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The Divine Comedy: Volume 1: Inferno Paperback – Dec 31 2002


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The Divine Comedy: Volume 1: Inferno + The Divine Comedy: Volume II: Purgatory + The Divine Comedy: Volume 3: Paradise
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; 2 edition (Dec 31 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142437220
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142437223
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.8 x 19.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 281 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #145,777 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From Library Journal

As part of a projected six-volume edition of the Divine Comedy, Musa (Indiana Univ.) has revised and reissued his translation of Dante's Inferno (LJ 3/1/95) in a bilingual edition, accompanied by a volume-length commentary. Musa's translation is in fluent, colloquial verse that aims for the speed and rhythm of the original though not the form. This serviceable version is on the same level as the recent translations by Robert Pinskey (LJ 11/1/94) and Robert Durling (LJ 3/15/96). Musa's commentary is thorough and clear but doesn't significantly supersede that of Charles S. Singleton (1970). Nevertheless, it can be recommended.?Thomas L. Cooksey, Armstrong State Coll., Savannah, Ga.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"Musa operates on the principle that a translator's first duty is to render the original text as exactly as possible without compromising the literary quality of the work.... [This is] the best English-language version of the Inferno currently available." —Library Journal

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Inside This Book

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First Sentence
Halfway through his life, Dante the Pilgrim wakes to find himself lost in a dark wood. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By interested_observer on July 11 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
About twenty years ago I read Dorothy Sayers's translation of Dante's "Divine Comedy" with great pleasure, finding an awesome grandeur in Dante's progression from Hell through Purgatory to Heaven. When I decided to re-read the work, I found the poetry tortured and the references obscure. So I went comparison shopping, settling on Mark Musa's version. He created an excellent, free-flowing, poetic, and easily understandable translation of the three canticles of Dante's "Divine Comedy" for Penguin Classics.
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 20 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Mark Musa's translation of the Divine Comedy is the smoothest, most enjoyable version I have read. (I've read a few.) Mr. Musa provides a brief summation at the beginning of each Canto of Dante's Inferno. He then follows the summation with the actual poem (his translation), and then, after each Canto, he gives in-depth notes on all the references Dante has made -- which may often be obscure to the modern reader. This version is perfect for high-school and college students as well as the leisure time reader who simply wants to become acquainted with this foundation of Western poetry.
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on Oct. 12 2007
Format: Paperback
"Midway life's journey I was made aware/that I had strayed into a dark forest..." Those eerie words open the first cantica of Dante Alighieri's "Inferno," the most famous part of the legendary Divina Comedia. But the stuff going on here is anything but divine, as Dante explores the metaphorical and supernatural horrors of the inferno.

The date is Good Friday of the year 1300, and Dante is lost in a creepy dark forest, being assaulted by a trio of beasts who symbolize his own sins. But suddenly he is rescued ("Not man; man I once was") by the legendary poet Virgil, who takes the despondent Dante under his wing -- and down into Hell.

But this isn't a straightforward hell of flames and dancing devils. Instead, it's a multi-tiered carnival of horrors, where different sins are punished with different means. Opportunists are forever stung by insects, the lustful are trapped in a storm, the greedy are forced to battle against each other, and the violent lie in a river of boiling blood, are transformed into thorn bushes, and are trapped on a volcanic desert.

If nothing else makes you feel like being good, then "The Inferno" might change your mind. The author loads up his "Inferno" with every kind of disgusting, grotesque punishment that you can imagine -- and it's all wrapped up in an allegorical journey of humankind's redemption, not to mention dissing the politics of Italy and Florence.

Along with Virgil -- author of the "Aeneid" -- Dante peppered his Inferno with Greek myth and symbolism. Like the Greek underworld, different punishments await different sins; what's more, there are also appearances by harpies, centaurs, Cerberus and the god Pluto. But the sinners are mostly Dante's contemporaries, from corrupt popes to soldiers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sebastian Skora on June 4 2007
Format: Paperback
In my search for a copy of Dante's epic poem, the Divine Comedy, I encountered over 10 different copies of the opening part, Inferno. This edition with notes by Mark Musa is exemplary, it offers analysis of each section, and follows the pilgrim Dante's voyage down to the dark pits of hell. The book is set up in Canto form, dividing the original Inferno into 34. Following each Canto is a great analysis that picks apart the Canto from every perspective, and I found that these few paragraphs granted me additional insight into the philosophy and allegory that the poem emanates. Musa's commentary radiates a passion for the Inferno, and is a great asset for a first time reader of Dante's works.
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