Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe
Inferno: Dante Alighieri & Robin Kirkpatrick [trans], September 12—14, 2014
My rating: ♦♦♦◊◊
Following its starring role in Dan Brown’s eponymous novel, Dante’s Inferno seems an obvious follow-up.
This classic is surprisingly easy to read. Translated into English, the verse is accessible to the modern reader, although many of the references to Dante’s contemporaries do need the widely available commentaries to have their significance explained. This version (Penguin, 2013 available from Amazon, Waterstones and the publisher’s website) has a great section at the back with brief commentary on each canto that helps the modern reader appreciate Dante’s cultural references without any fuss.
The vivid imagery of Dante’s nine circles of hell is much more disturbing than you might expect. Each sin is delivered just retribution in a variety of appropriate and uncomfortable ways.
It is little surprise that readers of this work on its initial publication found themselves returning in their masses to church. Dante paints a scarier, more real hell than the bible itself; a place nobody would wish to go.
This is a classic text that everyone should read.