Customer Reviews for

The Inferno of Dante: A New Verse Translation by Robert Pinsky

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted December 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Disturbingly Great!

    This is a book that I have kept on my nightstand since I first read it. It strangely triggers the most F***cked up dreams I've ever had. Weird huh?

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A "Must Have" for the bibliophile . . .

    For decades, John Ciardi's translation has been my favorite translation of Dante, but Pinsky has managed to match it with a translation that retains much of the music of the original, which is given on the left-hand pages in this edition. The difference between the Ciardi and the Pinksy is that while Ciardi may be somewhat more faithful to the original, Pinksy manages here to retain a touch more of that musicality. Always, I first check one point in every translation I come across: the first nine lines of Canto III - Dante's famous inscription over the Gate of Hell, and as soon as I read this translation, I was intrigued. And I found that the work in its entirety does not disappoint. Were I the publisher, I'd very seriously consider a deluxe edition and search for a modern Doré to illustrate this - I'd love to see what someone like H. R. Giger might do with this - because Pinsky is a strong contender to set the new standard for modern translations of Dante. Perhaps the best I can say for this translation is that it reads wonderfully aloud.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2003

    Inferno of Dante: A New Verse Translation

    The fact that Pinsky was recognized with an actual award for his translation shows that anyone who thought Pinsky ruined the book is blatantly - not right. The book and its translation are awesome.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2006

    Dante┬┐s Bridge of the Ages

    Dante¿s Inferno is the landmark work of literature that bridges the Medieval Ages to the Renaissance. His interpretation of Hell is consistent enough with the teachings of the Church to seem reasonable to others, yet he flies in the face of all convention when he places prominent church leaders and historical figures in the depths of Hell. We have no way of knowing if any similar work was written prior to Dante¿s Divine Comedy, but we do know that his is the first one of its kind to survive. The fact that a work such as this survived to the present day reflects, perfectly, the European culture¿s movement out from underneath the oppressive thumb of the Church and towards free thought. Dante even went so far as to attack leaders of the Church who were alive at the time. Deep in the seventh circle, Dante comes across Pope Nicholas V, who mistakes Dante for Pope Boniface VIII, who was living at the time. ¿(Nicholas V) shouted: `Ha! already standest there? Already standest there, O Boniface!¿ (The Divine Comedy of Dante Aligheri, Cary 142)¿. Vicious attacks upon the character of previously revered people such as that one are found throughout The Inferno. It is no coincidence that thirty years after the writing of The Divine Comedy is the official beginning of the Renaissance, a time during which the Church was weak and open to attacks from its enemies. Dante¿s work is one of the first and strongest indications of the fall of the Medieval Church and the rise of Humanism in the Renaissance.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2003

    Intense, Thought Provoking Imagery!!!

    An intense rollercoaster ride crashing straight through the pulpits of HELL! This voyage through eternal torment and despair has been perfectly brought to life through Pinsky's translation of the Great Poem.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2001

    GREAT!

    Pinsky did an incredible job translating this book. I read parts of it in school and it wasn't written well; so bad that I didn't even feel like reading it. After reading Pinksy's version, however, I could tell what Dante was really trying to get across. You need to buy THIS book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2001

    Great Great

    This book was the most great book ever. I had to read it for a class, and i usually hate to read, but i just couldn't put this book down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2000

    Terriffic !!!!!!!!!

    This was the best book I've ever read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2000

    AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    this is the best book i ever read in my life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 29, 2011

    Timeless and lyrical

    Pinsky's translation is a great modern read of a timeless tale. A must have!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2006

    A Temporal Perspective on The Inferno

    Virgil. Ulysses. Geri del Bello. Judas. Fra Gomito. All of these people, whether well known or relatively obscure, can be found in Dante¿s depiction of hell in The Inferno. Dante attempts to make his work timeless, endeavoring to place well known figures of history in hell, the ultimate punishment. However, because Dante also tries to seek revenge on his personal enemies by subjecting them to horrific tortures, he detracts from his own work, making it one that can only be viewed within the context of the time period it was written in. A well known Roman figure in hell is Virgil, Dante¿s guide. Dante feels obligated to put Virgil in hell because he wasn¿t a Christian, but Dante only subjects him to the first circle, which has no tortuous punishment. Dante¿s feelings to other non-Christians are not as lenient, however. Instead of putting Mohammed of Islam in the heretic circle of hell (circle 6), he puts him at the bottom of the fraud circle (circle 8) as a schismatic. This demonstrates Dante¿s intolerance of Muslims and of Mohammed himself, who tried to create a ¿schism of religion¿ by promoting Islam. In Canto XV, Dante sees three Florentine politicians ¿ Conti Guidi, Jacopo Rusticucci, and Tegghiaio Aldobrandi. The politicians ¿¿raced up¿linked their bodies in a wheel. As champions, naked and oiled¿¿ in order to avoid getting ¿¿wounds both old and new¿where flames had burned their limbs¿ (Pinsky 161). The politicians are most likely in hell because Dante disagreed with their decisions. These decisions are never specifically addressed in The Inferno. Though Dante¿s audience was probably familiar with the decisions made by these politicians, the audience of future generations is left clueless as to why Guidi, Rusticucci, and Aldobrandi are stuck in the sodomite level of the seventh circle of hell. The lack of information concerning the politicians detracts from the timelessness of the piece, forcing the reader to view The Inferno from a specific temporal context. Works cited Alighieri, Dante. The Inferno of Dante. Trans. and Ed. Robert Pinksy New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1994.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2006

    Inferno- Controversial and Exciting

    At the time of publication, Dante¿s Inferno was the most controversial and descriptive story ever told, and it remains such today. Inferno is the story of Dante¿s journey through the different levels of hell and the chaos he encounters in each. He includes commentary on every kind of sin, from gluttony to betrayal. He uses himself as a narrator, but does so objectively. This makes it so the reader thinks Dante¿s ideas are God¿s ideas and he simply discovered them during his journey. This objective point of view is believable because Dante feels sympathy towards the sinners at the beginning even though he is the person who has put those sins in hell. However, his character is not assigning punishment he is simply observing the torture the sinners must endure. This torture includes stories ranging from the river Styx to the river of boiling blood to a three-headed monster chewing on the three greatest sinners in history. Dante is extremely descriptive from the beginning and his descriptions become more vivid as he gets deeper into hell. Since I was able to visualize and even feel the agony of hell, everything Dante is trying to convey becomes engrained into the reader¿s mind and each sin is thought about. The imagery in Inferno teased my mind more than any other imagery I have ever read, which is the reason I was also forced to think about every sin Dante discussed. Because of its imagery and controversial viewpoints on sin, Inferno has been an influential and popular book throughout history. I would recommend it to anyone because it is exciting and can be read as a historical perspective of hell or an exciting journey through the levels of hell and each reader can make of it what they want.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2003

    Inferno of Dante: A New Verse Translation

    The "Inferno of Dante" translated by Robert Pinsky is superb. His rhyming is different than the original, but the book doesn¿t lose its meaning. Others may not agree, but Pinsky was very true to the original and tried his hardest to mend the rhyme gaps between the Italian language and English. He acknowledges that it is his effort to bridge the two languages in his introduction. The book itself is wonderful and a delight to read. Dante used certain symbolism and allegory to produce a superior piece of literature. Because it is so superior, I praise it as one of the best books I have ever read. The meaning of the book amazes even the most educated and is not lost through Pinsky¿s translation. The "Inferno of Dante" cannot be given enough praise from either a literary standpoint or from a critical standpoint.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2001

    What a mess

    I am Italian, I live in Italy and I study classical subjects like Latin and ancient Greek in school. I read the entire poem by Dante in Italian, and reading it in English was disappointing. This transalation doesn't get across the original message, even if you can sense the effort made by the transalator. I always try to read books in the original language: if you want to enjoy Dante you should read it in Italian...

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted April 14, 2009

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    Posted March 20, 2010

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    Posted March 29, 2011

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    Posted May 15, 2010

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    Posted December 26, 2008

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    Posted September 2, 2013

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