Debbie's Reviews > The Inferno

The Inferno by Dante Alighieri
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Jan 26, 09

Read in January, 2009

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't.

It was a long slog for me. Things did pick up when I quit reading the summary that preceded each canto. This translator gives said summary, then the canto itself, then the footnotes explaining all the people and places that would have fallen into the dark recesses of history had Dante not immortalized them. Irony? Because Dante obviously thinks very little of most of the people he populates hell with.

And that leads to my biggest problems. This is a "burn book". A centuries old burn book, but still. "Here are all these people who did what I consider terrible things and here's what I hope happened to them in the afterlife." If the book hadn't been couched in religious (and a very specific religion at that) terms, I don't know that is would have lasted as long as it has.

So, while I admire the structure of the work, the discipline it must have taken to adhere to such a rigourous format, that's about all I admire. I have the other two thirds of the whole. I'll probably tackle them just to be able to say I read the whole Comedy. Maybe things lighten up a little and it won't feel like such a punishment for this reader.
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