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Inferno by Dante Alighieri

2940016346809_p0_v1_s260x420It’s been over twenty-five years since I last looked at Dante’s poetic work, Inferno. In order to revisit it, I turned to the “plain English” version and absolutely loved it, though missed, at times, the poesy of more authentic translations and the way they mimic the arduousness and emotional complexity of Dante’s journey through hell.

Laced with gruesome descriptions of tormented souls, lashings of politics and references to historical figures, Dante’s journey through the twenty-four circles of hell, guided by his mentor or “leader” as he most often refers to him, the poet, Virgil, is amazing. Sometimes funny, other times ironic and even playful as well as soulful and always passionate, the reader accompanies the living Dante and his dead companion, seeing what occurs in this imagined space and how those who offend God and the living pay for their sins once dead.

Have just commenced Purgatorio, but this time with a more accurate translation as well as the plain. Would be a bit concerned about recommending this for other readers (unless they have read say Clive James wonderful version or another and just want a quick reminder of the tale rather than losing themselves in the rich language) as too much is lost once the beautiful structure and thus Dante’s intention, is changed.

 

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