The Inferno

The Inferno

3.9 409
by Dante Alighieri

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This story begins in a shadowed forest on Good Friday in the year of our Lord 1300. It proceeds on a journey that, in its intense re-creation of the depths and the heights of human experience, has become the key with which Western civilization has sought to unlock the mystery of its own identity.  See more details below


This story begins in a shadowed forest on Good Friday in the year of our Lord 1300. It proceeds on a journey that, in its intense re-creation of the depths and the heights of human experience, has become the key with which Western civilization has sought to unlock the mystery of its own identity.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Energetic, racy, rude and lyrical . . . buy this translation and spend a damn good season in hell."  —Independent

"A tour de force, alive, immediate, energetic and very moving."  —A.S. Byatt

"Excellent. Dante’s vision vibrates again in all its original colour. The effect is dazzling."  —Independent on Sunday

Joan Acocella - The New Yorker
“The freedoms James takes allow him to get off some beautiful phrases…James is a poet, doing a poet's work…[He] is also a premier practitioner of the high-low style that became so popular in the nineteen-twenties, notably via Eliot and Pound, which is to say, in part, via Dante.”
Joseph Luzzi - New York Times Book Review
“Seeking to preserve Dante's 'infinitely variable rhythmic pulse,' James makes an inspired metrical choice…The greatest virtue of James's translation is his gift for infusing poetry in the least likely places…James's austere volume achieves something remarkable: It lets Dante's poetry shine in all its brilliance.”
Robert McCrum - Guardian
“An extraordinary verse-rendering—the fruit of many years' work—of Dante's The Divine Comedy…[James] has not only tackled this Everest of translation, but has scrambled to the summit in triumph.”

Product Details

callender press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.69(d)

Meet the Author

Dante Alighieri (c. 1265-1321) was an Italian poet, writer, and political thinker. After studying at the University of Bologna, he married and had four children. Dante was exiled from his hometown of Florence in 1302 due to his political leanings, finally settling in the city of Ravenna in 1307, when he began writing The Divine Comedy.

John Lotherington has written widely on Renaissance literature and history. He is the editor and author of Years of Renewal: European History 1470-1600.

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The Inferno 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 409 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Yes, once again, Aaron actually reads a classic. The last time this happened was, ummm..., a few years ago. Anyway, this time I tackled the famous recounting of one man's journey to Hell. The version I read used the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow translation from the nineteenth century, which might have made things harder then they needed to be, as there were definitely some archaic words used. Not that the subject wasn't hard enough, considering that the book was written around 750 years ago. What I wasn't prepared for was how personal everything would be (for the author, not for me). See, Dante used this book (and most likely all of the Divine Comedy, of which The Inferno is just the first part) to take some rather serious pot shots at various people he didn't like, as well as showing favor to people that he did like. For example, many of Dante's political enemies find themselves in some rather interesting situations in hell, undergoing some rather perverse tortures for their sins in life. A number of classical philosphers and poets show up in Hell, too, which only makes sense considering that they died without acknowledging the Lordship of Jesus Christ. However, because Dante likes these guys, they are only in the first circle of Hell, where things relatively aren't all that unpleasant (like Judas Iscariot, who gets eaten by Lucifer for all eternity. Lovely.). Lastly, I would like to note that the preface, the footnotes, and the endnotes were very helpful in getting a proper understanding for what was going on and putting it in the proper context. Props to whoever put that all together.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If your looking at this as a possible book to reread, get it. If you've never read The Inferno, BUY THIS COPY. Its the greatest poem in history, arguably the greatest work of art in history. It is epic, beautiful, amazing, and stimulating, intellectualy and emotionally. In ways, it is beyond flawless. Everything about this work: the writing, the story, the characters, the presentation, eben the preface is masterful. Buy it, and never sell it unless you can get another copy cheaper.
TwinsfanLR More than 1 year ago
Dante takes a journey through the 9 levels of hell with incredible dipictions of the tortures of each level... yeah if you can understand it. This was written in 1300 so obviously the writting is much different. I found it incredibly hard to read and if it hadnt been for the endnotes i would have finished and had no idea what i just read. The idea behind the book is briliant, i loved it, i just couldnt follow along very well. I learned a lot and it was interesting enough, but it is just a tough book to follow along with. If you have lots of time, READ IT, and good luck.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The writing in Dante¿s Inferno is beautiful, powerful, and effective. It was a little hard to comprehend, but I understood much of it. I thought the book was very excellent and fun to read. I would recommend it to anyone who finds fantasy interesting. The way God/Dante punishes the people in Hell is weird/interesting, but I loved it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Inferno is an epic poem, rather than a novel. Written in the first person, Dante takes the reader through his version of Hell. As he descends, the sins become increasingly catastrophic. Comical at times, serious at times, but all around a great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It probably took me a month to trudge through Dante's Inferno. That being said, it was probably one of the best books i have ever read, and I really wish there was a modern text version of it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
From the fiery pits of the Wrathful, to the bitter, glacial tombs of the Traitors, Hell has a torturous domicile to accommodate sinners of all kinds for eternity. Dante Alighieri is considered by many to be one of the most brilliant writers of all time, and is credited with the transformation from Middle Age literature to the masterpieces of the Renaissance. The pinnacle of his writing career was “Dante’s Inferno”, which was published as part of his “Divine Comedy” in 1314. Dante’s brilliant epic poem explored the faults of humankind through the journey across Hell and the shortcomings of the main character.  The protagonist of the story is Dante, who is a poet that must pass through the nine circles of Hell in order to achieve salvation. He must cross over the circles of Limbo, Lust, Gluttony, Avarice, Wrath, Heresy, Violence, Fraud, and Treachery/Betrayal, each more detestable than the last. Fortunately, Dante is guided by his perspicacious guide, Virgil, who comes to him as he is being attacked by animals and has lost his way – both literally and figuratively. As he traverses through the underworld, the faults of human civilization are exposed by each of the nine circles. To give example of each of these faults, Alighieri includes notable figures from history, literary works, and mythology, such as Alexander the Great and Helen, by placing them in the circle that they supposedly belong. In the novel, Dante frequently converses with these support characters in order to elucidate how to alleviate his sins. Additionally, these conversations provide insight as to the sins that each of these people represent and which human fault they symbolize. Furthermore, it can be argued that the character Dante does not wholly represent the author, but rather mankind itself, while Virgil represents God, as he guides Dante to salvation, which is similar to how God guides people to that same result.  These colloquies are pretty common and somewhat predictable (although the content and messages are not), as the poem follows a generally linear plot in which Dante enters the next circle, talks with the damned souls, deals with the challenges of the current situation, and moves on to the next circle. Consequently, the linear plot doesn’t build much suspense and the poem is met with a very anticlimactic end when Dante meets Lucifer.  The barren ending was a shortcoming of the book; however, it was still a brilliant work of literature. The clever symbolism in the book, such as when the punishment for avarice is pushing a boulder against another boulder, which is pointless like wealth, is particularly impressive. Additionally, the dark and hopeless atmosphere of the book is held throughout the book, as it never fails to remind the reader that he/she is in Hell. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don't get this version. There is only a tiny fraction of the poem here. What a rip off!
Joseph Vinsky More than 1 year ago
Good soo mch fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
thirsting_for_knowledge More than 1 year ago
i don't particularly like poetry, but this book is incredible. though the first canto is a little boring, it grabs you from the second canto all the way through to the 34th. the book can be a little hard to understand due to the translation by Longfellow into the older English of the time, but if you switch the words around a little bit, it tends to make better sense. this is a very gruesome, gorey, and depictive book of how Hell is. i recommend this for everyone who would like to see into the "9 levels" of Hell as portrayed by Dante.
mark82 More than 1 year ago
The Inferno is one of the best books I have read. Once I began reading it, I could not stop. Normally books written in this time period do not hold my interest, but Dante did.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. It was great I L.O.V.E a book with symbolizism in it. This book is always misrepresented as one thing when its talking about something else. Dante biography is amazing. N his L.O.V.E for Beatrice was incredible. I had decided to do farther research on his life. From start to finish the book his life....both very wonderful. I enjoyed is a MUST READ!!!
Anonymous 11 months ago
Of all the books this literary form for a book is very difficult to maintain especially what is list in trabslation. Only two american novels ever made the best seller list in verse western star and one about civil war jackie kennedy was said to have memorized one for her present to groom
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I gave this book to my sister. I haven't heard from her since, so it must be good!
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It doesn't read well. There are too many Anglo-French choices when more contemporary words could have worked better.
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It's much faster reading the Inferno on the Nook than the paper book because of the footnote links. But all around a great book.
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