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The Inferno: The Longfellow Translation (La Divina Commedia #1)

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  95,153 Ratings  ·  3,055 Reviews
The Inferno, by Dante Alighieri, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classicsseries, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:

New introductions commissioned from today's t
Hardcover, 302 pages
Published January 6th 2005 by Barnes & Noble Classics (first published 1304)
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Edward Richmond Not really.

I mean, yes, obviously the Comedy as a whole is religious in character. It certainly engages with themes of sin, penance, salvation and…more
Not really.

I mean, yes, obviously the Comedy as a whole is religious in character. It certainly engages with themes of sin, penance, salvation and redemption. But that's not all it is, and a lot of the stuff that shows up in it is arguably at odds with the advice Dante the Pilgrim gives his readers. So it's "about" religion and how to live a righteous life, but that's not all it is about.

The book is supremely political, although all the political figures in it are now historical figures, and some of them are really obscure if you don't already know a lot about late 13th/early 14th century Italian history. Many of the characters in Hell are people Dante personally disliked, or political opponents of his (Dante was a career politician in Florence, and when things went badly for his political party, he was exiled from the city and all his property was seized).

Others are people he didn't have anything against, but they were famous at the time for assorted sins--consider them the equivalent of Kim Kardashian and her sex tape. Is it a book about medieval Italian politics and pop culture? Sort of, but again, that's not all it is.

And then there's the whole thing with Beatrice, who was this woman that Dante had a crush on in real life before she died of the pox. Beatrice-the-character is an idealization of the real woman, Bice Donati, who never had any interest in him in real life. But in the poem, she loves him enough to dispatch a guide to take him through hell and into heaven. There's all sorts of emotional baggage at work there, some of it kinda creepy, some of it kinda sad. The Comedy is "about" this relationship, too

And there's Virgil, who was a real poet that Dante considered the beginning of the same literary tradition that he was writing in. Picking this guy to be Dante's guide through Hell and Purgatory makes it a story about being an author, and also a story about literary influence.

Saying that the book is supposed to instruct the reader about how to lead a righteous life is . . . true, but also missing the point. Really great literature usually is about everything and nothing.

I mean, really, Dante tells you what it's about in the first lines.

Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,
che la diritta via era smaritta.

In the middle of the road of our life, I came back to myself in a dark forest, where the straight way was lost.

In the story, this is literally true--he starts out lost in a forest, literally and also figuratively. And then the rest of the book is about how he got out of the woods, again literally and also figuratively.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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 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
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
Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
Apr 28, 2011 Joshua Nomen-Mutatio rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Oct 08, 2013 Nefariousbig rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
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
Glenn Russell
Nov 25, 2015 Glenn Russell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Dante’s Inferno was 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:


One balmy July evening at a seaside
May 29, 2015 Maureen rated it really liked it
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 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
Mar 15, 2014 Algernon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Before I start talking about the book proper, I have a confession to make: I wasn't sure I really wanted to read philosophical poetry written seven centuries ago. I had doubts about style, quality of translation and my own lack of literary background in decyphering the numerous Christian and mythological references, not to mention political and cultural trivia from Dante's Florence. Thanks to my Goodreads friends, I took the plunge and I can report back that it was well worth the effort. Even be ...more
Jul 30, 2015 Nahed.E rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: للدراسة

عشت مع كلمات دانتي ليلتي أمس .. وتأملته وهو يصف حال الفلاسفة والشعراء الذين نتغني بأعمالهم طوال عمرنا وهم في الجحيم
فقد كان مأواهم جميعاً في الجحيم
تخيل أن تجد سقراط وافلاطون وأرسطو وأبيقور وديموقريطس وهوميروس
واين سينا وابن رشد وكليوباترا وأخيل وكثير من الفلاسفة والشعراء والزعماء الذين تظل تقرأ لهم وعنهم طوال حياتك وقد أصبح مصيرهم جميعاً الجحيم !!
شئ غريب للغاية أن يتخيل شاعر إيطالي هذا المصير لكل هؤلاء
والأكثر غرابة أن يصف لنا حالهم وسط الأهواء والرياح والنار والهوة السحيقة المظلمة التي يعيشون
Bill  Kerwin
Nov 04, 2015 Bill Kerwin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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.
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'
ای آن که بدین مکان داخل می شوی، از هر امیدی دست بشوی!
سر در دوزخ

کمدی الهی، شاهکار "دانته" شاعر ایتالیایی، شرح سفر خیالی او از دوزخ به برزخ و سپس به بهشت است. دانته در توصیف طبقات دوزخ و بهشت، از تلفیقی از الهیات مسیحی و اساطیر رومی و تخیل خویش بهره برده است.
معشوق او، "بئاتریس" که ساکن بهشت است، یکی از ارواح را (روح "ویرژیل"، شاعر رومی) می فرستد تا دانته را راهنمایی کرده، از دوزخ نجات دهد و به بهشت برساند. برای این سفر، دانته باید از طبقات دوزخ یک به یک پایین برود و از میان ارواح معذب بگذرد تا در
Mary Ronan Drew
Dec 03, 2013 Mary Ronan Drew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sura  ✿
Jan 09, 2016 Sura ✿ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry-شعر
في البداية لا يمكن انكار ان الترجمه سلبت الكثير من هذه الملحمه الشعريه لكن انصح بترجمه كاظم جهاد فهي الافضل وتحتوي على الاجزاء الثلاثه , بمجلد واحد
تعكس هذه اللوحه الرائعه اضطرابات الوضع السياسي والديني في تلك الفتره ,
وسيطرة الكنيسه وفسادها انذاك لذا نرى دانتي يترنح بين الشاعر العاطفي الميال الى الرحمه وبين رجل الدين المتعصب
الذي يحكم على من اعتنق دين غير المسيحيه بالعقاب في الجحيم , حتى وان كان نبيا -قبل او بعد المسيح- فهو يواجه هذا المصير.
وهاهو يرمي خصومه الذين عاصروه - وحتى من لم يعاصرهم لك
Sidharth Vardhan
“Through me the way is to the city dolent;
Through me the way is to eternal dole;
Through me the way among the people lost.
Justice incited my sublime Creator;
Created me divine Omnipotence,
The highest Wisdom and the primal Love.
Before me there were no created things,
Only eterne, and I eternal last.
“All hope abandon, ye who enter in!”

One of the death rites among Hindus is performance of a reading of ‘Garuda Purana’ during the mourning period- a book that like Inferno lists punishments giv
Ritu R
May 26, 2016 Ritu R rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Inferno is part one of the Divine Comedy Series where Dante Alighieri puts across his version of Hell, Purgatory and Heaven of course based on the Christian perception along with the addition of Greek Mythology.
Dante is lead on by his dear friend Virgilius through the Inferno and Purgatory, further Beatrice comes forward to lead him through the Paradise .

Dante has divided the hell in 9 circles with further subdivisions and all the sinners namely Heretics, Gluttonous, violent ones, Flatterers an
Jan 26, 2009 Debbie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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'
Sarah ❤
Nov 30, 2013 Sarah ❤ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I really liked this book because it was just so interesting to learn all the different levels of hell, whose in each, and what the punishment is for every sin.

Here’s all the levels:

Here is a good map of all the people there:

1st Circle of Hell: Limbo

Second Circle of Hell: Lust

Third Circle of Hell: Gluttony

Fourth Circle of Hell: Greed

Fifth Circle of Hell: Wrath

Sixth Circle of Hell: Heresy

Seventh Circle of Hell: Violence

Eight Circle of Hell: Fraud

Ninth Circle of Hell: Treachery

Well I’m not sinning
Andrew Spear
Mar 23, 2008 Andrew Spear rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As though I could really give Dante anything but five stars? Seriously, The Inferno in general and this edition in particular is a great read. Anthony Esolen does a great job of not only placing the book in its historical context (almost anyone who can write numbers can do that), but also of helping the reader to appreciate and to almost step inside of the world-view held by Dante himself. This is accomplished both through the use of copious informative endnotes and through the inclusion at the ...more
Simona Bartolotta
I already wrote a review (translate: adoring babbling not further specified) of this here (I beg your pardon, English-speaking friends: it's in Italian) but it dates back to two years ago and I won't probably come up with something new in a new review, which I'll post both in English and Italian (because, come on, I can't review Dante in English when I am Italian). (To many brackets here. I seem to not be able to elaborate a uniform text at the moment. I call this the Inferno phenomenon.) So, a ...more
In Florence, Italy, in the early 1300s, in the middle of the path of his life, a poet finds himself in a dark forest. Here’s Dante Alighieri - he always looks like this, by the way, just super mad. He’s got the worst resting bitch face.

hope: abandoned

And this is the problem with Inferno: Dante’s an asshole. In the poem he’s guided through hell, and later through Purgatory and then Paradise, by Virgil, whom you remember as the author of the Aeneid. There are some terrifically imaginative punishme
May 07, 2008 Jeff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
the only place i know in literature where saying "nice shoes" or "that's a lovely tattoo of a water buffalo on your forehead" or "you look especially wonderful in red rayon" but not meaning it is worse than murdering the entire population of stevens point, wi, (25,056 as of the last census) in an attempt to become emperor of the dairy state--a bitter guy sticks voodoo pins in everyone against whom he had an imagined or real gripe--if the bitter guy's vision is reality, all we can do is grab our ...more
Richard Derus
Jul 24, 2014 Richard Derus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Claire S
Ok, I'm officially giving up.
Yes, I agree with my daughter that it's cool how the punishments fit the crime - like for theives, their own actual human form keeps getting stolen and they are forced to shape-shift into reptilian form and back. Awesome.

But the payoff is insufficient.

How do I dislike these? Let me enumerate some of the ways:

Zillions of references to local politics of Italy circa 700AD - don't know, not that interested honestly.

Millions of references to mythology - don't know, so do
Sep 10, 2009 Miriam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Miriam by: the author
Shelves: poetry
This is a less accurate but wonderfully written vernacular translation of Dante's Inferno. Carson focused on recreating the feel of the poem rather than reproducing Dante's exact words. This is a great version for casual readers who find most translations too stuffy or formal. Do NOT choose it if you need to do anything serious with the work, as many allusions, details, and shades of meaning have been lost.

I had the pleasure of hearing Carson read some excerpts when this volume was first release
I read the verse translation by Robert Hollander and Jean Hollander. For each canto Dante's poem is printed in Italian, and the Hollander's English translation is on the facing page. At the end of each canto Robert Hollander has added scholarly explanatory notes. This makes Dante's allegorical masterpiece accessible to readers who may not be familiar with the historical events, religious references, poets, mythological figures, and 14th Century Florentines mentioned in the poem. (Dante used his ...more
Mar 10, 2016 Marjan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
این کتابو حدود سال پیش خوندم برای همین خیلی جزییات یادم نمیاد
اما یادمه اول ورودیه دوزخ ابن سینا هم بود توی کتاب :|
چون مسیحی نبود و حق ورود به بهشت نداشت :D
همه اینا به کنار
نویسنده عموما با هرکی خصومت شخصی داشت تو جهنم ذهنش تصورش کرده بود
و خببب...
این جهنمو واسه ما هم به تصویر کشیده بود
کمدی الهی مسلما یه شاهکار ادبیه
اما نمیشه گفت یه شاهکار ادبی هست که منطق و عقل و شعور روش حکمفرماست
جلدهای بعدیشو نخوندم اونموقع
چون سنم یکم پایین بود و خیلی ناراحت کننده بود بعضی متن هاش واسم
احتمالا در آینده ای نزد
Aug 06, 2008 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult, fiction
I could kiss the professor of my Concepts of Punishment course at CAL for making me read this book. I had no idea at the time how much I would think about it during my lifetime. I was just thinking about the lovers in the second circle today, almost ten years after I first read it.
May 10, 2016 sologdin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to sologdin by: Anne Birdsong
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);
This is far and away the best and most accessible translation I have read and I looked at several since 2010. But best of all is that it can now be listened to, as it is read with great cognition by Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, Nobel Prize Winner Seamus Heaney, Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize Winner Louise Glück, and Bolligen Prize Winner Frank Bidart, in a new production cosponsored by Penguin Audio and FSG Audio. It doesn't take long to listen to (5 hours), and it packs a punch, just like the ...more
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Dante Alighieri, or simply Dante (May 14/June 13 1265 – September 13/14, 1321), is one of the greatest poets in the Italian language; with the comic story-teller Boccaccio and the poet Petrarch, he forms the classic trio of Italian authors. Dante Alighieri was born in the city-state Florence in 1265. He first saw the woman, or rather the child, who was to become the poetic love of his life when he ...more
More about Dante Alighieri...

Other Books in the Series

La Divina Commedia (3 books)
  • Purgatorio (The Divine Comedy, #2)
  • Paradiso (The Divine Comedy, #3)

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“Do not be afraid; our fate
Cannot be taken from us; it is a gift.”
“In the middle of the journey of our life I found myself within a dark woods where the straight way was lost.” 466 likes
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