The Inferno by Dante Alighieri
(Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

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Synopsis

"Here at last that much suffering reader will find Dante's greatness manifest, and not his greatness only, but his grace, his simplicity, and his affection."—William Dean Howells, The Nation
"As a crown to his literary life, Longfellow combines his exquisite scholarship and his poetic skill and experience in the translation of one of the great poems of the world."—Harper's Monthly
Enter the unforgettable world of The Inferno and travel with a pair of poets through nightmare landscapes of eternal damnation to the very core of Hell. The first of the three major canticles in La divina commedia (The Divine Comedy), this fourteenth-century allegorical poem begins Dante's imaginary journey from Hell to Purgatory to Paradise. His encounters with historical and mythological creatures--each symbolic of a particular vice or crime--blend vivid and shocking imagery with graceful lyricism in one of the monumental works of world literature.
This acclaimed translation was rendered by the beloved nineteenth-century poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. A skilled linguist who taught modern languages at Harvard, Longfellow was among the first to make Dante’s visionary poem accessible to American readers.
 

About Dante Alighieri

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Born Dante Alighieri in the spring of 1265 in Florence, Italy, he was known familiarly as Dante. His family was noble, but not wealthy, and Dante received the education accorded to gentlemen, studying poetry, philosophy, and theology. His first major work was Il Vita Nuova, The New Life. This brief collection of 31 poems, held together by a narrative sequence, celebrates the virtue and honor of Beatrice, Dante's ideal of beauty and purity. Beatrice was modeled after Bice di Folco Portinari, a beautiful woman Dante had met when he was nine years old and had worshipped from afar in spite of his own arranged marriage to Gemma Donati. Il Vita Nuova has a secure place in literary history: its vernacular language and mix of poetry with prose were new; and it serves as an introduction to Dante's masterpiece, The Divine Comedy, in which Beatrice figures prominently. The Divine Comedy is Dante's vision of the afterlife, broken into a trilogy of the Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise. Dante is given a guided tour of hell and purgatory by Virgil, the pagan Roman poet whom Dante greatly admired and imitated, and of heaven by Beatrice. The Inferno shows the souls who have been condemned to eternal torment, and included here are not only mythical and historical evil-doers, but Dante's enemies. The Purgatory reveals how souls who are not irreversibly sinful learn to be good through a spiritual purification. And The Paradise depicts further development of the just as they approach God. The Divine Comedy has been influential from Dante's day into modern times. The poem has endured not just because of its beauty and significance, but also because of its richness and piety as well as its occasionally humorous and vulgar treatment of the afterlife. In addition to his writing, Dante was active in politics. In 1302, after two years as a priore, or governor of Florence, he was exiled because of his support for the white guelfi, a moderate political party of which he was a member. After extensive travels, he stayed in Ravenna in 1319, completing The Divine Comedy there, until his death in 1321.
 
Published December 19, 2011 by Vigo Books. 202 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction, History, Religion & Spirituality. Non-fiction

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