book which people praise and don't read". Dante's Inferno fits the bill, then. Here's a book that I read because I always felt like I should have already read it, but I didn't enjoy it. See, I like reading 'classics', but some are tougher than others - this is one of the toughest.

The main problem is that unless you've already studied it, it's hard to tell what the hell is going on - then, even when you can understand Dante's archaic language, it's so far detached from reality that it's like reading a foreign translation of the Silmarillion.

I can see the artistic and historic value in the manuscript, though - the problem is that I read it for fun, and that's a mistake. Don't let this put you off reading it if you're already seriously considering it - just don't pick it up if it's not your type of thing, and consider avoiding English degrees where you're likely to end up having to read it. Even if you get hold of an audio book of it, it's difficult.
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The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri (Hardcover - 1 April 1977)
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