Sep 23, 2013

Inferno by Dante Alighieri


The Inferno remains literature’s most hallowed and graphic vision of Hell. Dante plunges readers into this unforgettable world with a deceptively simple—and now legendary—tercet:

Midway upon the journey of our life
I found myself within a forest dark
For the straightforward pathway had been lost.

With these words, Dante plunges readers into the unforgettable world of the Inferno—one of the most graphic visions of Hell ever created. In this first part of the epic The Divine Comedy, Dante is led by the poet Virgil down into the nine circles of Hell, where he travels through nightmare landscapes of fetid cesspools, viper pits, frozen lakes, and boiling rivers of blood and witnesses sinners being beaten, burned, eaten, defecated upon, and torn to pieces by demons. Along the way he meets the most fascinating characters known to the classical and medieval world—the silver-tongued Ulysses, lustful Francesca da Rimini, the heretical Farinata degli Uberti, and scores of other intriguing and notorious figures.

This edition of the Inferno revives the famous Henry Wadsworth Longfellow translation, which first introduced Dante’s literary genius to a broad American audience. “Opening the book we stand face to face with the poet,” wrote William Dean Howells of Longfellow’s Dante, “and when his voice ceases we may marvel if he has not sung to us in his own Tuscan.” Lyrically graceful and brimming with startlingly vivid images, Dante’s Inferno is a perpetually engrossing classic that ranks with the greatest works of Homer and Shakespeare.


The inferno was harder to read for me than Shakespeare is. I can read Shakespeare like it's a normal book and the only side effect is that I start to speak in Elizabethan. It's weird, but with Inferno I think it's harder because you really have to know what is going on at the time that it was written. Dante makes remarks about political figures back in the day, and it gets really exhausting to have to go to the end notes at the back of the book to figure out what he is saying. However, that being said, I really kind of enjoyed this book. If you want to know what hell is like.....well here you go. This book is filled with aw and horror added together to get the reader to actually picture hell and Satan.