- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reprint edition (27 Jan. 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140440062
- ISBN-13: 978-0140440065
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.6 x 20.1 cm
- Average Customer Review: 26 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 775,088 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Comedy of Dante Alighieri: Hell: Hell v. 1 (Classics) Paperback – 27 Jan 2005
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"The English Dante of choice." -Hugh Kenner"Exactly what we have waited for these years, a Dante with clarity, eloquence, terror, and profoundly moving depths." -Robert Fagles, Princeton University "A marvel of fidelity to the original, of sobriety, and truly, of inspired poetry." -Henri Peyre, Yale University
Guided by the poet Virgil, Dante plunges to the very depths of Hell and embarks on his arduous journey towards God. Together they descend through the nine circles of the underworld and encounter the tormented souls of the damned - from heretics and pagans to gluttons, criminals and seducers - who tell of their sad fates and predict events still to come in Dante's life. In this first part of his "Divine Comedy", Dante fused satire and humour with intellect and soaring passion to create an immortal Christian allegory of mankind's search for self-knowledge and spiritual enlightenment.See all Product description
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Generally, I didn't have any problems with the translations and it all seemed to flow quite nicely. Admittedly, I haven't read any other versions so have nothing to compare it to, but suffice to say I didn't struggle with this book one bit.
Onto the actual story that Dante tells, I actually really enjoyed it. Despite being hundreds of years old, the story seems very timeless. Although it does seem like a medieval way of name dropping; with a constant barrage of people who were then famous (or infamous, I suppose) but without the notes, I'd have had no idea who they were or their significance.
There's so many layers to each Canto that you don't even realise are there until you read the notes. It's quite brilliant, in a way, and another reason why I enjoyed this version of the book.
The "comedy" part of it is, as you would imagine, rather dark at times. For example, two blokes are stuck in a frozen lake in Hell with only their heads above the ice, with one guy eating the other guys brains. Turns out that the person eating the head was forced to eat his own children/grandchildren after the other guy locked them in a room and starved them to death. Hilarious stuff, I'm sure you'll agree. Although I did laugh out loud at one or two phrases, like the devils that were blowing raspberries at each other, with the other devil "saluting them with his bugle of an a--hole"!
It's an easy to read book, considering how old it is, and it is really worth what little effort it takes to get through. A great book and a very nice translation.
It was fabulous to read. He has created an accessible text that also has detailed notes after every canto; plus a wonderful introduction. As each canto starts there is a short paragraph explaining what is happening which can help you.
I enjoyed reading this and wish I hadn't left it so long. You don't need to be smart or a scholar to enjoy this masterpiece!
Each canto(which concerns the punishments going on in a certain segment or bolgia)is around four pages long (roughly 130-150 lines) and the corresponding explanatory notes run typically 3 to 4 pages.I found the notes to be most informative and necessary,as without them I wouldn't have had clue what was going on for the greater part of the book.
Medieval poetry (particularly in a foreign tongue) is never going to be a walk in the park and I must admit my motivation for reading this stemmed from the curiosity of Dante's structure of hell and the punishments that he appropriated the various sins.Aside from these sometimes colourful eschatological ruminations I found the language less than inspiring from a descriptive point of view, and the constant reference to Tuscan politics gave it the feel that the whole thing was structured as a way to support Dante's political views and personal vendettas.On the plus side it was easier to read than I'd anticipated and the notes where excellent.
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