Inferno: A Norton Critical Edition / Edition 1

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This Norton Critical Edition of Dante’s masterpiece is based on Michael Palma’s verse translation, which is acclaimed for its elegant rendering of Dante’s triple-rhyme scheme into contemporary English.
Richard Wilbur praises Palma’s translation as “accurate as to sense, fully rhymed, and easy, as a rule, in its movement through the tercets. Readers will find it admirably clear and readable.” The text is accompanied by detailed explanatory annotations. Also included in this edition are an illuminating introduction by Giuseppe Mazzotta, a Translator’s Note, The Plan of Dante’s Hell, and six maps and illustrations. “Criticism” provides twelve interpretations by, among others, John Freccero, Robert M. Durling, Alison Cornish, Teodolinda Barolini, Giuseppe Mazzotta, and Robert Hollander. A Chronology and Selected Bibliography are also included.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393977967
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/19/2007
  • Series: Norton Critical Editions Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 262,506
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (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.

Giuseppe Mazzotta is Sterling Professor of the Humanities for Italian at Yale University. He is president of the Dante Society of America (2003-2009). He is the author of Dante: Poet of the Desert and Dante’s Vision and the Circle of Knowledge.

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

The Plan of Dante's Hell

Map: Italy, around 1300

The Text of Inferno 1

Backgrounds and Contexts

Dante in His Own Voice 135

Love and the gracious heart Dante Alighieri Alighieri, Dante 135

The tower of Babel Dante Alighieri Alighieri, Dante 136

On knowledge; literature; government Dante Alighieri Alighieri, Dante 138

On nobility and government Dante Alighieri Alighieri, Dante 145

Sources and Influences 149

From the Aeneid Virgil 149

From The Confessions Augustine 154

I take great pleasure in the joyous season of spring Bertran de Born de Born, Bertran 156

Love returns always to a noble heart Guido Guinizelli Guinizelli, Guido 158

A lady bids me Guido Cavalcanti Cavalcanti, Guido 159

The One Holy, i.e. Church Boniface VIII VIII, Boniface 161


Dante's Prologue Scene John Freccero Freccero, John 167

Tragedy or Romance? A Reading of the Paolo and Francesca Episode in Dante's Inferno Renato Poggioli Poggioli, Renato 180

A Pattern of Order: Inferno VII and Paradiso VII Giuseppe Mazzotta Mazzotta, Giuseppe 219

Medusa: The Letter and the Spirit John Freccero Freccero, John 226

Canto X: Farinata and Cavalcante Robert M. Durling Durling, Robert M. 240

The Poetic Application of the Structure of Hell Marc Cogan Cogan, Marc 255

Speech and Language in Inferno XIII Leo Spitzer Spitzer, Leo 263

The Harvest of Reading: Inferno 20, 24, 26 Alison Cornish Cornish, Alison 285

Descendit ad Inferos Peter S. Hawkins Hawkins, Peter S. 304

Transition: How Cantos Begin and End Teodolinda Barolini Barolini, Teodolinda 321

Canto XXVI - Ulysses: Persuasion versus Prophecy Giuseppe Mazzotta Mazzotta, Giuseppe 326

Inferno XXXIII,37-74: Ugolino's Importunity Robert Hollander Hollander, Robert 334

Dante Alighieri: A Chronology 343

Selected Bibliography 345

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