Inferno

Inferno

Paperback - 2002
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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.
Publisher: New York : Anchor Books, 2002, c2000.
Edition: First Anchor Books edition
ISBN: 9780385496988
0385496982
Characteristics: xl, 694 pages :,map ;,21 cm.

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m
MS_Varnado
Nov 10, 2017

Mary Jo Bang's translation of the Inferno is an interesting one. Adopting a self-consciously postmodern tack, Bang attempts to bring the Inferno to a greater relevance for contemporary readers by sprinkling the verse with references to modernity, which in all fairness is precisely what the original did for its Italian audience with references to then-recent Florentine politics and scandals. Now, Bang's updated text can sometimes run the gamut from jarring (referencing South Park in Dante seems an odd choice) to ingenious (this version of Dante references Eliot's Waste Land, which in turn referenced Dante). Overall the occasional anachronism is annoying but outweighed, in my opinion, by the sense that some aspect of the poem has been recovered from the temporal void.

r
rpavlacic
Feb 15, 2017

Should be on everyone's bucket list of books to read before he or she dies. The Michael Palma translation I read is excellent - it follows Dante's iambic pentameter as well as the rhyming scheme: ABA, BCB, CDC, etc. Frightening to discover where famous people lie within the nine circles of hell, including Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Alexander the Great - and, perhaps the most surprising, the Prophet Mohammed. This one is not for pre-teens, though - there are a few places where curse words are used (perhaps because no other word could describe a concept in the original Italian) - and besides, the scenes are just too scary for kids anyway.

n
Nymeria23
Jan 13, 2017

I read the edition with translations from Dorothy Sayers and I loved the commentary with this book- the notes on specific lines and images really helped my understanding of this classic and the intricacies of Dante's poetic style. It's a really interesting, and as my professor states it, 'logical' organization of the classical ideas of sin and it's deserving punishment, with each deeper level and darker pit conveying the punishments of the marginally worse sinners, until Dante reaches Satan. It's an intriguing concept, apparently not as original an idea as I had previously thought for the time period, with Dante being guided through Hell because he has lost his way, but still a very cool class read. Not sure I would personally call it a comedy, though
*the introduction of Greek mythological figures and beasts was interesting given that they come from a pagan religion. I wonder what there purpose was- to get the audience's attention? Add dramatic flare?

p
praitty
Aug 30, 2016

Fantastic work by Dante!

m
monicacole
Jul 01, 2014

While this was a book I read for a school assignment, I did come to like it. It, while difficult at time to understand, was far more readable than other texts from that period that I have read. The story is fascinating when taken from a psychological and sociological perspective, and I found myself often wanting to know more about Dante the author. Did he really believe in this version of Hell that he presented, and the religious construct it implicated or was it all fabricated?

l
Leanos_e
May 08, 2014

Before I start talking about the book proper, I have a confession to make: I wasn't sure I really wanted to read philosophical poetry written seven centuries ago. I had doubts about style, quality of translation and my own lack of literary background in decyphering the numerous Christian and mythological references, not to mention political and cultural trivia from Dante's Florence. Thanks to my Goodreads friends, I took the plunge and I can report back that it was well worth the effort. Even better, it wasn't an effort, but a joyride, thanks primarily to my lucky pick of the Ciardi translation for my first foray into the phantastical world of Dante. So my answer to the questions: can we still read Dante for pleasure and not for academic study is a resounding yes. Another big Yes is the answer to the relevance of the Commedia for the modern reader. The fundamental soul searching questions about the relationship between spiritual and material life, morality and political power, religious and secular governance, reason and faith remain unchanged over centuries and must still be answered by each of us after our own fashion. Dante is as great choice as the lightbearer showing the way to redemption, as Virgil was to the poet on his descent into Hell.

m
mariafrie
Aug 20, 2009

I like this version because it has refences in it and makes it easier to read! Very religous.

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rpavlacic
Feb 15, 2017

rpavlacic thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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