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Dante Alighieri – The Inferno | Review,
This review is from: Dante: Inferno (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
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.