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The Divine Comedy: Volume 1: Inferno Hardcover – Sep 28 2010
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“The English Dante of choice.” –Hugh Kenner
“Exactly what we have waited for these years, a Dante with clarity, eloquence, terror, and profoundly moving depths.” –Robert Fagles, Princeton University
“A marvel of fidelity to the original, of sobriety, and truly, of inspired poetry.” –Henri Peyre, Yale University
About the Author
Dante Alighieri was born in 1265. Considered Italy's greatest poet, this scion of a Florentine family mastered in the art of lyric poetry at an early age. His first major work is La Vita Nuova (1292) which is a tribute to Beatrice Portinari, the great love of his life. Married to Gemma Donatic, Dante's political activism resulted in his being exiled from Florence to eventually settle in Ravenna. It is believed that The Divine Comedy-comprised of three canticles, The Inferno, The Purgatorio, and The Paradiso-was written between 1308 and 1320. Dante Alighieri died in 1321.
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Top Customer Reviews
In addition to the direct translation, Musa provides an introductory summary to each canto, detailed notes following each canto, a glossary of names in the back of each volume, and an introductory essay for each volume. The introduction to "Volume 1: Inferno" gives a thorough introduction to Dante and to his other works as well as to the Inferno. Following the introduction is a translator's note. The introductions to "Purgatory" and "Paradise" do not go over the extra information presented in "Inferno". It is useful to read all three of Dante's canticles in the Musa translation to get a complete, consistent presentation of the work. Musa does make reference in his notes to one volume to ideas or people presented in the others.
The notes are vital for almost everyone. The references to Biblical, classical, and medieval personalities, myths, time systems, theology, and events come frequently. Few people are up on the ins and outs of Guelf vs. Ghibelline in medieval Italian politics. Musa makes it all as clear as it needs to be.
Musa's version of "Inferno" italicizes the introductory summary before each canticle and retains the detailed, interesting mappings of Hell used in the Sayers edition.
Dante's poem is central to Western civilization.Read more ›
The Inferno is the first volume of the Divine Comedy and tells the story of how Dante is taken by the spirit of Virgil through the depths of Hell. The scenes and characters that they encounter cover many different human emotions; mostly sorrowful ones while Dante and Virgil are in Hell. This first volume is the most famous of the three, but Mark Musa's translation makes it so quick and entertaining to read, that I think most will find themselves wanting to continue on into the final two volumes, which I would highly recommend in order for one to obtain the entire perspective of this brilliant poem.
The date is Good Friday of the year 1300, and Dante is lost in a creepy dark forest, being assaulted by a trio of beasts who symbolize his own sins. But suddenly he is rescued ("Not man; man I once was") by the legendary poet Virgil, who takes the despondent Dante under his wing -- and down into Hell.
But this isn't a straightforward hell of flames and dancing devils. Instead, it's a multi-tiered carnival of horrors, where different sins are punished with different means. Opportunists are forever stung by insects, the lustful are trapped in a storm, the greedy are forced to battle against each other, and the violent lie in a river of boiling blood, are transformed into thorn bushes, and are trapped on a volcanic desert.
If nothing else makes you feel like being good, then "The Inferno" might change your mind. The author loads up his "Inferno" with every kind of disgusting, grotesque punishment that you can imagine -- and it's all wrapped up in an allegorical journey of humankind's redemption, not to mention dissing the politics of Italy and Florence.
Along with Virgil -- author of the "Aeneid" -- Dante peppered his Inferno with Greek myth and symbolism. Like the Greek underworld, different punishments await different sins; what's more, there are also appearances by harpies, centaurs, Cerberus and the god Pluto. But the sinners are mostly Dante's contemporaries, from corrupt popes to soldiers.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I've read the Mandelbaum translation as well. Mandelbaum's phrasing is a bit more appealing to me, but his notes are lacking. Read morePublished on Aug. 8 2003 by pietrogiovanni
This translation of Inferno, one of the three pieces of the epic ensemble The Divine Comedy, is perhaps the best yet. Read morePublished on May 19 2003
The first book of The Divine Comedy (I write of the Inferno contained in the copyright 1980 Harvard Classics Edition) is a tale of the macabre and discovery. Read morePublished on Jan. 8 2003 by Robert Shane Ellis
I didn't know a lot about Dante's Divine Comedy before I decided to read this. I paged through several different translations and decided on Mark Musa's work. Read morePublished on Oct. 14 2002 by Amazon Customer
I love Dante so much I cannot find words to explain it. His epic (all three parts, not just Inferno) leaves one gasping for adjectives. Read morePublished on Sept. 18 2002 by Carlo
The Inferno is a timeless classic that continues to inspire young authors. I recently ran a cross a modern version of the book,, A Journey to hell and Back by Charlotte Johnson,... Read morePublished on March 9 2002
Even if you do not believe in the afterlife this book is well worth your time. Dante is simply a master poet and you will spend the rest of your life carrying the images of hell... Read morePublished on Dec 11 2001 by MJ23447
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