Inferno: A New Verse Translation by Michael Palma

Overview

In a market crowded with translations of Dante's poetic masterpiece, Michael Palma sets himself apart. He has rendered Inferno into contemporary American English while maintaining Dante's original triple-rhyme scheme. Unlike every known translator before him, Palma re-creates Inferno in all its dimensions, without emphasizing some aspects over others. The result is a translation that can be appreciated for its literal faithfulness and beautiful poetic form. Palma is a poet who often uses traditional forms, and he...
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Inferno: A New Verse Translation by Michael Palma

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Overview

In a market crowded with translations of Dante's poetic masterpiece, Michael Palma sets himself apart. He has rendered Inferno into contemporary American English while maintaining Dante's original triple-rhyme scheme. Unlike every known translator before him, Palma re-creates Inferno in all its dimensions, without emphasizing some aspects over others. The result is a translation that can be appreciated for its literal faithfulness and beautiful poetic form. Palma is a poet who often uses traditional forms, and he is a translator who works to preserve the poetic form of the original. In undertaking a triple-rhyme translation of Inferno, Palma defies the conventional wisdom of literary commentators, who have long argued that it cannot be done. The translation is accompanied by facing-page Italian and by explanatory notes.
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Editorial Reviews

William Dean Howells
Here at last that much suffering reader will find Dante's greatness manifest, and not his greatness only, but his grace, his simplicity, and his affection... Opening the book we stand face to face with the poet, and when his voice ceases we may well marvel if he has not sung to us in his own Tuscan.
The Nation
Lawrence Ferlinghetti
I find Michael Palma's Inferno to be one that I'm having a hard time improving.
Richard Wilbur
I think highly of Michael Palma's Inferno....Readers will find it admirably clear and readable.
John Ahern
As a translation into triple rhyme I believe that Palma's work will become the translation of choice for most readers.
Library Journal
Dante's Divine Comedy remains an invitation and challenge for modern poets and translators how to provide an aid for scholars but also to suggest something of Dante's greatness as a poet. Recent verse translations include those of Allen Mandelbaum (1980), Robert Pinsky (1994), Marc Musa (1995), and Peter Dale (1997), and Robert Durling has created a good prose version (1996). Palma, a poet who has provided English renditions of the poetry of Alfredo De Palchi, Guido Gozzano, and Diego Valeri, among others, takes up the challenge with commendable results. Like Dale, and unlike the rest, he attempts to capture Dante's terza rima, which is a challenge in rhyme-poor English. However, Palma's diction and syntax capture the range and vigor of the Inferno more accurately than that of his colleagues. Palma includes a minimum of notes to identify major figures and explain his reading of selected lines. This edition includes the Italian on the facing page. A superb translation; highly recommended for all libraries. T.L. Cooksey, Armstrong Atlantic State Univ., Savannah, GA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393043419
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/1/2002
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.51 (h) x 1.33 (d)

Meet the Author

Dante Alighieri was born in 1265 in Florence to a family of minor nobility. He entered into Florentine politics in 1295, but he and his party were forced into exile in a hostile political climate in 1301. Taking asylum in Ravenna late in life, Dante completed his Divine Commedia, considered one of the most important works of Western literature, before his death in 1321.

Michael Palma is the recipient of the Italo Calvino Award for his translation of My Name on the Wind: Selected Poems of Diego Valeri and of the Raiziss/de Palchi Translation Award from the American Academy of American Poets for his translation of The Man I Pretend to Be: “The Colloquies” and Selected Poems of Guido Gozzano. A poet in his own right, Palma has published three collections of verse, and his poetry has been anthologized in, among other publications, Penguin’s Unsettling America: An Anthology of Contemporary Multicultural Poetry.

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Table of Contents

Introduction IX
Acknowledgments XIX
The Plan of Dante's Hell XXI
Inferno I
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