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The Inferno (John Ciardi Translation)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

great transltion

I have wanted to read the Inferno on my own for quite a while. However, not reading it in an English class somewhat concerned me. I thought that perhaps not having a professor explaining all of the symbolism and historical background might cheat me of the Dantean experi...
I have wanted to read the Inferno on my own for quite a while. However, not reading it in an English class somewhat concerned me. I thought that perhaps not having a professor explaining all of the symbolism and historical background might cheat me of the Dantean experience. Ciardi's translation, summary at the beggining of each canto, and notes on the text at the end of the canto were amazing! But let's not forget the genius that was Dante here. I thought that his work was highly creative and imaginative. I would not only recommend this to someone who wishes to read a great classic, (that everyong one should atleast be aware of)but to those that simple like horror novles.

posted by Anonymous on May 29, 2005

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

The good, the bad, and the poorly told

I had rather mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand the actual plot is fascinating. One man¿s chance to walk through hell and report what it¿s like. This is what actually drew me to the book in the first place. I also liked Dante¿s interpretations of the punish...
I had rather mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand the actual plot is fascinating. One man¿s chance to walk through hell and report what it¿s like. This is what actually drew me to the book in the first place. I also liked Dante¿s interpretations of the punishments of hell, with each punishment being symbolic of the actual offense committed: poetic justice. However, I didn¿t care for the manner in which Dante narrated the story. When he is in Limbo, he describes how the great poets of the world accepted him into their numbers, and he describes how angels in heaven weep for him so that they sent him a guide to bring him safely through hell. This undertone, which is found throughout the novel, I think make Dante sound rather arrogant and preachy. This ¿holier than tho¿ attitude, I find, distracts from the story. Also, while I like Dante¿s use of poetic justice, I thought he might have played down hell. Hell is supposed to be a place of eternal torment, but for many of the punishments he lists I found myself thinking, ¿Yeah that would suck for the first couple decades¿but then you¿d get used to it.¿ Being devoured by the Cerberus on level 3 would be torture, but you have an eternity of it ahead: you would learn to live with it. Even all the way down on level 9 where you are frozen in ice for committing treason. You would eventually become accustomed to the cold. In conclusion, I would say that The Inferno by Dante is a good story told poorly. It has no real climax, no conflict to speak of, it seems to contradict itself in being something interesting portrayed in an uninteresting way. I¿m afraid I must admit that I did not enjoy reading The Inferno.

posted by Anonymous on March 23, 2007

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2005

    great transltion

    I have wanted to read the Inferno on my own for quite a while. However, not reading it in an English class somewhat concerned me. I thought that perhaps not having a professor explaining all of the symbolism and historical background might cheat me of the Dantean experience. Ciardi's translation, summary at the beggining of each canto, and notes on the text at the end of the canto were amazing! But let's not forget the genius that was Dante here. I thought that his work was highly creative and imaginative. I would not only recommend this to someone who wishes to read a great classic, (that everyong one should atleast be aware of)but to those that simple like horror novles.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2007

    The good, the bad, and the poorly told

    I had rather mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand the actual plot is fascinating. One man¿s chance to walk through hell and report what it¿s like. This is what actually drew me to the book in the first place. I also liked Dante¿s interpretations of the punishments of hell, with each punishment being symbolic of the actual offense committed: poetic justice. However, I didn¿t care for the manner in which Dante narrated the story. When he is in Limbo, he describes how the great poets of the world accepted him into their numbers, and he describes how angels in heaven weep for him so that they sent him a guide to bring him safely through hell. This undertone, which is found throughout the novel, I think make Dante sound rather arrogant and preachy. This ¿holier than tho¿ attitude, I find, distracts from the story. Also, while I like Dante¿s use of poetic justice, I thought he might have played down hell. Hell is supposed to be a place of eternal torment, but for many of the punishments he lists I found myself thinking, ¿Yeah that would suck for the first couple decades¿but then you¿d get used to it.¿ Being devoured by the Cerberus on level 3 would be torture, but you have an eternity of it ahead: you would learn to live with it. Even all the way down on level 9 where you are frozen in ice for committing treason. You would eventually become accustomed to the cold. In conclusion, I would say that The Inferno by Dante is a good story told poorly. It has no real climax, no conflict to speak of, it seems to contradict itself in being something interesting portrayed in an uninteresting way. I¿m afraid I must admit that I did not enjoy reading The Inferno.

    1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2003

    John Ciardi's translation is by far the best!

    Virgil guides Dante through the torturing of Hell. Dante gives his readers a great and scary vision through the eternal misery of Hell.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 26, 2011

    Love this book

    This book is one of my favorites, the translation is excellent especially if you are a first time reader of this book. Very easy to read and understand.

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  • Posted July 5, 2011

    O

    Oh my gosh sooo awsome

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  • Posted January 27, 2011

    leave a better sample

    Sample review gives you no idea how the book is laid out, just talks about why he translates the way he does, and creds to his family. No example of the actual text of the story which is what lead me to purchase from another author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2010

    My son loves it.

    My fifteen year old son bought this to read for pleasure, and he enjoyed it very much.

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  • Posted September 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The Inferno - a look at what sin does to the soul, and how to escape hell.

    Dante's work shows an individual who has gotten lost in his ego, selfishness, isolation, and loneliness, and has been given someone to help in out of his situation. The way is through Hell, in which one must see what sin is, and what it does to the soul. The soul is meant to fly, be free, and joyful, and God is the hub of the wheel to which all are connected. In this poetic work, Dante takes us to see how narrow the soul is when it shrinks into it's own ego, and feels independent of God. We see in the climax a pathetic figure of Satan. One can now make his/her own choice which roads in life one will take. United in God, or separated and isolated, and cold. A wonderful, thought-provoking read.

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  • Posted December 7, 2008

    The Inferno: An allegorical masterpiece.

    Dante's epic begins with a colorful story of how he has became lost from the True Way, and now he finds himself in a dark woods. But as the sun comes out, he feels rejuvenated and decides to travel to the Mount of Joy to get back on the Path. But he is blocked, and the shade of Virgil comes to lead him, through Hell, to get back to the Path. Then, Dante proceeds to explain in detail his grim travels through Hell, which I believe is beautiful. I do not agree in all Dante says, but the story of him and Virgil traveling through the levels of hell and Dante's learning of God's justice and Virgil's representation of Human reason is awe inspiring. With unique twists, Dante depicts Hell in vivid description, often with great details on the punishments the condemned have to go through. And through this, Dante is able to construct much tension between his character's pity and how Virgil says he should act. The catholic traditional theology and the heavy use of greco-roman classical mythology throughout the epic is often overwhelming, but it best depicts and explains the wildly structured and geographical Hell Dante portrays. One thing that drove me crazy was the climax, where Dante on his journey meets Lucifer. I believe he intentionally wrote it to be anticlimactic, but it kind of killed my imagination, no matter how 'accurate' it is. This book was a very interesting read to me; thrilling as much as historical. I enjoyed it, and any one who also enjoys reading epic-like stories of classical mythology, biblical stories, or stories like Beowulf will enjoy this. It was a great read, and relatively easy to understand, too. My next step will probably to be to read the next book in the series, Purgatorio, and then maybe Paradiso.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2008

    What a trip.

    This book was really a trip. Since I had to read it in english class, I decided to give this a chance. I would have never picked up this book for fun. I loved this book. It was descriptive throughtout the whole story, telling us readers about a trip through Hell. I loved the details of the bloody people and what Satan looked like, from Dante's point of view. He put people I knew from previous stories in Hell. I liked knowing who people were and what they did. I recommend this to college level students, otherwise I recommend this to anyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2007

    Creative

    Very clear, easy to understand, outstanding book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2004

    A Book That Makes You Think

    A great book is one that makes you think about what you've read way after you've read it. I have just finished reading this one today and imagine it will have that effect on me. It is written telling of the times that Dante was living in about the moral decay of the society that he was a part of. It takes a brief look at him leaving the path of Faith in the beginning and seeing the torment of others who left that path and the specific torture they were enduring as a result of that. Masterfully written and still holds up after roughly 700 years.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2004

    The inferno is WONDERFUL!!!

    The Iferno is a work of art that deserves to be shown in the highest of respects. It is a controversial book and is rightfully so.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2003

    AMAZING!!!

    I was forced to read this book as part of my high school literature class, and Thank you very much. This is by far the best book I've ever read, not only is the story very interesting, but the symbolism Dante uses is amazing. Don't just read the text, read all the footnotes they are very interesting and really help to show the genius of Dante.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2002

    Incredible

    We have a set of these books at our school and I have yet to read them. I have read the original transcription and Inferno is THE best book I have ever read. Dante never leaves out a detail and describes everything in splendor. I dont believe I will ever read another book that will compare to the exceptionalism that is written by Dante.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2002

    The Best

    this was by far the best book ever written

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2002

    Easy to read translation

    Im a 14 year old boy who can read this version easily. Includes overview of the chapter you are reading and translations of confusing parts.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2001

    The Inferno is a literary masterpiece!

    Dante Alighieri has insured his place as one of the greatest poets of all time. The Inferno combines many political ideas of the renaissance with christian spirituality making for a great book. John Ciardi adds his brilliance with foot notes and chapter summaries that make it easy for anyone to understand. Even a 15 year old like me can appreciate the masterpiece that is the Inferno.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2001

    Extraordinary!!!

    Dante's first volume of his Divine Comedy is quite possibly the greatest work of poetry ever commited to paper. I came across 'The Inferno' in a used bookstore. I had heard of it, but didn't know what it was about. I read the synopsis on the back and was compelled to buy it. Best $1.50 I ever spent. Not only is the writing gorgeous, but the story is fascinating as well. The story is about the poets Virgil and Dante as they journey through Hell. Dante encounters enemies, legends, and even mentors from his native Florence in the mass of sinners found in Hades. These meeting are amazing examples of Dante's religious and political views. Also, John Ciardi's translation is wonderful. Ciardi explains the bountiful amount of archaic and obscure references found throughout the text with great detail at the end of each Canto. I appreciated this small Mideivel History lesson. It made reading this book all the more enjoyable. Hope you like it!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2000

    BEST TRANSLATION!

    This is the best translation of Inferno I have seen. One of few that actually follows the aba-cdc form.

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