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Inferno Paperback – 19 Jun 2003

4.9 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 736 pages
  • Publisher: Random House USA Inc; Tra Blg edition (19 Jun. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385496982
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385496988
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 3.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 26,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

" The most accessible and the closest to the Italian... with ample commentary easily and unobtrusively available at the end of each Canto." - Tim Parks, "The New Yorker
"
" The Hollanders... act as latter-day Virgils, guiding us through the Italian text that is printed on the facing page." - "The Economist
"" Probably the most finely accomplished and may well prove the most enduring... . The annotation... is crowded with useful insights and bits of information and keeps us abreast of scholarly opinion across the ages." - R.W.B. Lewis, "Los Angeles Times Book Review
"

The most accessible and the closest to the Italian with ample commentary easily and unobtrusively available at the end of each Canto. Tim Parks, The New Yorker

The Hollanders act as latter-day Virgils, guiding us through the Italian text that is printed on the facing page. The Economist
Probably the most finely accomplished and may well prove the most enduring . The annotation is crowded with useful insights and bits of information and keeps us abreast of scholarly opinion across the ages. R.W.B. Lewis, Los Angeles Times Book Review
"

"The most accessible and the closest to the Italian...with ample commentary easily and unobtrusively available at the end of each Canto."-Tim Parks, The New Yorker

"The Hollanders...act as latter-day Virgils, guiding us through the Italian text that is printed on the facing page."-The Economist
"Probably the most finely accomplished and may well prove the most enduring.... The annotation...is crowded with useful insights and bits of information and keeps us abreast of scholarly opinion across the ages."-R.W.B. Lewis, Los Angeles Times Book Review

From the Inside Flap

The epic grandeur of Dante's masterpiece has inspired readers for 700 years, and" has entered the human imagination. But the further we move from the late medieval world of Dante, the more a rich understanding and enjoyment of the poem depends on knowledgeable guidance. Robert Hollander, a renowned scholar and master teacher of Dante, and Jean Hollander, an accomplished poet, have written a beautifully accurate and clear verse translation of the first volume of Dante's epic poem, the Divine Comedy. Featuring the original Italian text opposite the translation, this edition also offers an extensive and accessible introduction and generous commentaries that draw on centuries of scholarship as well as Robert Hollander's own decades of teaching and research. The Hollander translation is the new standard in English of this essential work of world literature.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am not a well read man, and when I say 'well read', I mean I have had not read many classical novels or poems etc. And before buying this book, these such thoughts were going through my mind:

"Oh, I've never read a poem before in my life, I probably wont understand it"
"Commentaries? Urgh, but they were such a bore in school"

Despite these thoughts, I bought this translation of the Inferno anyway, and I couldnt have chosen better.

The poem is tranlated brilliantly, because I understand it, and I can feel it. Simple as that.

The commentaries after each Canto are not dull or boring at all, because they are not only interesting, but are a humungous help. On first reading a canto on its own, I could understand it yes, but after reading the commentary with it, I understood it even more, and understood the depths behind it.

I had great fun reading this book, its entertaining for a good read and even contains some good humour, both in the poem itself and in the commentary.

All in all, if like me you're not an English literary expert. Do not worry! The poem is a joy to read (considering where its based) and the commentaries explain it so well, that it felt like I had Mr and Mrs Hollander sitting next to me explaining what it all meant as I went along.
So in a way, as I read about Dante's trip through hell with Virgil as his guide, I took a trip through hell, following behind Dante and Virgil, with Robert and Jean Hollander as my guide.

My Recommendation: Buy it!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
easy to read translation without losing poetry, great intro to each chapter, and excellent notes, recommend one hundred per cent
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Anthony Esolen always writes well. As my first time with Dante I found everything very well laid out and easy to understand with the notes
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The first of the Hollanders' terrific Dante translations.
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To give this work a 5* rating would not be doing the work of Robert & Jean Hollander any justice whatsoever. It is a work that suits the needs of students studying the Inferno, the casual reader who wishes to know more or understand better Dante's views in the Inferno, and for the specialist in such a subject. It opens with a nice little introduction to the Inferno and a short history of the man behind it, as well as a one page drawing/map of the Inferno from the Dark Wood to the Frozen Floor of Hell. The Inferno ends with a list of works cited, for further reading. The commentary is superb and extremely detailed.

The depth of such a task undertaken by Robert & Jean to bring such a book forward is admirable to say the least.
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By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 14 Oct. 2006
Format: Mass Market 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.
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Since first reading Dante's COMMEDIA at university some 20 years ago I have read many different translations. Regrettably this one, the best by far in my opinion, had not been published then.

Robert Hollander (described in the New York Times as "one of the pre-eminent Dante scholars of our time") and his wife Jean, an accomplished poet, have provided the reader with informative notes and commentaries on the text, which has the Italian text displayed on the left hand side and the English translation facing it on the right hand page. The Hollander INFERNO was first published in 2000, followed by the other two parts of the COMMEDIA, PURGATORIO and PARADISO, in 2003 and 2007 respectively.

This is highly recommended for committed readers, it is not something to be read whilst lying on a beach or on a bus journey, it requires time and concentration, not to mention the space to lay out related texts by authors referred to in Dante's work, such as Aristotle, Cicero, Homer, Ovid, St Thomas Aquinas and Virgil, and the Bible.

I'll leave you with a couple of comments extracted from reviews of the Hollander translations of the INFERNO and of PARADISO:

"Nevertheless, the Hollanders’ translation is now the best on the market. So, if you want to read the Divine Comedy, get this version."

from Joan Acocella's review of PARADISO, New York Times, 3 Sep 2007...it's worth reading the whole review if you can find it.

"With any translation of the Inferno, one can quibble ad infinitum, if only because the original just cannot be pinned down. But the Hollanders’ translation is a welcome addition, and, when one comes to all these versions fresh from a rereading of the original, it seems the most accessible and the closest to the Italian."

Tim Parks, review of INFERNO 15 January 2001, The New Yorker...again, it's worth reading the whole review if you can access it.

Highly recommended.
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