One of the world’s transcendent literary masterpieces, the Inferno tells the timeless story of Dante’s journey through the nine circles of hell, guided by the poet Virgil, when in midlife he strays from his path in a dark wood. In this vivid verse translation into contemporary English, Peter Thornton makes the classic work fresh again for a new generation of readers. Recognizing that the Inferno was, for Dante and his peers, not simply an allegory but the most realistic work of fiction to date, he points out that hell was a lot like Italy of Dante's time. Thornton's translation captures the individuals represented, landscapes, and psychological immediacy of the dialogues as well as Dante's poetic effects.
The product of decades of passionate dedication and research, his translation has been hailed by the leading Dante scholars on both sides of the Atlantic as exceptional in its accuracy, spontaneity, and vividness. Those qualities and its detailed notes explaining Dante's world and references make it both accessible for individual readers and perfect for class adoption.
Belonging in the immortal company of the great works of literature, Dante Alighieri’s poetic masterpiece, The Divine Comedy, is a moving human drama, an unforgettable visionary journey through the infinite torment of Hell, up the arduous slopes of Purgatory, and on to the glorious realm of Paradise—the sphere of universal harmony and eternal salvation.
Now, for the first time, John Ciardi’s brilliant and authoritative translations of Dante’s three soaring canticles—The Inferno, The Purgatorio, and The Paradiso—have been gathered together in a single volume. Crystallizing the power and beauty inherent in the great poet’s immortal conception of the aspiring soul, The Divine Comedy is a dazzling work of sublime truth and mystical intensity.
Upon their approach to Paradise, which as a pagan, no matter how worthy, the Latin poet cannot enter, Virgil relinquishes his role as guide to Beatrice. Dante's chaste beloved then accompanies him along the ascent, as they encounter the blessed and the holy, and Dante arrives at a vision of the heavenly paradise.
The first part of Dante’s Divine Comedy is many things: a moving human drama, a supreme expression of the Middle Ages, a glorification of the ways of God, and a magnificent protest against the ways in which men have thwarted the divine plan. One of the few literary works that has enjoyed a fame both immediate and enduring, The Inferno remains powerful after seven centuries. It confronts the most universal values—good and evil, free will and predestination—while remaining intensely personal and ferociously political, for it was born out of the anguish of a man who saw human life blighted by the injustice and corruption of his times.
Translated by John Ciardi
With an Introduction by Archibald T. MacAllister
and an Afterword by Edward M. Cifelli
‘There is no greater sorrow then to recall our times of joy in wretchedness.’
Considered one of the greatest medieval poems written in the common vernacular of the time, Dante’s Inferno begins on Good Friday in the year 1300. As he wanders through a dark forest, Dante loses his way and stumbles across the ghost of the poet Virgil. Virgil promises to lead him back to the top of the mountain, but to do so, they must pass through Hell, encountering all manner of shocking horrors, sins and evil torments along the way, evoking questions about God’s justice, human behaviour and Christianity.
—Peter Kalkavage, St. John's University
* Beautifully illustrated with images relating to Dante's life and works
* Concise introductions to the poetry
* Excellent formatting of the poems
* Both verse and prose translations of THE DIVINE COMEDY, with glossed footnotes – ideal for students
* Also includes Gustave Doré’s celebrated illustrations of THE DIVINE COMEDY – over a hundred stunning images
* Easily locate the cantos you want to read with detailed contents tables
* Includes Dante’s complete works in Italian – ideal for students exploring the original texts
* Features a bonus biography - discover Dante's literary life
* Scholarly ordering of texts into chronological order and literary genres
The Poetry Collections
THE NEW LIFE
THE DIVINE COMEDY (VERSE)
THE DIVINE COMEDY (PROSE)
The Italian Texts
LIST OF WORKS
DANTE: HIS TIMES AND HIS WORK BY ARTHUR JOHN BUTLER
Dante's allegory of the soul's journey to God begins with Inferno, in which the narrator traverses the underworld in the company of the ancient Roman poet Virgil. As they travel through the nine circles of Hell, the poets encounter historical and mythological figures suffering symbolic punishments for their earthly crimes. In Purgatorio, Dante continues on alone through the realm of redemption, where departed souls reflect upon their sins and work toward their moral improvement. The tale culminates in Paradiso, where the divine Beatrice guides Dante in the final stage of his intellectual journey from doubt to faith.
Dante transformed the traditional notion of Purgatory by depicting how aspiring souls could undergo moral change, exchanging their human frailty for divine perfection. His exploration of theological issues, especially the role of free will, offers an eloquent and inspiring parable of human possibility and redemption. This edition features the renowned translation by American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and serves as a companion volume to the Dover editions of Inferno and Paradiso.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
"An attractive new alternative as both a translation and a pedagogical tool. The volume includes an excellent introduction by Dante scholar Steven Botterill, clear and informative notes by lifelong Dantist Anthony Oldcorn, a concise bibliographical note that indicates some important sources on Dante in print and online, and a diagram of Hell; "Index of the Damned" lists characters who appear in the canticle. The translator's preface explains Lombardo's choices as he faced the always-challenging task of rendering Dante's poetry into English. Among the most interesting choices are the occasional use of rhyme--especially in key passages and at the end of each canto, where interlocking rhymes that mimic Dante's terza rima are consistently employed--and an emphasis on creating a version that works well as an oral presentation, following the long tradition of private, public, and theatrical readings of the poem. The volume includes the original Italian text, thus facilitating classroom references and comparisons." --Rebecca West, University of Chicago, in Choice
Dante Alighieri hace un maravilloso recorrido por el Infierno, el Purgatorio y el Paraíso y nos da a conocer qué es lo que sucede en cada uno de estos lugares. Este poema épico puntualiza que el amor triunfa sobre las flaquezas de una persona como le sucede a Dante con el amor que tiene por Beatriz Portinari.
En el Infierno, Dante es guiado por Virgilio, el guardián de los saberes antiguos, y encuentra en cada uno de los círculos infernales a pecadores «pasados, presentes y futuros» de todo tipo. Esta aventura iniciática, que el poeta aprovecha para pasar cuentas con sus enemigos coetáneos, en lo político y lo religioso, esconde también en su núcleo y estructura un secreto que legiones de estudiosos han tratado de desvelar.
Esta edición, que recupera una magnífica traducción en verso y se apoya en un rico aparato de notas, se abre asimismo con una nueva y esclarecedora introducción que ofrece una clave de lectura insólita: Dante como el depositario de un saber hermético, como la punta de lanza de una sociedad secreta cuyas raíces llegan hasta la esencia del cristianismo y cuyas ramas rozan la materia de nuestros días.
Dante's depictions of hell and its grotesque punishments found their ideal match in the hands of the eminent nineteenth-century illustrator Gustave Doré. Unable to find a sponsor, the artist published his stunning engravings for The Inferno at his own expense. An instant and enduring success, Doré's images made a lasting impression on the public imagination. This volume's enchanting translation and unforgettable illustrations offer readers a perfect blend of literary and artistic skill.