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Dante's Divine Comedy: Inferno Purgatory Paradise Hardcover – Aug 24 2010

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Press (Aug. 24 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608190846
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608190843
  • Product Dimensions: 20.9 x 1.4 x 28.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 680 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #339,979 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“Dante + Seymour = Heaven.” ―Maira Kalman, author of The Principles of Uncertainty

“Seymour's take on this timeless classic is not only charming and clever, it is so cannily rendered that it makes Dante's complex masterwork easily understood for any reader. Divine.” ―Chip Kidd, author of The Cheese Monkeys

“I have to say, seen through Seymour Chwast's eyes, Hell doesn't look so bad. I'm almost looking forward to floating in pools of excrement or being tossed about carelessly by furious winds. Seymour Chwast has put the comedy back into the divine in this fiendishly heavenly extravaganza.” ―Marian Bantjes, graphic artist

“Seymour Chwast! Oh, how I hate him! He's already the top artist! He's already the top designer! Now he's gonna be the top graphic novelist! Seymour Chwast can go to Hell!” ―Craig Yoe, author of The Art of Steve Ditko

“With all due respect to Dante, this is Chwast's Divine Comedy … [Chwast] makes the Divine Comedy irresistibly comic and inspirationally transcendent.” ―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Famed artist and graphic designer Chwast has turned his talents to the graphic novel form for the first time, and we can all be happy about it…With his signature mix of humor, artistry, and high-level design, he conveys a breathtaking amount of information in clear black and white line drawings…Chwast does a stunning job of telling Dante's story in his own brilliant style.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)

About the Author

Seymour Chwast was born in New York City and is a graduate of The Cooper Union, where he studied illustration and graphic design. He is a founding partner of the celebrated Push Pin Studios, whose distinct style has had a worldwide influence on contemporary visual communications. In 1985 the studio's name was changed to the Pushpin Group, of which Mr. Chwast is the director. More information about Mr. Chwast can be found at www.pushpininc.com.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa166e1ec) out of 5 stars 48 reviews
27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa133cc9c) out of 5 stars More for fans of Chwast's art than of Dante's writing July 14 2010
By Aaron Silverman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
As a collection of drawings by an iconic illustrator, this is a great book. Granted, Chwast isn't for everyone, but fans will eat this up. As an adaptation of the Divine Comedy, well, it's OK but slight. Chwast's simple, straightforward black and white line drawings provide visual interpretations of the sights described by Dante, but much of the literary value of the work is lost. References to historical characters and their fates are brief at best. It's more like a simple travelogue. I was hoping for much more detail -- this is basically a quick synopsis. So while I didn't get much of the substance of the Divine Comedy from this, I did enjoy it as an art book.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa133cee8) out of 5 stars As a longtime Chwast fan, I can't resist. July 20 2010
By Jim - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
I've been a fan of Seymour Chwast's illustration and design since the late sixties, which is when I started studying illustration and design at The School of Visual Arts in NYC. At that time, Push Pin Studios (today the Pushpin Group), which Chwast founded in 1954 with acclaimed graphic designer Milton Glaser, was right around the corner from the school, and I once came this close to getting into a night class taught by Chwast.

As a longtime fan of "the left-handed designer" (I too am left-handed), I find Chwast's graphic, black & white adaptation of Dante's Divine Comedy irresistible. It is funny and I laughed out loud several times when reading it. And it is also poignant; I had tears in my eyes when I read the final words about "the love that moves the sun and other stars." One can read the Divine Comedy from a religious or a secular perspective, and from the latter perspective and perhaps the former as well, it can be read as a story about the human condition. For me, the lightheartedness of Chwast's illustrations serve to offset rather than undermine the gravity of the story (if read as a story about the human condition).

This book will certainly be of interest to other fans of Chwast's work, and I think it would make a nice gift for anyone who is interested in (and/or creates) humorous illustration. Do note that as I mention above, the book is in black & white; only the covers are in color.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa133d138) out of 5 stars Cliff Notes Dante with Notebook Doodle Illustrations April 27 2011
By Monty Moonlight - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Chwast's version of Dante's Divine Comedy is certainly not going to be for everyone. This graphic novel version is, naturally, more about the illustrations than the text, and this is a very not-too-wordy take. What we get is the poet Dante's journey through the afterlife with his spirit guides, the basic story intact, but only the most simplistic dialogue and narration. Still, this manages to be confusing at times in part by Chwast's choice to dress the characters as though they are from the 20th Century. In my opinion, the medieval man's point of view of a journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise is bizarre enough, even when the dialogue is thoroughly dumbed down, without the need for making it more confusing by illustrating a flashback to the crusades with Sherman tanks and WWII soldiers. Well, that's just my opinion. It's still easy to follow and probably easier to understand than the original work, and though it's 127 pages (black and white), it's a VERY quick read. My biggest disappointment is with the art, and I shudder to go into this, being a much less successful cartoonist/illustrator myself. The art here is consistent, which is tricky no matter what your style, but the style itself, I don't know how to put it except to say it looks like a kid drew the whole thing. I look back on the first graphic novel I illustrated, and as much as I hate to see that crude example of my early work (and as harsh as I am on my current work), one thing I can say about the art here is that it really makes me feel good about my poorest creations and gives me hope for the future, when it doesn't flat out make me mad that I so rarely land a paying gig while this stuff sells.

At any rate, if you are in the market for a simple version of Dante's Divine Comedy, this is... an option. I can't say it's the best option. It may well be, but I don't know what else is out there for that. Look into what his, and keep this one in mind since it may be the simplest version out there, but don't be surprised at the underwhelming feeling you get when you receive your copy and open it up.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa133d474) out of 5 stars A charming and noble project. July 1 2010
By Stephen Richmond - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
I wanted more. Obviously, reducing Dante's epic down to a single graphic novel requires major editing and abridging, but Chwast does a terrific job on what he kept; I just wanted him to keep more. The wit and humor that permeate, along with Dante's words, make this slight book a treasure. The art, replete with Roaring Twenties fashion (flappers and bowler hats) are droll and charming. While this could never replace (nor does it intend to) reading Dante, it, like its Classics Illustrated forebears, provides a sufficient taste of style and content and suggests and entices the reader to return to (or to discover for the first time) a monumental work of art. Somehow I suspect that Dante himself would be pleased to see this. Again, more please.
16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa133d6c0) out of 5 stars Dante done a disservice by Seymour Chwast Aug. 21 2010
By Russell Fanelli - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
It took me less than an hour to "read" Seymour Chwast's 127 page graphic novel based on The Divine Comedy. The text would fit easily into ten pages or less.

Perhaps the reader of this review would say, "So much the better. This is a graphic novel, not a traditional book." I agree. However, the graphics had better be good if the book is to succeed; they are not. I just took a moment to look at Gustave Dore's wonderful illustrations for The Divine Comedy and then Sandow Birk's illustrations for The Inferno section of Dante's great poem. Some readers will be familiar with Dore and Birk and be much disappointed in Chwast's amateurish efforts.

The Divine Comedy is a difficult read for the modern reader not familiar with Florentine history and a cast of characters known to historians and academics, but not the general reading public. Chwast does a fairly good job making some of the people Dante mentions and their back story understandable; but few, I think, will take much interest in Chwast's truncated version of Dante's great poem.

Chwast fails both to tell a good story and illustrate it with creative and exciting art. This book has not yet been published; it should stay that way.

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