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Divine Comedy: The Vision of Hell: Optimized for ebook. Illustrated

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The master piece of Dante Alighieri. Divine Comedy is considered one of the best books ever written. This book is recommended to every reader. This edition was specially formatted for ebooks and allows a much easier reading. There are multiple illustrations along the book that allow the reader to understand the importance of this book in shaping humanity. Divine Comedy is The master piece of Dante Alighieri. Divine Comedy is considered one of the best books ever written. This book is recommended to every reader. This edition was specially formatted for ebooks and allows a much easier reading. There are multiple illustrations along the book that allow the reader to understand the importance of this book in shaping humanity. Divine Comedy is composed by three parts: - The Vision of Hell (Inferno) - The Vision of Purgatorio (Purgatorio) - The Vision of Paradise (Paradiso)


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The master piece of Dante Alighieri. Divine Comedy is considered one of the best books ever written. This book is recommended to every reader. This edition was specially formatted for ebooks and allows a much easier reading. There are multiple illustrations along the book that allow the reader to understand the importance of this book in shaping humanity. Divine Comedy is The master piece of Dante Alighieri. Divine Comedy is considered one of the best books ever written. This book is recommended to every reader. This edition was specially formatted for ebooks and allows a much easier reading. There are multiple illustrations along the book that allow the reader to understand the importance of this book in shaping humanity. Divine Comedy is composed by three parts: - The Vision of Hell (Inferno) - The Vision of Purgatorio (Purgatorio) - The Vision of Paradise (Paradiso)

30 review for Divine Comedy: The Vision of Hell: Optimized for ebook. Illustrated

  1. 4 out of 5

    Paquita Maria Sanchez

    I just want to start off by saying that "Through me you enter into the City of Woes" would make an EXCELLENT tramp stamp. Jump on it! Being that I am an atheist living in the "Bible Belt," I was certain that reading this would lead to some sort of goodreads tirade, which can at times feel about as good as vomiting up a sour stomach or...you know...doing other stuff like shit that ladies don't do. However, I was from the outset hypnotized by Dante's très Baudelaire-esque-grotesque imagery and over I just want to start off by saying that "Through me you enter into the City of Woes" would make an EXCELLENT tramp stamp. Jump on it! Being that I am an atheist living in the "Bible Belt," I was certain that reading this would lead to some sort of goodreads tirade, which can at times feel about as good as vomiting up a sour stomach or...you know...doing other stuff like shit that ladies don't do. However, I was from the outset hypnotized by Dante's très Baudelaire-esque-grotesque imagery and overall style. For such a holy shitfuck, he had quite the murky mind. He was dreaming up torture scenarios that wouldn't even BEGIN to be trumped until Gilles de Rais and Vlad Tepes came around, like, a century later. And don't be surprised if he zaps you with the occasional rotting pustule or maggot-infested knife wound. These aren't literal examples, but they illustrate just how THE OPPOSITE OF FLOWERY some of his language is. So I went into reading this with a huge wall up (I know, I know, a terrible way to read), but then I realized that I wasn't JUST going to be proselytized to...I was going to be threatened with nasty, rotting, coldsore-herpee-mange-pits all over my body that George W. Bush and Paris Hilton are going to take turns pouring their boiling-hot-diarrhea-snot into. Dante, you sick bastard! AWESOME!!! So onward I galloped, discerning through all the filthy language that: A) I am, in fact, going to hell. B) They will have trouble determining the circle I will end up in because I could be placed in EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM save maybe, like, one or two (I stopped counting after awhile). C) The Dalai Lama, too, is going to hell.* *In fact, the "higher-ups" are apparently so sadistic, they sent people to hell who had lived morally just lives but were BORN BEFORE THE COMING OF CHRIST! He'll punish you for not worshiping Him before you even know who He is!!! If there was ever a better use for "WTF?", I don't know what it is. That's like your mom smacking you in the mouth for getting pregnant while you're still a virgin, or like wanting to ban a book that you haven't even seen in real life yet! That means that every intelligent being for the first few BILLIONS OF YEARS is in hell RIGHT NOW! ALL OF 'EM!!! Every evolutionary step forward up to the first Homosapien Christian is a batch of poor bastards that has been ferried across the River Styx. HARSH. I mean seriously...even Moses and Noah were in hell until Jesus came through with the VIP passes. Apparently, the wholly omniscient creator forgot to put them on the guest list. Ain't that some shit? One specific gripe about the story...I'm not digging this whole "emasculated devil" thing. I mean, wallowing in your own filth freezing your ass off with bitch-tears in your eyes at all times? This is the malevolent force that the Christians live in constant fear of, seriously? It's a non-stop temptation to be like HIM? Come on, everybody knows the devil is confusingly sexy and he likes to smoke fancy cigars and drink brandy and wear fine suits and tell hilarious jokes. How else is he supposed to charm us away from the true path? Keep up, Dante...sheesh. Forgive me, father, for I have sinned. THE END! Oh, and if you hated this review, I have a back-up review BELOW: "Papa Said Knock You Out" (aka "The Inferno") by Lil' J.C. ---------------------------------------------------- C'mon man [News Report] And with the local DBT news, J to the motherfuckin' C with a triumphant comeback but tonite... [JC] Don't call it a comeback I been here for years Rockin my peers and puttin suckas in fear Makin the tears rain down like a MON-soon Listen to the bass go BOOM Explosion, overpowerin Over the competition, I'm towerin Wreckin shop, when I drop these lyrics that'll make you call the cops Don't you dare stare, you betta move Don't ever compare Me to the rest that'll all get sliced and diced Competition's payin the price [Chorus:] I'm gonna knock you out (HUUUH!!!) Papa said knock you out (HUUUH!!!) [REPEAT 4X] Don't u call this a regular jam I'm gonna rock this land I'm gonna take this itty bitty world by storm And I'm just gettin warm Just like Muhummad Ali they called him Cassius Watch me bash this beat like a skull Cuz u know I had beef wit Why do u riff with me, the maniac psycho And when I pull out my jammy get ready cuz it might go BLAAAAW, how ya like me now? The river will not allow U to get with, Mr. Smith, dont riff Listen to my gear shift I'm blastin, outlastin Kinda like Shaft, so u could say I'm shaftin Old English filled my mind And I came up with a funky rhyme [Chorus] [JC] Breakdown!!! Shadow boxin when I heard you on the radio (HUUUH!!!) I just don't know What made you forget that I was raw? But now I got a new tour I'm goin insane, startin the hurricane, releasin pain Lettin you know that you can't gain, I maintain Unless ya say my name Rippin, killin Diggin and drillin a hole Pass the Ol' Gold [Chorus] Shotgun blasts are heard When I rip and kill, at WILL The man of the hour, tower of power, I'll devour I'm gonna tie you up and let you understand that I'm not your average man when I got a jammy in my hand DAAAAAM!!!!! Oooooohh!! Listen to the way I slaaaaay, your crew Damage (UHH) damage (UHH) damage (UHH) damage Destruction, terror, and mayhem Pass me a sissy so suckas I'll slay him Farmers (What!!!) Farmers (What!!!) I'm ready (we're ready!!!) I think I'm gonna bomb a town (get down!!) Don't u neva, eva, pull my lever Cuz I explode And my nine is easy to load I gotta thank God Cuz he gave me the strength to rock HARD!! knock you out, papa said knock you out

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Inferno (La Divina Commedia #1) = The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri: Volume 1: Inferno, Dante Alighieri The Divine Comedy is a long narrative poem by Dante Alighieri, begun c. 1308 and completed in 1320, a year before his death, in 1321. It is widely considered the preeminent work in Italian literature, and is seen as one of the greatest works of world literature. The poem's imaginative vision of the afterlife is representative of the medieval world-view as it had developed in the Western Chur Inferno (La Divina Commedia #1) = The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri: Volume 1: Inferno, Dante Alighieri The Divine Comedy is a long narrative poem by Dante Alighieri, begun c. 1308 and completed in 1320, a year before his death, in 1321. It is widely considered the preeminent work in Italian literature, and is seen as one of the greatest works of world literature. The poem's imaginative vision of the afterlife is representative of the medieval world-view as it had developed in the Western Church, by the 14th century. It helped establish the Tuscan language, in which it is written, as the standardized Italian language. It is divided into three parts: Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. تاریخ خوانش: در سال 1968 میلادی عنوان: دوزخ - دانته آلیگیری - کمدی الهی؛ نویسنهد: دانته آلیگیری؛ مترجم: شجاع الدین شفا؛ تهران، امیرکبیر؛ 1335؛ در سه جلد: جلد نخست: دوزخ؛ جلد دوم : برزخ؛ جلد سوم: بهشت؛ چاپ بیست و یکم 1393؛ موضوع: شعر شاعران ایتالیائی - سده ی 14 م نقل از متن: در نیمه راه زندگانی، خویشتن را، در جنگلی تاریک یافتم، زیرا راه راست را گم کرده بودم، و چه دشوار است، وصف این جنگل وحشی و سخت انبوه، که یادش ترس را، در دل بیدار میکند. چنان تلخ است، که مرگ، جز اندکی از آن تلختر نیست، اما من، برای وصف صفایی که در این جنگل یافتم، از دگر چیزهایی که در آن جستم، سخن خواهم گفت. درست نمیتوانم گفت، که چگونه پای بدان نهادم، زیرا هنگامی که شاهراه را ترک گفتم، سخت خواب آلوده بودم. پایان نقل از قسمتی از سرود اول دوزخ. ا. شربیانی

  3. 4 out of 5

    Glenn Russell

    Dante’s Inferno - the first book I was assigned to read in my high school World Literature class. Back then I couldn’t get over how much the emotion of fear set the tone as I read each page. I recently revisited this classic. Rather than a more conventional review – after all, there really is nothing I can add as a way of critical commentary –- as a tribute to the great poet, I would like to share the below microfiction I wrote a number of years ago: JOYRIDE One balmy July evening at a seaside a Dante’s Inferno - the first book I was assigned to read in my high school World Literature class. Back then I couldn’t get over how much the emotion of fear set the tone as I read each page. I recently revisited this classic. Rather than a more conventional review – after all, there really is nothing I can add as a way of critical commentary –- as a tribute to the great poet, I would like to share the below microfiction I wrote a number of years ago: JOYRIDE One balmy July evening at a seaside amusement park, Hector and his date strolled past the merry-go-round, toddlers’ swings and tooting fire engine out to the more hair-raising rides. At the very end of the pier, beyond the Wild Mouse and giant Ferris wheel, there was a new roller coaster that looked pretty frightening. Not only did the tracks have steep climbs and amazing plunges but there was an opening in the boardwalk where the roller coaster took its passengers under the pier. "Look,” Hector said, pointing to the hole in the boardwalk, “I’ve never seen a roller coaster whose tracks go beneath the surface.” “Oh!” his date squealed, eager for as much of a thrill as the amusements had to offer, “that must really be scary. Let’s go.” They took their place in line behind the last thrill-seeker and watched as the roller coaster ascended, hurled down and sped around hairpin turns, finally climbing the highest hump of track and descending to where the track ran beneath the pier. Hector looked over at the spot in the boardwalk from which the train would eventually reemerge. He waited and waited. This was taking much more time than he though. Hector’s girlfriend squeezed his hand. “Wow! I bet they’re really getting spooked down there.” Hector heard shrieks coming from some place underneath their feet – shrieks not of delight or pleasure but shrieks to make your blood run cold. “Oh, I can’t wait!” his date said, tugging at his shirtsleeve. Hector crouched down to hear the shrieks and howls more clearly. Waves of heat rising from the spaces between the wooden boards of the boardwalk burned his face. After several uneasy moments he stood back up and watched as the roller coaster finally rolled through the cavernous opening in the boardwalk and stopped near the line. All of the passengers’ faces were ashen and a middle-aged woman in the front seat was weeping on her husband’s shoulder. “This must really be something,” Hector’s date said. One terrified passenger unbuckled herself and climbed out. She walked past, eyes downcast, and Hector could both see and smell her hair was singed. And if this wasn’t enough, the cheerless bearded man running the ride collected everyone’s tickets and pronounced lots would be drawn to determine who would have to ride in the first car. Hector’s date called out that if nobody else wanted, she would gladly volunteer for the front seat. When the old man nodded, she pulled Hector by the hand to the front of the roller coaster and strapped him in next to her. Hector noticed for the first time the name of this ride – spelled out in red iridescent letters over their heads was “DANTE’S INFERNO.” Hector slunk down in his seat next to his girlfriend, who was now giggling and playfully poking him in the ribs. As the roller coaster began moving, Hector tried to console himself with the grim fact that everyone on the preceding ride did at least come back alive.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Michael Finocchiaro

    One of the great classics that everyone should attempt reading once. For Walking Dead fans, had there been no Dante, there could never have been a Kirkman. There is incredible violence and suffering (it is Hell after all), but the relationship between Virgil and Dante is a beautiful one that evolves as their descend lower and lower. I read both the John Ciardi translation in verse (rhyming for the first and third lines in each stanza trying to keep to Dante's 11-syllable structure) and John M Sin One of the great classics that everyone should attempt reading once. For Walking Dead fans, had there been no Dante, there could never have been a Kirkman. There is incredible violence and suffering (it is Hell after all), but the relationship between Virgil and Dante is a beautiful one that evolves as their descend lower and lower. I read both the John Ciardi translation in verse (rhyming for the first and third lines in each stanza trying to keep to Dante's 11-syllable structure) and John M Sinclair's prose translation (which also includes the original on the left pages). Both are highly commendable and have great notes and footnotes. "Midway in our life's journey, I went astray from the straight road, and woke to find myself alone in a dark wood." Here Dante shows that the book is autobiographical ("I went astray") and at the same time universal ("our life's journey"). It also moves between dreaming and reality ("I went astray...and work") which characterizes his depictions of hell, purgatory, and paradise that follow. The forboding of the "dark wood" is a perfect introduction to the description of hell that awaits us. Even the fact that he strayed from the "straight road" seems to presage the curvy, circular path he will take through hell's many circles. This is one of my favorite openings and chills me a bit whenever I reread it. If I were to see this book at a painting, the first one that comes to mind is Guernica by Picasso where the suffering is so painfully evident - albeit in black and white perhaps echoing the black text on the white page. The implicit condemnation of the perpetrators and the overall feeling of suffering in Inferno as in Guernica is overwhelming. I suppose I could also choose from one of Otto Dix's paintings or Bosch's but the very first that I thought of was Picasso.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Manny

    Since it's Good Friday, and thus exactly 717 years since Dante's pilgrim descended into the underworld, I thought it would be an auspicious moment to tell people about the project I've been pursuing together with Dr Sabina Sestigiani, an Italian lecturer at Swinburne University in Melbourne. Dante's poem is celebrated as one of the treasures of world literature - but it is not very accessible, being written in archaic Italian. Although there are translations, and even these are wonderful, a tran Since it's Good Friday, and thus exactly 717 years since Dante's pilgrim descended into the underworld, I thought it would be an auspicious moment to tell people about the project I've been pursuing together with Dr Sabina Sestigiani, an Italian lecturer at Swinburne University in Melbourne. Dante's poem is celebrated as one of the treasures of world literature - but it is not very accessible, being written in archaic Italian. Although there are translations, and even these are wonderful, a translation of a poem can never be more than a shadow of the original. T.S. Eliot famously advised people just to dive in and start reading. It worked for Eliot, and you feel that in principle it must be the right approach. All the same, most readers find it a daunting prospect. We wondered if there was any way to make the voyage easier. Using the CALL platform we've developed at Geneva University, Sabina and I have been putting together a first version of what a electronic poetry appreciation assistant might look like. If you have a headset and you're on Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Explorer - I'm afraid we don't yet have it available for mobile devices - try going here. Log in as 'guest' (no password required) and click 'Allow' on the popup to let the app access your microphone. You should now be on a screen that looks like this: On the right, there's a scrollable pane with the first 30 lines of the Inferno in slightly modernised Italian orthography. You can hover your mouse over any line to see it in Longfellow's English translation - we chose Longfellow since he's both a great poet in his own right and translates very literally. At the top, there's an embedded audio file where you can hear Sabina reading the text aloud. Italians who've tried out the app have been complimentary about her interpretation. On the left, we have an area where you can practise reading yourself. You're shown the poem one line at a time. If you press the Help button (question-mark icon), you'll get Longfellow's translation and hear Sabina reading just that line. The intention is that you should listen a few times, then press on the Record button (microphone icon), keep it pressed down while speaking, and release. You should hear your voice echoed back, and the app will let you know if you said it approximately right: you'll get a green border for "okay", red for "try again". You use the arrows to move to the next and previous lines. We currently have six extracts loaded, taken from Canti I (opening), III (the Gates of Hell), V (Paolo and Francesca), X (Farinata), XXVI (Ulisse) and XXXIII (Ugolino). You can find the other extracts by using the Lesson tab on the left. Speaking just for myself, I've found the app very helpful for developing my appreciation of the beautiful language; I've soon got to the point where I want to learn pieces by heart, and find myself repeating them mentally. We're curious to hear what people think - please let us know! If you want to try creating your own interactive versions of poems, it's straightforward and just involves copying text onto a spreadsheet and recording the audio using an online tool. Message me and I'll send you details. Happy Easter! ______________________ My multi-talented colleague Irene Strasly (she makes a guest appearance in this review) has used the platform to create interactive versions of several of her own poems. Italians who've heard them say they're quite good. ______________________ Two poems by Antonia Pozzi. Here is the first one, with a beautiful translation by Peter Robinson: Amore di lontananza Ricordo che, quand'ero nella casa della mia mamma, in mezzo alla pianura, avevo una finestra che guardava sui prati. In fondo, l'argine boscoso nascondeva il Ticino e, ancor più in fondo, c'era una striscia scura di colline. Io allora non avevo visto il mare che una sol volta, ma ne conservavo un'aspra nostalgia da innamorata. Verso sera fissavo l'orizzonte socchiudevo un po' gli occhi. Accarezzavo i contorni e i colori tra le ciglia: e la striscia dei colli si spianava, tremula, azzurra: a me pareva il mare e mi piaceva più del mare vero. Love of distance I remember, when in my mother’s house, in the middle of the plain, I had a window that looked onto the meadows; far off, the wooded bank hid the Ticino and, further on, there was a dark line of hills. Back then I’d only seen the sea one time, but preserved of it a sharp nostalgia as when in love. Towards evening I stared at the skyline; narrowed my eyes a little; caressed outlines and colours between my lids; and the line of hills flattened out, trembling, azure: and seemed the sea to me and pleased me more than the real sea.She wrote it in 1929, when she was only seventeen. Nine years later, she was dead. ______________________ Our friend Kirsten has added an interactive English poem - Shakespeare's sonnet CXXXVIII, which I'd never properly noticed before. You can find it here.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bill Kerwin

    An excellent translation--even better than John Ciardi. Like Ciardi, Pinsky is a real poet and makes Dante the poet come alive. His verse has muscularity and force, and his decision to use half-rhyme is an excellent one, since it allows us to attend to the narrative undistracted.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Manny

    The other day, in the comment thread to her review of The Aeneid, Meredith called The Divine Comedy "lame": specifically, she objected to the fact that Dante put all the people he didn't like in Hell. Well, Meredith, you're perfectly welcome to your opinions - but I'm half Italian, and I've been politely informed that if I don't respond in some way I'm likely to wake up some morning and find a horse's head lying next to me. So here goes. I actually have two separate defenses. First, let's conside The other day, in the comment thread to her review of The Aeneid, Meredith called The Divine Comedy "lame": specifically, she objected to the fact that Dante put all the people he didn't like in Hell. Well, Meredith, you're perfectly welcome to your opinions - but I'm half Italian, and I've been politely informed that if I don't respond in some way I'm likely to wake up some morning and find a horse's head lying next to me. So here goes. I actually have two separate defenses. First, let's consider Dante's artistic choices, given that he's planned to write a huge epic poem where he's going to visit Hell, Purgatory and Heaven, each of which is divided up into a large number of smaller areas corresponding to differents sins and virtues. Now, who is he going to meet there? One option would be to have allegorical figures directly representing Pride, Wrath, Charity etc. That's what Bunyan did in The Pilgrim's Progress, but most people agree that it's not a very good solution: The Divine Comedy is much more fun than The Pilgrim's Progress. Or he could just make people up, but then he wouldn't have any space for character development, and you'd never be able to keep track of all the invented figures. Lindsay tried that route in A Voyage to Arcturus , and, even though the book's worth reading, he showed how hard it is to make it work. Every time someone interesting turns up, they always seem to get killed fifteen pages later. I think the choice Dante made was the best one: to use real people. Of course, it is a bit presumptuous to decide that the ones going to Hell are mostly guys he doesn't like, but nothing else makes sense. If you want damned souls to populate the Hell of the Hypocrites, isn't Caiaphas, the high priest who falsely condemned Jesus, a sensible choice? If you're looking for Traitors to Lords and Benefactors, then don't Brutus and Cassius fit pretty well? And every now and then he meets his friends down there too. His beloved teacher Brunetto Latini is damned for sodomy, which shocks Dante just as much as it does me, but in his world-view it makes perfect sense; homosexuality is plain wrong, that's all there is to it. Okay, that was my first defense. My second is that it's far too simplistic to say that Dante is self-righteously damning all his enemies and extolling his own virtues. The theme that continually comes back through the first two books is that Pride is the root of all sin, and Dante is very conscious of his own sinful nature. For example, he's way too happy to gloat over the fact that his enemy Filippo Argenti has been condemned to the Hell of the Wrathful, and Virgil gently points out the irony. Then, later, he has to spend the whole of Book 2 climbing up Mount Purgatory, which is hard work. He's got plenty of sins to purge. To me, the real problem with Dante is that his world is so very different from mine, and I keep having to scramble to the footnotes to get the necessary background; so it's hard to keep the flow of the book, since you're constantly being interrupted. But even so, it's still a remarkable piece of work. We just don't think seriously any more about the nature of Good and Evil, Sin and Redemption. Dante's world thought they were crucially important, and he's one of the few people who's still able to give us a window into that view of life. It's nowhere near as irrelevant as we like to make out. Don Corleone, will this do? Or do I have to add footnotes as well?

  8. 4 out of 5

    Hamad

    This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found @The Book Prescription “But the stars that marked our starting fall away. We must go deeper into greater pain, for it is not permitted that we stay.” 🌟 Basically this book is about Dante’s journey in hell, so it must be one hell of a book, right? 🌟 I am not actually the biggest fan of modern poetry. I have tried books as The princess saves herself in this one and Milk and simply did not like them because they felt like a Facebook or a Tumblr p This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found @The Book Prescription “But the stars that marked our starting fall away. We must go deeper into greater pain, for it is not permitted that we stay.” 🌟 Basically this book is about Dante’s journey in hell, so it must be one hell of a book, right? 🌟 I am not actually the biggest fan of modern poetry. I have tried books as The princess saves herself in this one and Milk and simply did not like them because they felt like a Facebook or a Tumblr post more than a book. Just put some words in certain topics in a column and that’s it. 🌟 I may have gone to the other extremity when I read a book written in 1300. And I was not disappointed. Dante is known as one of history’s greatest authors and you can see that in the writing style. I will take this opportunity to thanks the genius-being who is the translator. To be able to capture the essence, the rhyme and the messages in another language while maintaining the originality is no easy task. And he outdid himself in this one. 🌟 This is not a typical book, I mean there is no character development and plot twists because this is freaking hell! People are tortured here and not supposed to develop. Lol! A point that Dante clearly emphasized is that the punishment is equal to the sin. For example : In the third circle, the gluttonous wallow in a vile, putrid slush produced by a ceaseless, foul, icy rain – “a great storm of putrefaction” – as punishment for subjecting their reason to a voracious appetite. 🌟 But one thing I am not sure about is how the author was censorious enough to pass judgement on many important figures. He decided that some people as Saladin and Prophet Mohamet were in hell and he even decided what circles to put them in. A slightly offending thing because it was clearly biased. 🌟Summary: A not so typical journey and a not so typical book. If you’re looking to read a slightly heavy book that affected literature (according to my friend who studies Eng lit) then this is what you are looking for.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Nomen-Mutatio

    THIS BOOK IS ABOUT HOW HELL IS GONNA SUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK

  10. 4 out of 5

    Nefariousbig

    A fantastic representation of Dante's Inferno - Nine Circles of Hell as divined by divine Lego artist, Mahai Marius Mihu. This is as close as I hope to get to understanding the Nine Circles according to Dante Alighieri. i. LIMBO - A place of monotony, here the souls are punished to wander in restless existence while they moan helplessly in echoes between the ruins of a temple ii. LUST - Surrounded by erotic representations, those overcome by lust are forced to watch and experience disgusting thin A fantastic representation of Dante's Inferno - Nine Circles of Hell as divined by divine Lego artist, Mahai Marius Mihu. This is as close as I hope to get to understanding the Nine Circles according to Dante Alighieri. i. LIMBO - A place of monotony, here the souls are punished to wander in restless existence while they moan helplessly in echoes between the ruins of a temple ii. LUST - Surrounded by erotic representations, those overcome by lust are forced to watch and experience disgusting things, ultimately being condemned to drown in the menstrual river iii. GLUTTONY - The circle itself is a living abomination, a hellish digestive system revealing horrific faces with mouths ready to devour the gluttons over and over for eternity iv. GREED - This pompous place is reserved for the punishment of the greedy ones v. ANGER - In this depressing place the souls are trapped in the swamp, they can’t move and they cannot manifest their frustration which is making them even more angry vi. HERESY - The giant demon watches closely over his fire pit, dwarfing the damned that are dragging the new arrivals in the boiling lava. Those who committed the greatest sins against God are getting a special treatment inside the temple where they are doomed to burn for eternity in the scorching flames vii. VIOLENCE - A place of intense torture where the horrific screams of the damned are eternally accompanied by the hellish beats of drums viii. FRAUD - : In Fraud the Demons enjoy altering the shape of souls, this is how they feed ix. TREACHERY - Lucifer lies here chained by the Angelic Seal which keeps him captive in the frozen environment ARTIST – Mahai Marius Mihu (All rights and photographs are property of Mahai Marius Mihu/Rex Features. I claim no ownership to any information in this review, and I own absolutely no rights to any of the property mentioned herein.)

  11. 4 out of 5

    emma

    whoa this book is wild. in place of a review of this whole book, i'm just going to write about this single line in Inferno that i full on cannot stop thinking about. warning: this is completely nasty. blame Dante. also: all credit goes out to my literary foundations professor. i'm essentially regurgitating his argument. in Canto XXXIII, the pilgrim encounters Count Ugolino. Ugolino, a former governor of Pisa, is feasting on the neck of Archbishop Ruggieri. in life, Ruggieri betrayed him, leading t whoa this book is wild. in place of a review of this whole book, i'm just going to write about this single line in Inferno that i full on cannot stop thinking about. warning: this is completely nasty. blame Dante. also: all credit goes out to my literary foundations professor. i'm essentially regurgitating his argument. in Canto XXXIII, the pilgrim encounters Count Ugolino. Ugolino, a former governor of Pisa, is feasting on the neck of Archbishop Ruggieri. in life, Ruggieri betrayed him, leading to his imprisonment. Ugolino was trapped in a tower along with his four sons. as days passed and Ugolino and his sons began to hunger, Ugolino bit into his own hands. his children bade him to eat them before he'd eat himself: "Father, it would be far less painful for us if you ate of us; for you clothed us in this sad flesh it is for you to strip it off." on the fourth day of imprisonment, the first of his sons died. the remaining three died over the next two days. Ugolino concludes: "Then hunger proved more powerful than grief." CAN. YOU. BELIEVE. THAT. DOUBLE. MEANING. either this guy should have died of his grief, but rather died of starvation, or - you know what's coming - homeboy ate his sons. I MEAN. that's impressive stuff, but it's not even over!! Dante is often called a "theological poet." however, theology and poetry are opposed when it comes to the trajectory of Inferno. if it's a theological work, then we should feel less compassion for the people we encounter as we progress, because Dante is descending in hell and meeting more and more sinful people. but if it's a tragedy (or poetic), then we should feel more compassion, because the peak of pity has to occur toward the end of the work for the sake of catharsis. so which side of Dante is the dominant side when it comes to Inferno? it's been the subject of scholarly argument for centuries. the really impressive, unbelievable, can't-stop-thinking-about-it thing: this entire argument comes down to this single line - Canto XXXIII, line 75: "Then hunger proved more powerful than grief." because either Ugolino is a story of immense tragedy, a story of near-faultless suffering, and we should pity him immesnely - or he's committed the horrifying, grotesque sin of eating the bodies of his children when cannibalism would not aid his long-term survival, and we should be largely unable to pity him! and it's completely ambiguous. we'll never know. Dante, you madman. bottom line: !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Manuel Antão

    If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. Sortes Vergilianae: "The Inferno of Dante" by Dante Alighieri, Robert Pinsky (trans.) What I love about Dante is how he doesn't invoke the Muses, unlike Homer, or Virgil, and that he goes straight to the heart of the matter, and straight in to the poem, i.e. "In the midway of this our mortal life, I found me in a gloomy wood, astray, gone from the path direct". In the middle of his life Dante is lost in a dark wood, the man he most admi If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. Sortes Vergilianae: "The Inferno of Dante" by Dante Alighieri, Robert Pinsky (trans.) What I love about Dante is how he doesn't invoke the Muses, unlike Homer, or Virgil, and that he goes straight to the heart of the matter, and straight in to the poem, i.e. "In the midway of this our mortal life, I found me in a gloomy wood, astray, gone from the path direct". In the middle of his life Dante is lost in a dark wood, the man he most admires, a fellow poet, takes him by the hand and leads him through hell and purgatory, but when they reach the entry for Paradise, Virgil must give way to Beatrice, love is greater than wisdom, Dante's love for Beatrice, his desire for wisdom, what follows is exquisite poetry, and both Botticelli and Dali make an effort to capture the genius that resides there, as words, Virgil's trade, and Dante's, cede to inner knowing, as they ascend, then transcend, life, and reach beyond star and sun into the vast blue. TS Eliot wrote that Dante and Shakespeare "divide the world between them-there is no third." But is it exquisite poetry in English translation? I very much doubt it. The 1970s Penguin verse translation I read by Mark Susa was rubbish. Now I listened to an Audiobook with a translation by Robert Pinsky. Think I'll take T.S. Eliot's advice: use a prose translation if you must but learn Italian if you're serious about getting anything out of Dante's poetry (Portuguese and Italian both came from the same mold, Latin, but they're two very different languages). If you're into Medieval Literature, read on.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Leo .

    Maybe Dante was referring to the levels of materialism. The more one has the more one wants, spiraling downwards, deeper and deeper until the matter consumes. So dense and dark with matter and at absolute evil, Hell, where Satan resides.🐯👍

  14. 5 out of 5

    James

    Book Review 4 out of 5 stars to Inferno, the first of three books in the "Divine Comedy" series, written around 1320 by Dante Alighieri. A few pieces of background information for those who many not know, before I get into a mini-review. Inferno, which means "Hell" was one of three books Dante wrote in the 14th century, essentially about the three spaces people occupy after death: Hell (Inferno), Purgatory and Heaven (Paradiso). I've only read Inferno, so I'm not able to discuss much on the o Book Review 4 out of 5 stars to Inferno, the first of three books in the "Divine Comedy" series, written around 1320 by Dante Alighieri. A few pieces of background information for those who many not know, before I get into a mini-review. Inferno, which means "Hell" was one of three books Dante wrote in the 14th century, essentially about the three spaces people occupy after death: Hell (Inferno), Purgatory and Heaven (Paradiso). I've only read Inferno, so I'm not able to discuss much on the other two, but I'd like to some day. They were not written in English, so I have read a translated version. These works are considered comparable in fame and beauty as those of William Shakespeare. OK... that said, my thoughts: For as long as people have been alive, Christians, that is, they have worried about what happens after death, turning to God and the Bible. In the 14th century, religion was one of the only things people did with their lives besides work and raise a family. They had a lot of time to spend on it, wondering what might happen. Dante captures the exact sentiments we've all felt throughout our lives, and he displays it through the nine circles or gates of hell. He presents it as a torture for all those who did bad things while they were alive. The story, in its basic form, is Dante himself traveling in a boat through the river that runs through Hell, stopping to see each realm. He's led by the famous poet Virgil. He encounters people or archetypes of people he knew and those he's heard of. Essentially, it's a story of justice and the contradictions in religious beliefs for all of God's followers. Dante pushed people to think about their actions and beliefs. And he created a story based on his own journey to say everything he felt about what he's experienced in life. It's full of questions. It's been the basis for so many movies, books and plays in the future. It's so often quoted or referenced, it's literally one of the most famous works around... and to think it was written nearly 700 years ago is amazing. Though it's no where near a comparison, it reminds me a little bit of The Ninth Gate, a movie with Johnny Depp, that I love, about people trying to reach the Devil. And it's a translation of a new Spanish author I'm very fond of: Arturo Perez-Reverte. I've read one of his books and plan to read The Club Dumas soon. As for this one, I encourage everyone to find a passage from The Divine Comedy, even if you prefer Paradise or Purgatory, something a tad more positive, just to see the language and the lyrics Dante shares. It's beautiful. I could go on and on, but hopefully this is enough to wet your appetite. About Me For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Maureen

    I DID IT. I FINISHED IT. BLESS. This is such an interesting book, though definitely very hard to get through. I think if I was able to read it in Italian it would be a little easier as it would actually be read like Dante intended, but it's still really cool to see all the concepts! This is such an influential piece of literature and is referenced SO MUCH in culture that it is really cool to have a basis for it. I think I may reread this in a different rhyming translation next time to see what th I DID IT. I FINISHED IT. BLESS. This is such an interesting book, though definitely very hard to get through. I think if I was able to read it in Italian it would be a little easier as it would actually be read like Dante intended, but it's still really cool to see all the concepts! This is such an influential piece of literature and is referenced SO MUCH in culture that it is really cool to have a basis for it. I think I may reread this in a different rhyming translation next time to see what that would be like, though I know the rhyming translation leaves a lot of the content out, or I may read a more modern translation so it will be easier for me to understand. Either way, I'm really glad I read this! Dante's version of hell is so interesting and poetic (har har) that it's hard not to like it. NOTE TO SELF AND OTHER READERS: LONGFELLOW TRANSLATION IS OLD ENGLISH. If you would rather NOT read old english, pick something else. I read Longfellow's translation the whole way through and just looked at another (why i waited this long I have no idea) and the other was a lot easier to read! SO JUST FYI!

  16. 5 out of 5

    7jane

    (2016: review to 9780141195872 cover - hardback, red devils cover art:) (I didn't read the main text of this one, but I think I will read the English half at some point.) This one has chronology, introduction, map of Italy, plan of Hell plus commentaries and notes at the end. The main text itself is shown with Italian text on the left side, English on the right side. Commentaries include many comments on the linguistic details that I don't remember the paperback Penguin version having. There is al (2016: review to 9780141195872 cover - hardback, red devils cover art:) (I didn't read the main text of this one, but I think I will read the English half at some point.) This one has chronology, introduction, map of Italy, plan of Hell plus commentaries and notes at the end. The main text itself is shown with Italian text on the left side, English on the right side. Commentaries include many comments on the linguistic details that I don't remember the paperback Penguin version having. There is also a cord for bookmarking one's place. I don't know exactly why I would want another copy of this book, but it just looked good. The Inferno (edit: I mean, Hell) is not my favorite of the three, but I can see why it would be the most popular - it certainly can feel exciting and the religion part is less in the front. (And also you can feel the climb from how especially the Paradise can feel like a place where air is thin :) ) So getting this was more about liking the whole, not just this part. But it is enjoyable kind of a book. Again.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Algernon (Darth Anyan)

    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 be 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 a choice as the lightbearer showing the way to redemption, as Virgil was to the poet on his descent into Hell. Nell mezzo del camin di nostra vita mi ritrovai per una selva oscura che la diritta via era smarrita." Right from the start it is evident that the poet's major talent is to say so much with such economy of words and with such elegance. Page after page of commentary has been written about these famous opening lines. The key to deciphering the poem is here: an allegorical journey of self discovery and liberation from doubts, uncertainty and fear. Dante is the hero of his own epic poem, and he starts with a confession of how he almost lost his faith in his search for the ultimate truth through the books of ancient philosophers and the myths and legends that have been passed on from antiquity. But Human Reason on its own is not enough, and salvation for Dante can come only by way of Divine intercession. Somebody up there loves him (Beatrice, the love of his life, symbol of purity and innocence, taken away to Heaven in her early youth). She sends a guide to help Dante on his perilous journey: the Roman poet Virgil, the mentor and personal hero of our narrator. Together they must pass through the underground halls of the damned, there to witness the justice administered by a stern God upon sinners of every variety. Only after renouncing and condemning sin, can the upward journey begin. Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate Another famous quote that has entered into the world's cultural heritage marks the gate to the depths of eternal torment and despair. I have no intention of enumerating every level of the arhitecture of Hell and every lost soul that Dante and Virgil encounters. What impressed me most though was the rigid organization and the careful planning of each punishment, designed to reflect the gravity of the crime and to correctly assign the torment most appropriate for each category of sinner. For example, thieves must steal from one another the very shapes in which they appear. Nothing is left to chance, and accurate maps can and have been drawn of the allegorical geography of Hell, its nine concentric and descending level, its dark rivers and fiery pits. Instead of chaos and anarchy I discovered an inflexible and merciless order, with Minos as the judge who weights each soul's guilt and then sends them to their correct circle and niche, like with like, crime and punishment linked together for eternity. There is no place for pity here. Who is more arrogant within his soul, who is more impious than one who dares to sorrow at God's judgment. The escalation of dread and horror is well served by the poet's imagination, who starts the journey with sights and dialogues still anchored and related to the world above, but grows more grim and grotesque as the deeper levels are reached. Monsters and tortures grow more elaborate, more frightening, more inventive with each circle, until the senses are overwhelmed and humbled. The main lesson in Hell is to be aware of the wages of sin: O endless wrath of God: how utterly thou shouldst become a terror to all men who read the frightful truths revealed to me! And an example of a gargoyle riding a centaur, an image worthy of the brush of Brueghel: Upon his shoulders, just behind his head a snorting dragon whose hot breath set fire to all it touched, lay with its wings outspred. Coming back to the sinners Dante meets in his downward journey, it should be noticed that he is not above paying back some personal political woes, by placing his contemporaries and adversaries inside particularly gruesome torture chambers. These human foibles, coupled with the apparent vanity and pride of the poet conscious of his worth as an equal of the ancient masters, are a source of humour and gentle irony at his own fallible nature, a more enchanting and entertaining portrait than his pious and hollier than thou alter ego. As a literary device, Dante uses prophecy to warn about the risks of the future of his beloved Florence, from which he was exiled by conspiracies within his own party, aided and abetted by the papal legate: Two are honest, but none will head them. There, pride, avarice, and envy are the tongues men know and heed, a Babel of despair. I should also mention the major political aspect of the poem, on one hand denouncing the corrupt and venal warring families of Tuscany, and on the other launching impassioned attacks on the degradation of the church in its power games and search for material governance. These ideas will be later developed into a pamphlet (De Monarchia) that was quickly put on the list of forbidden books by the papacy. Dante argues in favor of a secular government coupled with a church that renounces wealth and power and takes care only of the spiritual needs of its flock. He is well ahead of his time in this humanist plea for separation of powers and in his references to the ancient philosophers. Another major appeal of the journey for me was the recognition of many of the mythological characters residing in Hell. The most often referenced sources are Ovid with his metamorphoses and Virgil with his Aeneid, but the erudition and the variety of Dante's interests (history, cosmology, art, etc) are reason enough to name him among the greatest personalities of a nascent Renaissance movement. Much has also been said and praised about his liberation of the Italian language from the restrictions and limitations of Church latin, putting his vision into the live and colourful 'vulgata' dialect of the people. John Ciardi has this to say about the style of the poem, and he should know best, as a poet himself and a native speaker of Italian : I do not imply that Dante's is the language of common speech. It is a much better thing than that: it is what common speech would be if it were made perfect. Like Cervantes and Shakespeare centuries later, Dante stands as a national idol that defines a culture and makes it universal. I did try to read some of his verses in the original Italian and I was struck by the musicality and the rhythm that is so difficult to translate in another language. Ciardi did an excellent job in keeping the faith with this singsong quality of the poem, even if he is said to have taken liberties with the actual content. Not being a scholar or a purist, I was well satisfied with the result, especially as he kept the introductions and the end of canto notes to a minimum, allowing me to get immersed in the story instead of chasing endless commentaries and interpretations. The Ciardi translation is also the reason I am reviewing separately the three books that comprise the Commedia (The Divine was apparently an appelation added by later commentators) , as I have them published individually. I should warn though that The Inferno is not a standalone book. In the big concept of Dante's allegory, it is only the first step towards salvation, and the next two books are just as important in the final judgement. I had several more notes and quotes saved, but I'll stop for now, hoping I've managed to convince some of my friends to put Dante on their reading lists. In the words of Arnie: "I'll be back!" (After Purgatory)

  18. 4 out of 5

    Riku Sayuj

    About Translation It took me a while to decide on the translation to use. After a few days of research and asking around, I shortlisted Musa and Hollander. Went with Hollander since it seemed better organized. Turned out to be a good choice. The translation is fluid and easy on the ear. The Italian version is also available when you want to just read the Italian purely for the sound of verse. I am no judge of the fidelity of the various translations, but this was an easy read and that was good. Th About Translation It took me a while to decide on the translation to use. After a few days of research and asking around, I shortlisted Musa and Hollander. Went with Hollander since it seemed better organized. Turned out to be a good choice. The translation is fluid and easy on the ear. The Italian version is also available when you want to just read the Italian purely for the sound of verse. I am no judge of the fidelity of the various translations, but this was an easy read and that was good. There is enough difficulty in the poem without the translation adding to it. Besides, Dante’s own Italian is supposed to be written in an unaffected style anyway. To me the more important consideration in choosing the edition was the quality of the footnotes and the ease of accessing them. About Footnotes Here the notes are scholarly yet accessible with very little arcane stuff (and mind you this is a classic for which proper footnotes are essential to the reading to keep up with the erudition (classical, political, geographical, etc) displayed by Dante throughout the Comedia). As an intro to the Longfellow translation (Barnes & Nobles: The Inferno: The Longfellow Translation) says: The best advice to the reader of The Divine Comedy in general and to the Inferno in particular is to pay attention to the literal sense of the poem. The greatest poetry in Dante resides in the literal sense of the work, its graphic descriptions of the sinners, their characters, and their punishments. In like manner, the greatest and most satisfying intellectual achievement of the poem comes from the reader’s understanding (and not necessarily agreement with) Dante’s complex view of morality, or the sinful world that God’s punishment is designed to correct. In most cases, a concrete appreciation of the small details of his poem will almost always lead to surprising but satisfying discoveries about the universe Dante’s poetry has created. Or As Ciardi’s (The Inferno) intro says: Dante demands more careful reading. Because of that demand, because of the immense and minute scholarship that has been expended upon Dante, and because too few English readers have been pointed in the right direction to him, Dante has acquired a reputation as an immensely difficult poet. It is true that Dante writes in depth. Though his language is normally simple, his thought is normally complex. But if the gold of Dante runs deep, it also runs right up to the surface. A lifetime of devoted scholarship will not mine all that gold; yet enough lies on the surface—or just an inch below—to make a first reading a bonanza in itself. All one really needs is some first instruction in what to look for. Thereafter he need only follow the vein as it goes deeper and deeper into the core of things. But of course, footnotes is not all. The footnotes are like our Virgil through these pages, the guide that is Reason. But at some point we have to surrender to the Poet to truly fathom its depth of feeling. +++ After I finished Hollander I raced through the Ciardi translation, without pausing for the notes much. I also hope to read Carson (NYRB - Inferno) in the future. Earlier I had read the Inferno with Longfellow, and sad to say I had been left as scared as Dante at the beginning of his own journey after that encounter. Hollander is the one who offered to be this reader’s gentle Virgil. Overall the Ciardi translation is grander and more familiar - since a good chunk of the famous quotes and phrases come from it, and Ciardi also tries to force us into looking at the symbolism of the poetry overtly by pointing it out at the very beginning of his cantos. This is helpful, but in the final analysis, the Hollander is the better choice for the new reader. So in case you are searching for the right translation and using that as an excuse to procrastinate (like me), you can go with Hollander and get down to it. +++ For Comparison John Ciardi: Midway in our life’s journey, I went astray from the straight road and woke to find myself alone in a dark wood. How shall I say what wood that was! I never saw so drear, so rank, so arduous a wilderness! Its very memory gives a shape to fear. Death could scarce be more bitter than that place! But since it came to good, I will recount all that I found revealed there by God’s grace. How I came to it I cannot rightly say, so drugged and loose with sleep had I become when I first wandered there from the True Way. But at the far end of that valley of evil whose maze had sapped my very heart with fear! I found myself before a little hill and lifted up my eyes. Its shoulders glowed already with the sweet rays of that planet whose virtue leads men straight on every road, and the shining strengthened me against the fright whose agony had wracked the lake of my heart through all the terrors of that piteous night. & ABANDON ALL HOPE YE WHO ENTER HERE. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: MIDWAY upon the journey of our life I found myself within a forest dark, For the straightforward pathway had been lost. Ah me! how hard a thing it is to say What was this forest savage, rough, and stern, Which in the very thought renews the fear. So bitter is it, death is little more; But of the good to treat, which there I found, Speak will I of the other things I saw there. I cannot well repeat how there I entered, So full was I of slumber at the moment In which I had abandoned the true way. But after I had reached a mountain’s foot, At that point where the valley terminated, Which had with consternation pierced my heart, Upward I looked, and I beheld its shoulders, Vested already with that planet’s rays Which leadeth others right by every road. Then was the fear a little quieted That in my heart’s lake had endured throughout The night, which I had passed so piteously. & All hope abandon, ye who enter in! Robert & Jean Hollander: Midway in the journey of our life I came to myself in a dark wood, for the straight way was lost. Ah, how hard it is to tell the nature of that wood, savage, dense and harsh— the very thought of it renews my fear! It is so bitter death is hardly more so. But to set forth the good I found I will recount the other things I saw. How I came there I cannot really tell, I was so full of sleep when I forsook the one true way. But when I reached the foot of a hill, there where the valley ended that had pierced my heart with fear, looking up, I saw its shoulders arrayed in the first light of the planet that leads men straight, no matter what their road. Then the fear that had endured in the lake of my heart, all the night I spent in such distress, was calmed. & Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate (Inf. 3.9) ABANDON ALL HOPE, YOU WHO ENTER HERE.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    For the Celebrity Death Match Review Tournament, The Complete Tales and Poems of Winnie-the-Pooh versus The Divine Comedy (All citations from the Inferno are from the Longfellow translation.) To You Paw in paw we come Pooh and the Bouncer To lay this review in your lap. Give us one of those sultry little smiles and say you're surprised! Say you can't get over it! Say it's just what you've always wanted and it's even more fun than a day at the spa (because, let's face it, hunny honey, on my salary I couldn' For the Celebrity Death Match Review Tournament, The Complete Tales and Poems of Winnie-the-Pooh versus The Divine Comedy (All citations from the Inferno are from the Longfellow translation.) To You Paw in paw we come Pooh and the Bouncer To lay this review in your lap. Give us one of those sultry little smiles and say you're surprised! Say you can't get over it! Say it's just what you've always wanted and it's even more fun than a day at the spa (because, let's face it, hunny honey, on my salary I couldn't afford to give you a day at the spa). Because it's all yours-- Because we think... well, because you're just drawn that way! (And wouldn't old E. H. Shepard just have a fit if he could see us all together now!) Oh, wait a minute... Here's a note from the Poet too. He just wants to say: To see your face is like a foretaste of Paradise. Isn't that sweet? CANTO I In Which Pooh and Piglet Go on an Expotition with a Very Inflooenshul Poet Pooh was wandering round and round and round in the Hundred-Acre Wood. His friend Piglet was with him to keep him company. After they had been walking for some time, they looked around and noticed there was a Man walking along beside them. He had rather strange clothes on and looked lost. Piglet worried that perhaps this was Trespassers William come to reclaim his house and his sign. (You see, Pooh's little friend had told everyone that Trespassers was his grandfather, but it wasn't really true!) “Whatever will I do if I have to find another place to live?” thought Piglet. “Eeyore's house is too far away. And I don't really want to live with Owl. He tells such long stories about his relations! Oh dear!” But the Man greeted them politely enough and then added that he found himself “within a forest dark / For the straightforward pathway had been lost.” “This is the Hundred-Acre Wood,” said Pooh helpfully. "All the Animals live hereabouts. Christopher Robin comes to visit too--when he's not Bisy Backson, that is, or imagining adventures in his room." The Man gazed at him with a rather forlorn expression, so Pooh added kindly, "We get lost here too sometimes.” “Are you Christopher Robin's Papa?” asked Piglet. You see, he'd already noticed (being pretty clever for such a little Piglet) that the Man tended to talk in poetry. But it wasn't in songs or hums, like the ones Pooh made up, which was rather refreshing for a change. The Man eyed them quizzically. Perhaps he was surprised that they had never heard of him. He was a VIP after all. (That means a Very Inflooenshul Poet.) But he was polite, so he merely said that he had met some other Animals earlier that day. There was “A panther light and swift exceedingly / Which with a spotted skin was covered o'er!” “Oh,” said Pooh, smiling. “I think you met Tigger! Did he Bounce at you?” “No Pooh!” hissed Piglet. “Tiggers don't have spots. They are more stripedy-looking.” “You're right of course,” laughed Pooh ruefully. “It's true; Tigger does have stripes. So does his cousin Hobbes, for that matter. But then you know, I'm a Bear of Very Little Brain.” Piglet looked around fearfully and started to whimper. “Maybe it's a Jagular! Oh Pooh, I don't like Jagulars! Couldn't we go home?” The Very Inflooenshul Poet seemed to sympathize, for he declaimed, “Never moved she from before my face / Nay, rather did impede so much my way / That many times I to return had turned.” “Christopher Robin once told me a poem about Panthers,” said Pooh, who hadn't quite caught up yet. “It's by Mr. Nash (at least I think that's his name): “If called by a Panther, Don't anther.” Pooh laughed delightedly at his own little joke. Now it pains me to criticize Pooh, who is one of my very bestest friends. After all, I've known him almost as long as Christopher Robin. But I have to admit it is rather bad manners to do this kind of thing. But let us get back to our story. Pooh had just laughed, as I said, at his little joke. But Piglet looked startled. And the Very Inflooenshul Poet looked not only startled, but confused and offended. Pooh, realizing dimly that he had committed a rather serious faux paw, said, “Well, you can return with us if you like. It's about time I had a little something anyhow. But you'll have to be careful coming into my house. You're rather big and tall, and I'd hate for you to get stuck in my doorway.” The Very Inflooenshul Poet sighed and trudged after them. It had turned out to be a very bewildering day. He was sad because he was missing his little friend Beatrice. (She doesn't come into this Story until later, but I just thought it might be a helpful kind of thing to know.) And when Pooh mentioned having a little something--well, that made him feel even worse, because he was getting hungry too. He didn't ask for much, but the thing he really liked best was Italian food. And somehow he doubted he was going to get very hearty fare at Pooh's. He was starting to abandon hope of finding anything at all to eat, let alone making his way out of the Hundred-Acre Wood and back to Florence. "Oh bother!" he muttered under his breath. Then he froze in his tracks. Pooh and Piglet looked back, wondering why he had stopped. Pooh even made an impatient little gesture with one paw (not the faux one, the other one), to tell him to stop dawdling and come along. But he could not move, for he was very, very frightened. Wave after wave of terror was washing over him. In fact, he looked nearly as terrified as Piglet the day he'd been introduced to Kanga's bathtub! For the Very Inflooenshul Poet had just realized that he was starting to talk like Pooh.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Vessey

    I realize that I need to edit one particular part, but this review means a lot to me and I would like for it to stay the way it was written, regardless of the revalations and events that took place later. Beautifully written and emotionally draining. However, this isn't simply a tale of terror. It is a philosophical and, I suppose, historical work as well. (I learned interesting historical facts). Who among us are sinners? Who are the righteous ones? Are people and deeds simply right or wrong, go I realize that I need to edit one particular part, but this review means a lot to me and I would like for it to stay the way it was written, regardless of the revalations and events that took place later. Beautifully written and emotionally draining. However, this isn't simply a tale of terror. It is a philosophical and, I suppose, historical work as well. (I learned interesting historical facts). Who among us are sinners? Who are the righteous ones? Are people and deeds simply right or wrong, good and evil? Dante weeps for all the souls condemned to eternal torture. Yet, he seems rather certain that they deserve their fate. If so, why does he weep for them? If we believe someone worthy of our tears, aren't they worthy of our forgiveness as well? I believe in the importance of integrity. I admire people to whom moral is important. I am one of them and I have often been angry towards those, who I consider cruel. However, I would always choose the sinner who sins, but also forgives, over the saint who never sins, but never forgives either. I am borrowing the closing words of Steve Sckenda's review of Anna Karenina. "Inevitably, others will judge us. May our judges look upon our love rather than upon our sin. May they crush us with mercy." Read count: 1

  21. 4 out of 5

    JV (semi-hiatus)

    "Through me the way to the city of woe, Through me the way to everlasting pain, Through me the way among the lost. Justice moved my maker on high. Divine power made me, Wisdom supreme, and primal love. Before me nothing was but things eternal, And eternal, I endure. Abandon all hope, you who enter here." - Inferno III, 1-9 Thanks for the historical references and throbbing headache, Dante! My head is now a big mess. On a serious note, what an arduous journey through hell! Dante illustrates Inferno w "Through me the way to the city of woe, Through me the way to everlasting pain, Through me the way among the lost. Justice moved my maker on high. Divine power made me, Wisdom supreme, and primal love. Before me nothing was but things eternal, And eternal, I endure. Abandon all hope, you who enter here." - Inferno III, 1-9 Thanks for the historical references and throbbing headache, Dante! My head is now a big mess. On a serious note, what an arduous journey through hell! Dante illustrates Inferno with an impressive yet grotesque imagery of the afterworld — the nine circles filled with sadistic, capital punishments depending on the gravity of one's sins. Dante is a genius in being able to incorporate diverse interests — religion, theology, philosophy, science, politics, mythology, history, the arts — into one epic poem that stretched up to Purgatorio and Paradiso (I'll probably read the other two at a later date). Through Dante's works, he lets us examine life as a whole in relation to our actions, experiences, and beliefs. The verses alone are subject to numerous interpretations and deliberations which I think is a mark of a great literature — one that stood the test of time due to its relevance, substance, style, language, and vivid art. Fave quotes (Robert Hollander and Jean Hollander's version of Dante's Inferno): "Love, which absolves no one beloved from loving, seized me so strongly with his charm that, as you see, it has not left me yet." - Inferno V, 103-105 "Now must you cast off sloth,’ my master said. Sitting on feather cushions or stretched out under comforters, no one comes to fame. Without fame, he who spends his time on earth leaves only such a mark upon the world as smoke does on the air or foam on water." - Inferno XXIV, 46-51 "One may not be absolved without repentance, nor repent and wish to sin concurrently— a simple contradiction not allowed." - Inferno XXVII, 118-120 "For when the power of thought is coupled with ill will and naked force there is no refuge from it for mankind." - Inferno XXXI, 55-57 "You are cruel indeed, thinking what my heart foretold, if you remain untouched by grief, and if you weep not, what can make you weep?" - Inferno XXXIII, 40-42

  22. 4 out of 5

    Piyangie

    The Inferno, part one of Dante's epic poem, the Divine Comedy, is the most imaginative and lyrical poetry I have read so far in my life. I'm yet to read Purgatory and Paradise, but in my honest view, I doubt if any other poetic work can surpass Dante's Divine Comedy. Inferno is Dante's experience in walking through Hell. His guide is no other than Virgil, the famous poet who wrote Aeneid, sent by Beatrice, Dante's devoted love interest, who he says is in Paradise. Dante's version of Hell is infl The Inferno, part one of Dante's epic poem, the Divine Comedy, is the most imaginative and lyrical poetry I have read so far in my life. I'm yet to read Purgatory and Paradise, but in my honest view, I doubt if any other poetic work can surpass Dante's Divine Comedy. Inferno is Dante's experience in walking through Hell. His guide is no other than Virgil, the famous poet who wrote Aeneid, sent by Beatrice, Dante's devoted love interest, who he says is in Paradise. Dante's version of Hell is influenced by Christian theology, philosophy and former literary works of Virgil, Ovid, Homer and the like. Virgil's Aeneid is said to be the most associated literary text that have influenced Divine Comedy the most. Dante's Hell is funnel shaped and has nine tiers which punish different sins. At the bottom, there is Lucifer. It is fascinating to see how imaginative and creative Dante has been in inventing the different tiers of the hell, the sins which are punished in them and the punishment types. The punishments which begin lightly in the first tier gets gruesome as you go down the tiers. Some of the characters (sinners) in the Hell include the real life people Dante knew (some who were not even dead at the time of Dante's fictitious journey through hell) as well as classical and mythological characters that were drawn from famous, old literary works. What I was awestruck the most is the graphic account of Hell given in such beautiful lyrical verses. Even the gruesome details of punishment of the sinners were made less horrific because the verses describing them were melodious. And the sinners, chosen from existed and existing people and some of the most loved mythical characters, added realism to the poem. I'm so amazed that a work written in thirteen century can have such a strong impression on modern readers. But given the quality of the work, the realism with which the work is so imbued, it is not surprising the reverent popularity the Divine Comedy has acquired and maintained throughout the centuries.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Spuckler

    The Inferno or Dante Alighieri need little introduction. Most people are familiar with the Divine Comedy regardless of their religion or lack of one. The Divine Comedy is one man's journey with his guide, through Hell and Purgatory, Virgil. Beatrice is his guide in heaven. The Inferno is the journey through the nine layers of hell and, to many, the most interesting of the three journies. Purgatory is a boring place by design and Heaven is well, heaven. I always felt The Inferno contained the best The Inferno or Dante Alighieri need little introduction. Most people are familiar with the Divine Comedy regardless of their religion or lack of one. The Divine Comedy is one man's journey with his guide, through Hell and Purgatory, Virgil. Beatrice is his guide in heaven. The Inferno is the journey through the nine layers of hell and, to many, the most interesting of the three journies. Purgatory is a boring place by design and Heaven is well, heaven. I always felt The Inferno contained the best place to spend eternity, but not in an AC/DC "Hell Ain't a Bad Place to Be" way. The outermost layer is Limbo and it is the place for the unbaptized and the noble pagans -- Socrates, Plato, Saladin and others. Here Dante answers his days equivalent of is Gandhi in Heaven or Hell? He was a great person, wise, peaceful, a good leader so he should be in heaven, but he is not Christian so how can he be any place but Hell? Dante takes care of this in Limbo. It's a part of Hell, but the company there is great. There is also a chance to leave Limbo as Jesus and a few other Biblical characters did by the intervention of God. As one descends the circles, each for a particular offence, lust, greed, wrath, heresy, violence and so on, the punishments increase in severity until the inner circle of hell where the three greatest enemies of man are gnawed on by Satan. The three are a bit dated but fitting for Dante's time. Who else resides in Hell? Dante's enemies. If you can't get even in life; get even in eternity or your creation of it. Dante's "The Divine Comedy" was unique in its style the rhyme scheme reflective of the Trinity and the number 100 -- the perfect number. His work is divided up into three sections of thirty-three cantos with a single cantos introduction making 100 cantos. Three is used through the book three times three layers of hell and so on. The Inferno is filled with symbolism and hidden meanings. One can spend a great deal of time studying this story not only for its literary value but also for its political and religious history. Also, unique Dante wrote in Italian instead of the accepted Greek or Latin. This did help make Italian a literary language with Petrarch soon to follow in that tradition. The reason why they wrote in Italian is not well explained, but perhaps had more to do with regional identity. The idea they wrote in Italian so more people could read it is not practical. The educated were literate and to be educated one would learn Latin and Greek. The literates were the rich or the scribes who copied books. Books were very expensive meaning again only the rich and educated could read. The literacy rate at the time was under 10%. What makes the Dover edition special is the inclusion of Gustave Doré engravings. I first saw Doré’s engravings in a copy of "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner". They were haunting and his work fits into The Inferno well. The engravings add an extra touch of dread and reinforce the entrance sign of Hell “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here!” This edition is also translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow who first introduced The Divine Comedy to America in 1867. Well done and very worthwhile addition to anyone’s library.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    I'm not sure where the copy of the book came from. The copyright is one year before I was born, but I don't remember picking it up in a used book store. But I guess that's neither here nor there. I wish I could honestly check off 5 stars and say that my eyes were opened. That I really felt transformed by having read this classic of literature and that I will make it point to re-read it every year on the anniversary of my having discovered the error of my ways in not reading it at age 5. But I can' I'm not sure where the copy of the book came from. The copyright is one year before I was born, but I don't remember picking it up in a used book store. But I guess that's neither here nor there. I wish I could honestly check off 5 stars and say that my eyes were opened. That I really felt transformed by having read this classic of literature and that I will make it point to re-read it every year on the anniversary of my having discovered the error of my ways in not reading it at age 5. But I can't. It was a long slog for me. Things did pick up when I quit reading the summary that preceded each canto. This translator gives said summary, then the canto itself, then the footnotes explaining all the people and places that would have fallen into the dark recesses of history had Dante not immortalized them. Irony? Because Dante obviously thinks very little of most of the people he populates hell with. And that leads to my biggest problems. This is a "burn book". A centuries old burn book, but still. "Here are all these people who did what I consider terrible things and here's what I hope happened to them in the afterlife." If the book hadn't been couched in religious (and a very specific religion at that) terms, I don't know that is would have lasted as long as it has. So, while I admire the structure of the work, the discipline it must have taken to adhere to such a rigourous format, that's about all I admire. I have the other two thirds of the whole. I'll probably tackle them just to be able to say I read the whole Comedy. Maybe things lighten up a little and it won't feel like such a punishment for this reader.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mary Ronan Drew

    4 Reasons to Read Dante's Inferno 1. To finally figure out the difference between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines. Dante was a Guelph. 2. To discover why Constantine made his famous donation. 3. To learn some new and ingenious ways to torture your enemies. Dante is very imaginative in this regard. 4. To find out what happened to Potiphar's wife, Mohammed, Ulysses, Atilla the Hun, Cleopatra, and Helen of Troy. We meet them all in The Inferno. I recommend Dorothy Sayers' translation because of the exce 4 Reasons to Read Dante's Inferno 1. To finally figure out the difference between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines. Dante was a Guelph. 2. To discover why Constantine made his famous donation. 3. To learn some new and ingenious ways to torture your enemies. Dante is very imaginative in this regard. 4. To find out what happened to Potiphar's wife, Mohammed, Ulysses, Atilla the Hun, Cleopatra, and Helen of Troy. We meet them all in The Inferno. I recommend Dorothy Sayers' translation because of the excellent introduction and notes.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Stephen P

    I understand there is nothing new I can say about this classic. What I can do is offer my experience of reading Dante’s opus, to hope that by writing the review much more will be revealed to me of my reading than I know here at the start. I imagine I will offer much speculation which has probably been speculated upon for eons. But for me speculation is at the heart of reading and of writing. There is no Virgil to guide me-us. On our own let’s step into The Inferno. Homage is due for this epic sc I understand there is nothing new I can say about this classic. What I can do is offer my experience of reading Dante’s opus, to hope that by writing the review much more will be revealed to me of my reading than I know here at the start. I imagine I will offer much speculation which has probably been speculated upon for eons. But for me speculation is at the heart of reading and of writing. There is no Virgil to guide me-us. On our own let’s step into The Inferno. Homage is due for this epic scripted within verse form. Nowhere was the work constrained, contained, by the form. Rather, the form bred the words and opened the visage of the work. I would have to call this feat…well, sorry... but Dantesque. Comparisons here are lacking. The Inferno begins with Dante lost in the woods and coming to a fork in the path. Realizing he has strayed from what is meaningful in his life he acknowledges the appearance of the poet Virgil who encourages him to take the path guarded by a Leopard, a Lion, a She-Devil. Virgil pledges his protection as this path will initially lead to walking downward through the tiers of hell before the climb can take place where Dante may finally meet Beatrice. During the travel through hell, a visitation of the sins of mankind and their punishments, Dante seems young or younger than my image of the icon, fearful and vulnerable. Understandably so in that the horrific crimes of the sinner often incur punishments well beyond gruesome. Many have crossed the blood line into the sadistic. I have a strong stomach for things like this but there were a number of situations, as hard as I tried, I could not identify with and experience the sinners continuing pain and torment. I hid behind the words, intellect. Was this a firm and harrowing statement of Dante, the monstrous images embedded within the mind kindling a deep burnt scarring of fear, in order to herd those outside the faithful into the church’s fold? But here’s where I had a problem. As I wandered with Virgil and Dante denial fell rapidly away leaving the gore and guts of tortures of punishment more hideous than the crimes of the sinners. Who was the architect of this horrendous regimen and why? What was Dante telling me here; the Dante as a character within the book, our narrator, and/or the Dante writing the book, our author? Is this a comment on how much greater is the power of the authorities and therefore the suffering that can be looked forward to if one steps outside of moral rectitude, and the balance owed to the State, the burly sack filled with conventions? I suppose this young(er) anxious Dante within the book was there to not only take me along on his precarious journey under the safe guidance of Virgil, but to point out in the most vivid stomach churning way how the church had grown too powerful with its fear mongering, the State with its continual wars, the lure, compulsion, to turn away from one’s life. Virgil, the standard-bearer of reason, is taking Dante through the witnessing of these atrocities, what lies within humans, their hearts in hidden byways, in Dante’s, so he can begin to regain his own life of meaning? It is nothing new that all of us, including our young Dante, is capable of the full menu of atrocities. However, by locking this repulsive knowledge in the rust hinged chest of repression only leads to further and escalated expression. Virgil has led Dante down into the realm of his unconscious? There he witnesses his own devastating impulses and its consequent suffering? When they reach the end of hell they begin an ardous climb, Virgil always leading the way, toward a light above. There is so much I won’t know other than my speculations until I read the second book, Purgatorio. And then…?

  27. 5 out of 5

    Richard Derus

    Rating: 4* of five The Publisher Says: This widely praised version of Dante's masterpiece, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award of the Academy of American Poets, is more idiomatic and approachable than its many predecessors. Former U.S. Poet Laureate Pinsky employs slant rhyme and near rhyme to preserve Dante's terza rima form without distorting the flow of English idiom. The result is a clear and vigorous translation that is also unique, stude Rating: 4* of five The Publisher Says: This widely praised version of Dante's masterpiece, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award of the Academy of American Poets, is more idiomatic and approachable than its many predecessors. Former U.S. Poet Laureate Pinsky employs slant rhyme and near rhyme to preserve Dante's terza rima form without distorting the flow of English idiom. The result is a clear and vigorous translation that is also unique, student-friendly, and faithful to the original: "A brilliant success," as Bernard Knox wrote in The New York Review of Books. My Review: The Doubleday UK meme, a book a day for July 2014, is the goad I'm using to get through my snit-based unwritten reviews. Today's prompt is the twenty-fourth, a book that reminds you of your English teacher. Ninth grade, or freshman high school year, was The Odyssey, and tenth was The Inferno. We used, in 1974, the then-newish Ciardi translation, made in 1954; it was quite an event, since Ciardi (a poet of some renown) translated it as poetry instead of as Italian-to-English words. Pinsky's translation attempts the damn-near impossible feat of preserving the terza rima (aba, bcb, cdc, etc.) rhyme scheme invented by Dante for this cycle of poems. The result is a noble experiment, one marked by many successes. There are some weird things like quotes flowing over multiple stanzas, and there are some...odd...rhymes. But hell, the man tried a damned near impossible feat! Italian is a language in which it's harder *not* to rhyme than otherwise, and English resists rhyme with all its might and main. So what is any reviewer to say about a 700-year-old poem? Nothing hasn't been said by now. I am anti-christian. The theology behind the entire Divine Comedy appalls and repulses me. I speak rudimentary Italian. Pinsky's efforts to reproduce terza rima are, to my ears, clunky and unnecessary. But in the end, rating a book like this is about what the take-away is for the reader. I take away a sense of Dante as an intelligent, desperately lonely man, attempting to make a Universe in which his existence matters and is of some moment. I stand in awed amazement at his gloriously baroque imagination. I am gobsmacked by the sheer audacity of a medieval poet writing in the vernacular. If Dante was alive today, he'd be writing raps. Ugh. Horrible thought. But nonetheless, I am wowed at a root level by the joyous, exuberant viciousness and the unapologetic cruelty of Dante's score-settling fates for his enemies. What a guy! Those raps he'd be writing today? They'd inspire Wes Craven to make movies and Clive Barker to write gore-fests! Try this exercise: Imagine a beat-box under the terza rima stanzas. Read a piece aloud imagining hand-claps at the end of each stanza. This is what I think we, in this relativistic age, should strive for: to interpret the classics of literature and poetry by standards relevant to today, in addition to the standards that we know were applied at the time of the work's creation. Many more layers to this work that way. After all, a literary classic is a work that's never finished saying what it has to say. And here one is. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    Dante in English is heavy, while in Italian he is light, fast, almost a lyric poem. Palma's version is the lightest, fastest I've found. Often you hardly notice he's rhymed in tercets--his rhymes are so modern, unforced, and his syntax is so English. True, Dante still has a medieval mind--barratry? simony?--and writes his own back-cover puff when Homer, Ovid, Horace and the boys all toast him as the sixth of the THEIR crowd. He only apologizes when he includes his own name in an epic, a breach o Dante in English is heavy, while in Italian he is light, fast, almost a lyric poem. Palma's version is the lightest, fastest I've found. Often you hardly notice he's rhymed in tercets--his rhymes are so modern, unforced, and his syntax is so English. True, Dante still has a medieval mind--barratry? simony?--and writes his own back-cover puff when Homer, Ovid, Horace and the boys all toast him as the sixth of the THEIR crowd. He only apologizes when he includes his own name in an epic, a breach of decorum which he justifies by placing his name in Beatrice's mouth. Beatrice is, along with Lucia and Maria, a female trinity, and as LL Lipking has shown, almost Maria herself (especially in the earlier Vita Nuova). Then Dante puts personal enemies--he had more than a few--in specific levels of hell, which makes this epic almost a Romantic poem, centering on "I." But you'd never know it, it's so apparently impersonal. Should I add, I was honored to entertain Mr and Mrs Palma at the American Academy, Rome, where I walked a mile for some good inexpensive wine only to find out at dinner (in the Villa, part of the old Roman Wall) Michael drinks milk. Maybe that's what it takes to translate Dante so well.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Eliza

    3.75 I finally read this classic! (It's about time) Which means I'll finally understand all the references in books and movies that derive from this novel. I mean, it always bothered me that I hadn't read this, so I'm glad to be able to say: Yes, I've read Inferno. It's not a perfect 4 stars because there were some parts I genuinely didn't understand. Also, the unique but rather choppy writing style wasn't my favorite. Honestly, if my edition didn't have pictures, I'm sure I would've been much mor 3.75 I finally read this classic! (It's about time) Which means I'll finally understand all the references in books and movies that derive from this novel. I mean, it always bothered me that I hadn't read this, so I'm glad to be able to say: Yes, I've read Inferno. It's not a perfect 4 stars because there were some parts I genuinely didn't understand. Also, the unique but rather choppy writing style wasn't my favorite. Honestly, if my edition didn't have pictures, I'm sure I would've been much more confused. At least, with the pictures, I could see what I was supposed to be imagining. It's difficult writing, in my defense! However, when I was understanding the text fully - the imagery was flawless and deep. Very dark stuff for that time-period, for sure. Overall, this was unique and original. Everything I expected it to be. Only, it wasn't as good as I'd hoped. Oh well. Still enjoyed it quite a lot!

  30. 5 out of 5

    sologdin

    One of the all-time great self-reflexive literary endeavors, wherein the author/narrator cleverly drafts out a constitution of Hell and then condemns himself thereto at multiple points. Dante, in his capacity as the narrator, appears initially to leave much to be desired. We note ab initio, for instance, his inability to make full disclosure of the “forest dark” in which the journey commences: “But of the good to treat, which there I found, Speak will I of the other things I saw there” (Canto I); One of the all-time great self-reflexive literary endeavors, wherein the author/narrator cleverly drafts out a constitution of Hell and then condemns himself thereto at multiple points. Dante, in his capacity as the narrator, appears initially to leave much to be desired. We note ab initio, for instance, his inability to make full disclosure of the “forest dark” in which the journey commences: “But of the good to treat, which there I found, Speak will I of the other things I saw there” (Canto I); and also “I cannot well repeat how there I entered” (id.). Similarly, the emphasis is on his sense of sight. He “saw,” despite the “dark,” an undecidability as to this narrator’s visual acuity and reliability therefor. The text will only exacerbate the failure to disclose and the failure of vision (not necessarily in constant conjunction however), as we shall see. As noted in our writing on Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, this type of elision is the development of some otherwise standard topoi perceived however as abominable and presented sous rature. There’s several moments of this throughout, including the bizarre failure to designate sodomy except through the prose ‘arguments' (a diremption occurring in several cantos regarding sodomy, which is constituted herein as a form of violence against God.) As it happens, the visual is a locus of acute meconnaissance throughout this text. The text initially appoints Virgil to “be thy guide,” so thou “shalt see the ancient spirits disconsolate,” and “thou shalt see those who are contented are Within the fire” (I)--and Dante abides: “Thou wouldst conduct me there where thou hast said, That I may see the portal of Saint Peter, and those thou makest so disconsolate” (emphasis added). It is accordingly to be very specifically a sightseeing tour of Hell. On this tour, the visual is precisely the warrant of the rhetorical: “Therefore look well around, and thou shalt see Things that will credence give unto my speech” (XIII). On the other hand, however, the text deploys Foucault’s judging eye: “There standeth Minos horribly, and snarls; Examines the transgressions at the entrance; Judges, and sends according as he girds him” (V). To see is to judge; to judge is to send. But also to see is to err, and the dantean catalogue of visual error is great, establishing a master principle contra oculocentrism in “Because thou peerest forth Athwart the darkness at too great a distance, It happens that thou errest in thy fancy. Well shalt thou see, if thou arrives there, How much the sense deceives itself by distance” (XXXI): First, the approach of Charon is viewed with "eyes ashamed and downward cast," and yet is described with attention to detail (III). The unseen approach of the Medusa follows, an aporetic enjoining him to "Observe the doctrine that conceals itself Beneath the veil of the mysterious verses” (IX). Further, the Phlegathon, "The river of blood, within which boiling is Whoe’er by violence doth injure others” (XII), conceals 'within' what is to be observed. We read next of the approach of Geryon, "what thy thought is dreaming Must soon reveal itself unto thy sight," who is "that truth which has the face of falsehood" (XVI). Nevertheless, "The face was as the face of a just man, Its semblance outwardly was so benign” (XVII). Thereafter appears Jason, with whom "in thee strike The vision of those others evil-born, Of whom thou hast not yet beheld the faces, Because together with us they have gone," and who nevertheless, counterintuitively, "for his pain seems not to shed a tear (XVIII). The catalog culminates apocalyptically in the approach to Lucifer, who "As, when there breathes a heavy fog, or when Our hemisphere is darkening into night, Appears far off a mill the wind is turning. Methought that such a building then I saw. (XXXIV). The visual should accordingly be considered extremely suspect in this sightseeing travelogue. The inference, then, is that, consistent with the injunction of canto XIII that the visual is to be the warrant of the rhetorical, and the principle of canto V, that rhetorical judgment is rooted in sight, we can see a critique of the Constitution of Hell as flawed in its inception, alleging that the judgment of God is rooted in error; the dantean critique of the visual is thus fundamentally heretical and therefore sufficient to consign Dante himself to the Sixth Circle. But it’s far worse than that, as the critique of the visual must, deductively, be self-reflexive, for if it is not, then it is a fraudulent hypocrisy, enough to consign Dante himself to the Malebolge. Sadly, if the visual is self-reflexive, then Dante must also himself be consigned bodily to the Malebolge as relying upon the false visual as a warrant for the rhetoric of the Divine Comedy. Either way, therefore, Dante consigns himself inexorably to the Eighth Circle. And it must furthermore be self-reflexive by its own injunction, as demonstrated in Canto XIX, when Dante/narrator dresses down a simonist pope: “I do not know if I were here too bold, That him I answered only in this metre,” which is to say that Dante the author is conflated thereby with Dante the narrator, i.e., the representation of the events by the text are conflated with the events themselves—unless we are to assume that Dante the narrator always speaks in ‘metre.’ That is, Dante/narrator hooks Dante/author on the principles articulated in the text. It is to these principles that we must now turn, as I have already mentioned the Constitution of Hell implicit in this text. And Dante here is drafting out that Constitution, outlining its constituent parts and assigning its key roles. In so doing, he confronts an uncertain future, i.e., makes a determination of the ultimate destination of various mythological and historical persons, which determination might not be reasonably known until Dante himself is dead. By jumping over death and being carried bodily to Hell alive as part of this afterlife tourism, Dante violates the constitutional order—that is, his fictional account is exceptional to the order—but the exception is nevertheless necessary, a condition precedent, to the production of the constitution of that order—and is thus emblematic of an agembenian state of exception. For laying down the fictive exception and therefore constituting Hell, Dante abides its stricture and accordingly must be consigned to fourth Bolgia as a sorcerer who violates the peremptory norm against seeking “to see too far before him,” becoming in essence a “fortune teller” for arrogating the right to assign persons to their allegedly appropriate places, and who apparently takes astrology seriously (as referenced in XXIV). (Because of the conflation Dante/author with Dante/narrator, we need not sort out the eaches here.) As though these self-consignments were not awful already, Dante commits violence against another, to the point of intentional torture: “I had his hair in hand already twisted, And more than one shock of it had already pulled out, He barking, with his eyes held firmly down” (XXXII)—consign him therefore to Phlegathon. And then Dante commits fraud (again) by promising to “lift from [dude’s] eyes the rigid veils” of ice, “and if I free thee not, May I go to the bottom of the ice”; “’But hitherward stretch out thy hand forthwith, Open Mine eyes,’—and open them I did not, And to be rude to him was courtesy" (XXXIII). And the coup de grace: Canto XXV – “’Take that, God, for at thee I aim them’” reported via direct discourse, by Dante/narrator, but discourse nevertheless as yet written by Dante/author! This unambiguously consigns Dante/author, through hook aforesaid of Dante/narrator, to Cocytus, I think, as disloyal to God. Make room for more hors d'oeuvres in the Judecca. A clever reading will draw out violations in Dante’s rhetoric of each and every peremptory norm that subjects a person to discipline in Hell. That’s fairly plain (and he's manifestly on the hook for violations of the peremptory norms controlling the 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th circles). What’s worse, for us is the necessary inference to be drawn from the offense of the visual: that we readers are similarly condemned for engaging in the fundamentally dishonest practice of surveying the words and images of this beautiful text. To read the text is therefore to become situated inside its constitutional order. Readers of Dante, flog yourselves. Aside from the main thrust of this argument, supra, some noteworthy miscellaneous items of philosophical interest, just footnotes-- 1) Canto I: “if thou wishest to ascend, A soul shall be for that than I more worthy” (irreducible marker of différance in the Beatrice reference)). Similarly, Canto XV – Beatrice as editor/différance: “What you narrate of my career I write, And keep it to be glossed with other text By a Lady who can do it, if I reach her” (emphasis added to the Derridean moment). On the basis of main argument supra, he should not reach her, but nevertheless, as a fact of literary history, does. This aporia constitutes the great linguistic dream of all signification. 2) Some hegelian oddities, such as Canto II: “Now go, for one sole will is in us both”; “I remain in doubt, For No and Yes within my head contend” (VIII); Canto XXIII – “Just now thy thoughts came in among my own, With similar attitude and similar face, So that of both one counsel sole I made”; XXVII – “For who repents not cannot be absolved, Nor can one both repent and will at once, Because of the contradiction which consents not.” 3) Theological cruelty, evident in Canto III: “ready are they to pass o’er the river, Because celestial Justice spurs them on, So that their fear is turned into desire,” which is horrid. See also Canto IV – “they sinned not; and if they merit had, ‘Tis not enough, because they had not baptism,” and again in “And thou must know, that earlier than these Never were any human spirits saved,” which is sufficiently tragic to make this old atheist marxist asshole weepy. Canto XI – “Violence can be done the Deity, In heart denying and blaspheming Him” ORLY! Regarding Jason, though, a further weirdness: “with ornate words Did he deceive Hypsipyle” (XVIII), for which he is condemned—but also “for Medea is vengeance done,” which is an inconsistency, vengeance. In this connection, Virgil is presented as kinda an asshole: “Who is a greater reprobate than he Who feels compassion at the doom divine?” (Canto XX, in response to Dante, self-servingly, as it happens, weeping over the sorcerers). 4) The manner in which Lust is handled (Second Circle) is curious: “carnal malefactors were condemned, Who reason subjugate to appetite,” which may or may not be a workable principle (V). Rodin based ‘The Kiss’ off this canto NB, which is worth quoting at length for the exceptional sympathy shown by the author toward his subject, as well as for the deft & effective pathos: One day we reading were for our delight Of Launcelot, how Love did him enthral. Alone we were and without any fear. Full many a time our eyes together drew That reading, and drove the colour from our faces; But one point only was it that o'ercame us. When as we read of the much-longed-for smile Being by such a noble lover kissed, This one, who ne'er from me shall be divided, Kissed me upon the mouth all palpitating. Galeotto was the book and he who wrote it. That day no farther did we read therein. Does Dante step into the Second Circle with this narration? Does he not lust for Francesca? Do we not subjugate reason to appetite in reading that? As a marxist materialist-atheist, I may be vulnerable to the charge of taking all of this too seriously. It is of course the case that I take nothing more seriously than religious doctrine, especially when doctrine seeks to make dispositions of human persons in perpetuity. Even if these dispositions are false, as I believe them to be, it gives us a keen insight into the ultimate bargaining position of the other side of the table. Very handsome volume, full of Dore, Blake, and other images. High quality paper. Longfellow translation. It is of course brilliant. Duh. This canticle, perhaps, suffers from a mean-spiritedness, a derisive laughter, an arrogance inconsistent with the implicit thesis—as opposed to a charitable magnanimity toward those who have been consigned to perdition. In that regard, the Paradiso is superior, as its approach is more humble, more humane, optimistic. One of the basic requirements of literacy is to have read this text. Go now. Be consigned to perdition.

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