The Divine Comedy 1: Inferno (Kirkpatrick Translation)

Overview

The most famous of the three canticles that comprise The Divine Comedy, Inferno describes Dante's descent in Hell midway through his life with Virgil as a guide. As he descends through nine concentric circles of increasingly agonizing torture, Dante encounters doomed souls that include the pagan Aeneas, the liar Odysseus, the suicidal Cleopatra, and his own political enemies, damned for their deceit. Led by leering demons, Dante must ultimately journey with Virgil to the deepest level of all-for it is only by ...

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Overview

The most famous of the three canticles that comprise The Divine Comedy, Inferno describes Dante's descent in Hell midway through his life with Virgil as a guide. As he descends through nine concentric circles of increasingly agonizing torture, Dante encounters doomed souls that include the pagan Aeneas, the liar Odysseus, the suicidal Cleopatra, and his own political enemies, damned for their deceit. Led by leering demons, Dante must ultimately journey with Virgil to the deepest level of all-for it is only by encountering Satan himself, in the heart of Hell, that he can truly understand the tragedy of sin. BACKCOVER: "Kirkpatrick brings a more nuanced sense of the Italian and a more mediated appreciation of the poem's construction than nearly all of his competitors. . . . There is much to recommend here-certainly the intelligence, the energy, the linguistic range. . . . His introduction and canto-by-canto notes are remarkably level and lucid, as attentive to structure as to syntax, language and motif, and deftly cross-reference the whole poem. On their own, they would justify the price."
-The Times (London)

"We gain much from Kirkpatrick's fidelity to syntax and nuance, and from the fact that the Italian is on the facing page for our inspection. . . . His introduction . . . tells you, very readably indeed, pretty much all you need for a heightened appreciation of the work. . . . Kirkpatrick edges us, smoothly, into Dante's mind, and shows just how and why his influence has seemed to grow with the passage of time. We even get a map of trecento Italy (nestling against a map of hell). . . . If the Purgatorio and Paradiso are as good as this, then English readers will, I hope, start familiarising themselves with the two-thirds of the work most never get round to reading."
-Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian

"The perfect balance of tightness and colloquialism... likely to be the best modern version of Dante.
-Bernard O'Donoghue

"This version is the first to bring together poetry and scholarship in the very body of the translation-a deeply informed version of Dante that is also a pleasure to read."
-Professor David Wallace, University of Pennsylvania

The finest of all Christian allegories, The Divine Comedy ranges over the whole culture -- theological as well as literary -- of the Middle Ages.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
"Kirkpatrick brings a more nuanced sense of the Italian and a more mediated appreciation of the poem's construction than nearly all of his competitors. . . . There is much to recommend here-certainly the intelligence, the energy, the linguistic range. . . . His introduction and canto-by-canto notes are remarkably level and lucid, as attentive to structure as to syntax, language and motif, and deftly cross-reference the whole poem. On their own, they would justify the price."
-The Times (London)

"We gain much from Kirkpatrick's fidelity to syntax and nuance, and from the fact that the Italian is on the facing page for our inspection. . . . His introduction . . . tells you, very readably indeed, pretty much all you need for a heightened appreciation of the work. . . . Kirkpatrick edges us, smoothly, into Dante's mind, and shows just how and why his influence has seemed to grow with the passage of time. We even get a map of trecento Italy (nestling against a map of hell). . . . If the Purgatorio and Paradiso are as good as this, then English readers will, I hope, start familiarising themselves with the two-thirds of the work most never get round to reading."
-Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian

"The perfect balance of tightness and colloquialism... likely to be the best modern version of Dante.
-Bernard O'Donoghue

"This version is the first to bring together poetry and scholarship in the very body of the translation-a deeply informed version of Dante that is also a pleasure to read."
-Professor David Wallace, University of Pennsylvania

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140448955
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/29/2006
  • Series: Penguin Classics Series
  • Pages: 560
  • Sales rank: 455,304
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.82 (h) x 1.03 (d)

Meet the Author

Dante Alighieri was born in 1265. Considered Italy's greatest poet, this scion of a Florentine family mastered in the art of lyric poetry at an early age. His first major work is La Vita Nuova (1292) which is a tribute to Beatrice Portinari, the great love of his life. Married to Gemma Donatic, Dante's political activism resulted in his being exiled from Florence to eventually settle in Ravenna. It is believed that The Divine Comedy—comprised of three canticles, The Inferno, The Purgatorio, and The Paradiso—was written between 1308 and 1320. Dante Alighieri died in 1321.

Robin Kirkpatrick is a widely published Dante scholar. He is fellow of Robinson College and professor of Italian and English literature at Cambridge University.
 

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