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The Inferno (The Divine Comedy #1)

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  83,323 ratings  ·  2,762 reviews

A faithful yet totally original contemporary spin on a classic, Dante's Inferno as interpreted by acclaimed artist Sandow Birk and writer Marcus Sanders is a journey through a Hell that bears an eerie semblance to our own world. Birk, hailed by the Los Angeles Times as one of "realism's edgier, more visionary painters," offers extraordinarily nuanced and vivid illustration

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Hardcover, 199 pages
Published July 20th 1998 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1304)
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Hadeer Negm not really , the main target here is political . he was against a lot of ideas in religion.
some of the characters in hell are supposed to be in…more
not really , the main target here is political . he was against a lot of ideas in religion.
some of the characters in hell are supposed to be in paradise and that was obvious because his own guide "virigil " is from the inhabitants of hell .
another obvious thing was his admiration which appears in the description of the one who challenge god .
he was actually laughing at the justice of god & say that it's not justice .
(less)
Edward Richmond A simple "yes" would do some disservice to the poem, because it's more complicated than that. He's certainly criticizing the society he lived in, and…moreA simple "yes" would do some disservice to the poem, because it's more complicated than that. He's certainly criticizing the society he lived in, and with reason--he was exiled from his homeland, subject to several assassination attempts, and he watched a good many of his old friends and colleagues either get killed, suffer exile like himself, or betray their old comrades.

But also, you must keep in mind that the Inferno is one-third of a larger work, and that Dante saw fit to call the whole thing "the comedy." That's mostly in the old sense of "story with a happy ending" although there is some humor here and there, especially in the Inferno.

And keep in mind, also, that Dante ends the Comedy by having his narrator come back to earth and continue to live his life.

So. Always keeping in mind that Dante is approaching this as a story with a happy ending, his hell certainly is a representation of the society he lived in, and in particular it is a representation of the parts of society that he didn't particularly like. There are a few people whose names we only know because Dante put them in hell, in fact, and a few others who are known elsewhere in history as relatively decent people--but Dante didn't like them, so he stuck them in Inferno.

However, Dante's version of hell is MORE than just a representation of his what's wrong with society. He spends a lot of time asking us, as readers, to think about the very nature of justice. The word he uses is "contrapasso." The punishment fits the crime, symbolically.

Moreover this is a poem about repentance. Yes, evildoers suffer disgusting, torturous punishments in this poem, but several times Dante goes out of his way to say, in effect, "This is terrifying, but they DESERVE this. They're sinners, and they're NOT sorry." He shows us people in hell, yes, people in torment, yes. But when they talk to him, they almost always blame their predicaments on other people, or make some kind of excuse. They're in hell because they're incapable of repentance. And finally, he gets down to the ice field at the center of hell, and promises one of the damned that he'll break the ice off of his eyes if he talks. And then, after the shade DOES talk, Dante breaks his word and says, basically, "Showing kindness to the damned is evil, because everyone in hell deserves infinite suffering."

The difference is clearer when you read the Purgatorio, because then you encounter some other sinners, and they also are going through some really horrific torture. The difference is that they blame themselves. They say they're sorry for what they did in life to deserve their punishments.

As modern readers, this is all rather a hard pill for us to swallow. Eternal damnation is not a prominent fixture of modern Christian teaching.(less)
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Community Reviews

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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
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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
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Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
THIS BOOK IS ABOUT HOW HELL IS GONNA SUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK
Nefariousbig
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
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Maureen
I DID IT. I FINISHED IT. BLESS.
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
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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'
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Nahed.E

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
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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
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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.
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'
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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
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Ademilson Moraes
Inferno is a rather interesting poem, even more when you take into consideration the various motives Dante had for writing it. One of the foremost reasons was partially revenge on propaganda against his political enemies. Dante's native city of Florence, Italy, was in political turmoil at the time of writing Inferno. Two warring clans, the Guelphs and the Ghibillines, alternatively ruled Florence. As a Guelph, Dante's clan suffered a defeat around 1301 which caused him to be banished from the ...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
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Trish
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
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
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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 I
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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
Karim Mohamed
سمعت الكثير عن هذه الكوميديا .. الإسم أصلاً كان غريب .. لقد قام دانتي بكتابة ثلاثية عن يوم القيامة (الجحيم - المطهر - الجنة ) كيف يمكنك أن تكتب عن موضوع شائك مثل هذا الموضوع ؟

circles of hell in dantes inferno 50291c3324df2

“يا رُبات الشعر , يا أيتها العبقريّة العُليا , الآن ساعديني...
وأنت أيتها الذاكرة التي سجّلت ما رأيت , هنا سيظهرُ نُبلكـِ..”


الكتابة عن هذه الملحمة صعب جداً ، الكثير من المشاعر و الكثير من الوصف الرائع ، اللوحات عن تلك الملحمة كانت عبقرية و ملهمة مثل العمل تماماً.

Dante Bouguereau

“Do not be afraid; our fate
Cannot be taken from us; it is a
...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
Ben De Bono
For this year's Dante reading, I read the John Ciardi, Henry Longfellow, and Anthony Esolen translations in parallel. These are a couple thoughts on each of those translations

Ciardi: I really enjoy the translation, though the rhyme scheme is forced at times (Ciardi himself admits this in some of his notes). When considering not only the text but the accompanying notes and Canto summaries, Ciardi's edition is, in my opinion, the best all around option out there.

Longfellow: This is the translatio
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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
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
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
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 Sharabiani
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 میکند
چنان تلخ است که مرگ جز اندکی از آن تلختر 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
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2015 Reading Chal...: Inferno (The Divine Comedy #1) by Dante Alighieri 3 14 Jul 06, 2015 07:11AM  
IS SHE AVAILABLE?: The Death of Poetry 1 3 Apr 26, 2015 12:46PM  
All About Books: Inferno by Dante Alighieri (Laura, Jenny & Eleonora) 122 109 Apr 02, 2015 01:35AM  
My First Impressions By: Madeleine Wiscombe 2 13 Jan 14, 2015 06:31PM  
Weight or Strength? 6 31 Oct 09, 2014 07:58PM  
Was Dante mentally insane? 6 113 Apr 17, 2014 03:05PM  
  • Orlando Furioso
  • The Song of Roland
  • The Sonnets and A Lover's Complaint
  • Euripides V: Electra / The Phoenician Women / The Bacchae
  • The Faerie Queene
  • Paradise Lost and Other Poems
  • Fairy Tales
  • Canti
  • A Season in Hell & Illuminations
  • The Prose Edda
  • Canzoniere: Selected Poems
  • Selected Essays (Penguin Classics)
  • The Aeneid
  • Troilus and Criseyde
  • If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho
  • The Kalevala
  • Catullus: The Complete Poems
  • Lancelot: The Knight of the Cart
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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

The Divine Comedy (3 books)
  • Purgatorio (The Divine Comedy, #2)
  • Paradiso (The Divine Comedy, #3)
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.”
1765 likes
“In the middle of the journey of our life I found myself within a dark woods where the straight way was lost.” 398 likes
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