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Dante: Inferno (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 30 Mar 2006

3.7 out of 5 stars 102 customer reviews

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  • Paradiso - Paradise v. 3: The Divine Comedy  (Penguin Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 460 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (30 Mar. 2006)
  • Language: English, Italian
  • ISBN-10: 0954113284
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140448955
  • ASIN: 0140448950
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 46,096 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"This version is the first to bring together poetry and scholarship in the very body of the translation--a deeply informed version of Dante that is also a pleasure to read." --Professor David Wallace, University of Pennsylvania



"Kirkpatrick brings a more nuanced sense of the Italian and a more mediated appreciation of the poem's construction than nearly all of his competitors. . . . There is much to recommend here-certainly the intelligence, the energy, the linguistic range. . . . His introduction and canto-by-canto notes are remarkably level and lucid, as attentive to structure as to syntax, language and motif, and deftly cross-reference the whole poem. On their own, they would justify the price."
-"The Times" (London)
"We gain much from Kirkpatrick's fidelity to syntax and nuance, and from the fact that the Italian is on the facing page for our inspection. . . . His introduction . . . tells you, very readably indeed, pretty much all you need for a heightened appreciation of the work. . . . Kirkpatrick edges us, smoothly, into Dante's mind, and shows just how and why his influence has seemed to grow with the passage of time. We even get a map of "trecento" Italy (nestling against a map of hell). . . . If the "Purgatorio" and "Paradiso" are as good as this, then English readers will, I hope, start familiarising themselves with the two-thirds of the work most never get round to reading."
-Nicholas Lezard, "The Guardian"
"The perfect balance of tightness and colloquialism... likely to be the best modern version of Dante.
-Bernard O'Donoghue
"This version is the first to bring together poetry and scholarship in the very body of the translation-a deeply informed version of Dante that is also a pleasure to read."
-Professor David Wallace, University of Pennsylvania

About the Author

Dante Alighieri was born in 1265. Considered Italy's greatest poet, this scion of a Florentine family mastered in the art of lyric poetry at an early age. His first major work is La Vita Nuova (1292) which is a tribute to Beatrice Portinari, the great love of his life. Married to Gemma Donatic, Dante's political activism resulted in his being exiled from Florence to eventually settle in Ravenna. It is believed that The Divine Comedy-comprised of three canticles, The Inferno, The Purgatorio, and The Paradiso-was written between 1308 and 1320. Dante Alighieri died in 1321.


Robin Kirkpatrick is a poet and widely-published Dante scholar. He has taught courses on Dante's Divine Comedy in Hong Kong, Dublin, and Cambridge where is Fellow of Robinson College and Professor of Italian and English Literatures.


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I would not bother with this version. Whether or not this is complete is almost impossible to say, since I have not yet managed to find the beginning of the book. The pages seem to be in the wrong order, the links and contents don't take you where you want to go. This is simply terrible!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Okay, I appreciate this is free, but I remain confused. Where or how can you access the illustrations?

It clearly states this is illustrated and even credits Gustav Dore in the Index, along with mention of clicking on images to enlarge them, but I cannot for the life of me see or find any images and I've tried to go through the text page by page in case I've missed something. Help?

In light of the above, I can't recommend this at all. Awful. And the proliferation of links to every Canto and every part and sub-part --no doubt included to make things easier to navigate-- ultimately makes this look like a disorganized, hurried mess, and nigh on impossible to feel at ease with.

Not impressed. Amazon doesn't allow a zero star rating, unfortunately, but you get the gist.
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Format: Hardcover
Dante is a must. The Divine Comedy is fascinating, incisive and reads like a real adventure.
About this edition:
* Allen Mandelbaum's translation is simply wonderful.
* Top marks for accessibility: The book reads very easily and is very well annotated (some 250 pages of notes)
* This edition is highly practical (it contains all three parts), durable and aesthetically pleasing.
* Contains 42 of Boticelli's 15th century illustrations
Simply great value for money
If you want to get acquainted with this masterpiece then this is the edition to go for!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book is in a weird order - Dante's journey is from Hell, through Purgatory, to Paradise. The Kindle edition mixes the books up, places cantos out of order and has hyperlinks that don't go where they say they're going. It's impossible to read this in the order that Dante wrote it without a truely ridiculous amount of work.
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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This Clothbound Classic from Penguin is beautifully bound and enjoyable to read. The quality of the paper and the fact that each double page has the Italian and English text displayed, makes this a real treat. The notes on the text offer some insight into the political climate that Dante was writing and give the lay reader an important context for the work to be set against.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dante was an exile in his own time. In his great work, he descends to the underworld where he encounters his poetic hero Virgil who guides him through the circles of Hell, up Mount Purgatory, and to the gates of Paradise, where his role is taken by Dante's vision of the Ideal, Beatrice. In Paradise Dante meets the spirits of the blessed.

This is a magnificent work, considered by some the joint centre of the Western Canon along with Shakespeare. It is peerless among works of literature, offering a lifetime of deep reading. Mandelbaum is to be congratulated on producing a direct, lively, musical translation which leads the eye and the mind ever onward. The presentation is first-rate, pleasing to the eye and hard-wearing, and comes with many of Boticelli's illustrations. I have tried and failed with other translations, but Mandelbaum's is eminently readable.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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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