The Inferno
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The Inferno (The Divine Comedy #1)

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  70,957 ratings  ·  2,422 reviews
This startling new translation of Dante's Inferno is by Ciaran Carson, one of contemporary Ireland's most dazzlingly gifted poets. Written in a vigorous and inventive contemporary idiom, while also reproducing the intricate rhyme-scheme that is so essential to the beauty and power of Dante's epic, Carson's virtuosic rendering of the Inferno is that rare thing—a translation...more
Paperback, 328 pages
Published October 31st 2004 by NYRB Classics (first published 1314)
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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 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...more
Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
THIS BOOK IS ABOUT HOW HELL IS GONNA SUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK
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...more
Frances
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
Limbo

ii. LUST - Surrounded by erotic representations, those overcome by lust are forced to watch and experience disgusting thin...more
Algernon
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
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'...more
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...more
Andrew Spear
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
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'...more
Jeff
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 Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
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...more
Sarah Angell ❤❤


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...more
Miriam
Sep 10, 2009 Miriam rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Elizabeth
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.
Michael
What a joy to read literature that is not only well executed, but beautiful in spirit! Dante's work is one of the pillars of western literature, and justly so. Conceived and executed in a poetical form called "terza rima" and functioning on multiple levels of meaning simultaneously, the three books of the "Commedia" are a microcosm of human spiritual life. Care is lavished on every detail from the geography to the astronomy and everything in between. It is a monumental achievement, encompassing...more
Lynne King
This was one of my father's books and sadly my dog chewed the flycover.

This is an epic production of 138 prints by the translator and it took seven years to make. The original book was a limited edition and in 1985 retailed at £10,000 a copy. It makes one wonder what a book in that particular edition will sell for now. So I'm very happy to have this somewhat cheaper "popular edition" at home.

I confess that I basically just skimmed through it at the time not really appreciating its worth but now...more
Justin Evans
Dante is the standard against which other authors should be judged. He is smarter than other authors, his work is more beautiful than theirs, and while he can create characters out of two words, he doesn't think that's all there is to literature. If the Western intellectual tradition has a center that holds everything together, it is Dante: he brings together everything that went before him, and you can find seeds in the Comedy for almost everything that comes after him. In every book I read, I...more
Ahmad
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 می کند
چنان تلخ است که مرگ جز اندکی از آن تلخ تر 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
قسمتی از سرود اول دوزخ
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.
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...more
Iris
In the damp fog of summer, Dante guides me take a bite out of life. Che magnifico docente! This translation is especially fine, according to Ralph Williams, professor emeritus at University of Michigan and my idol for his boundless love of life. I endorse this translation for a few reasons:

- modernized Italian on the facing page. Play with the Italian: try reading it aloud, or just seek out specific passages and words.

- endnotes following each canto. Much better than footnotes at the bottom of e...more
Stefan Yates
As a literature minor, I know that I'm supposed to take great joy in dissecting and analyzing a great work of literature such as The Inferno, but I didn't really enjoy this book all that much.

I found way too much of the storyline to be repetitive and drawn out for two long. The first half or so of the story is basically traveling from one circle of Hell to another, finding out what the sin and the punishment for the sin in that area is, meeting and talking with one or two of the sinners and rel...more
Alex
I'm afraid it's over between us, El. And Patrick. I read this whole thing all over again just because you said I'm an asshole and it's really very good, and guess who's the asshole? Dante. Dante is the asshole.

Here are the three problems with this book:

1) It is confusing. There are famously nine circles, right? Fine. But after the sixth, we start subdividing, so there are three rings in the seventh circle, and three parts of the third ring, and ten bolgias in the eighth circle, and you just kind...more
David
When I finally decided, earlier this year, to try to plug some of the holes that my 'classical education' had somehow left unfilled, "The Inferno" was high on my list. Since I don't know any Italian, choosing a decent translation was one of the first questions to be addressed. I spent an hour in Cody's comparing various options (there are a gazillion translations out there) - this was one of two that I ended up buying. Surprisingly (to me at any rate), roughly half of the available translations...more
Zanna
Dante's lively, conical hell is vivacious, and his story is presented as history, allowing its spiritual and philosophical significance to emerge unforced. It offers a nuanced view of human action, thought, character and judgement, as well as the role of divine justice.

All this might seem unappealing to an atheist like me, but its clarity makes this book easy and enjoyable to read, and Dante is clearly more interested in crafting a fanciful vision of hell and in the diversity of human foibles th...more
Richard
The amazing intellectual architectural structure of theme and allegory is certainly enormously impressive! It has the complexity of a literary cathedral and there is nothing to equal it in European Literature. In addition,I am fascinated by the wildness of the imagery which is as stunning as anything I have ever read in a fantasy novel. That final terrifying image of Satan frozen in the ice of his own hubris is unforgettable.

The allegorical layers add profundity to this symbolic kaleidoscope. T...more
Sarah
Grotesque, intense, confusing...

Hell is a very exciting place. While I'm sure a huge portion of it was over my head and I should reread it, I still managed to understand basically what was going on.

I liked how you could sense a sort of mockery in parts of it. The popes and religious figures who were cast down in Hell.

The punishments matching the sin was fantastic! The suicides losing their bodies, the fortune tellers seeing only behind them forever, those who killed in anger boiling in a river o...more
Al Grey

لا أصدق اني انهيت الكتاب بيوم واحد .. لا أعلم ما يمكن أن أقول ! يجب على كل شخص قراءة هذا الكتاب !

- 2012

___

حسنا .. بعد مرور سنتين على قراءتها وبعد ان انتهت نشوة الجماع مع الكتاب إن سمحت لي بالوقاحة .. نستطيع الآن التحدث عن الكتاب بطريقة ناضجة وليس كطفل في محل حلوى

(( المعذرة إن كانت هناك اي امور اساسية نسيت ذكرها .. ذاكرتي باهتة رغم اني اعلم بان هذا لا يهمك ))

كبداية .. الكوميديا الإلهية .. تبدأ بالجحيم ، مرورا بالمطهر و إنتهاءا بالفردوس ، تبدأ الملحمة مع الكاتب دانتي .. تائها بغابة مظلمة والتي ل...more
Michael
I originally purchased and read The Inferno back when I was fifteen years old because I figured it would give off the impression of how sophisticated I was because I was reading epic poetry dated back from the fourteenth century. Not going to lie, I still say to people, "Oh, you've only played the video game? I've read the original, hohoho!"

However, my appreciation for this poem resurfaced about a year ago when I wrote a research paper comparing this to Ibsen's Ghosts. (Don't ask me how I accom...more
Rana  Essa
دلوقتى انا عارفة انى قدام قطعه من روائع الادب الايطالى ويمكن لو قارنت بأدبيات العصر اللى هو تابع ليها هيكون فعلا ملحمة...لكن انا هاحكم هنا حكم منطقى من وجهه نظرى وبس:
اهم حاجة هاتلفت النظر هى عدم تناسق الاّثام مع العقوبات.فمثلا

1- دانتى وضع السلبيين الذين لم يفعلوا خير ولا شر فى مقدمة الجحيم بينما اللى اتولدوا قبل المسيحية او ماتوا اطفال ولم يتم تعميدهم دول موجودين فى اللمبو الحلقة الاولى...واعتقد ان المنطق يقول العكس..خصوصا انه وضح ان لا امل لهم فى المطهر او الخلاص يعنى تواجد بشكل ابدى بلا راحة ف...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...
The Divine Comedy Purgatorio (The Divine Comedy, #2) Paradiso (The Divine Comedy, #3) Vita Nuova The Portable Dante

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“Do not be afraid; our fate
Cannot be taken from us; it is a gift.”
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“In the middle of the journey of our life I found myself within a dark woods where the straight way was lost.” 311 likes
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