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Inferno

by

Inferno Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

An innovative and fascinating new version of Dante Alighieri's Inferno as it has never been rendered
 
Stopped mid-motion in the middle

Of what we call a life, I looked up and saw no sky-

Only a dense cage of leaf, tree, and twig. I was lost.

  --from Canto I

 
Award-winning poet Mary Jo Bang has translated the Inferno into English at a moment when popular culture is so prevalent that it has even taken Dante, author of the fourteenth century epic poem, The Divine Comedy, and turned him into an action-adventure video game hero. Dante, a master of innovation, wrote his poem in the vernacular, rather than in literary Latin. Bang has similarly created an idiomatically rich contemporary version that is accessible, musical, and audacious. She's matched Dante's own liberal use of allusion and literary borrowing by incorporating literary and cultural references familiar to contemporary readers: Shakespeare and Dickinson, Freud and South Park, Kierkegaard and Stephen Colbert. The Inferno--the allegorical story of a spiritual quest that begins in a dark forest, traverses Hell's nine circles, and ends at the hopeful edge of purgatory--was also an indictment of religious hypocrisy and political corruption. In its time, the poem was stunningly new. Bang's version is true to the original: lyrical, politically astute, occasionally self-mocking, and deeply moving. With haunting illustrations by Henrik Drescher, this is the most readable Inferno available in English, a truly remarkable achievement. 
 

Review:

"Bang has done for Dante's most famous poem something akin to what Baz Luhrmann did for Shakespeare in his 1996 film of Romeo and Juliet: updated the presentation of a classic for a contemporary sensibility without sacrificing its timelessness. Bang (The Bride of E) has preserved the feel and tempo of the original — and the many English translations that readers will be familiar with: 'Stopped mid-motion in the middle/ Of what we call our life, I looked up and saw no sky — / Only a dense cage of leaf, tree, and twig. I was lost,' she begins. She has, however, modernized the metaphors; where Dante looked to the politics and culture of his contemporary Italy for allusions to illustrate his sense of faith and morality, Bang mines American pop and high culture. Yes, traditionalists and scholars may shriek upon seeing Eric Cartman (of South Park fame), sculptures by Rodin, John Wayne Gacy, and many others make anachronistic cameos in Bang's version of Hell, but this is still very much Dante's underworld, updated so it pops on today's page. The result is an epic both fresh and historical, scholarly and irreverent: ' â€˜Pope Satan, Pope Satan, Alley Oop!' ' begins Canto VII with a line in which Bang mines various previous translations of Dante and the roots of the phrase 'Alley Oop' in French gymnastics and a newspaper comic about 'a Stone Age traveling salesman from the kingdom of Moo who rode a dinosaur named Dinny,' according to Bang's comprehensive notes. This will be the Dante for the next generation. Includes illustrations by artist Henrik Drescher." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

“This will be the Dante for the next generation” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)—now available in paperback

* Named a New Yorker Best Book of the Year *

Stopped mid-motion in the middle

Of what we call our life, I looked up and saw no sky—

Only a dense cage of leaf, tree, and twig. I was lost.

                        —from Canto I

“The only good Hell to be in right now is poet Mary Jo Bangs innovative, new translation of Dantes Inferno, illustrated with drawings by Henrik Drescher. Bangs thrillingly contemporary translation of the first part (the juiciest part) of Alighieris fourteenth-century poem The Divine Comedy is indeed epic . . . Once you embark on this journey, you may wish to read not only all of Mary Jo Bangs work but all of Dantes, too.” —Vanity Fair

 

“Imagine a contemporary translation of Dante that includes references to Pink Floyd, South Park, Donald Rumsfeld, and Star Trek. Now imagine that this isnt gimmicky . . . Imagine instead that the old warhorse is now scary again, and perversely funny, and lyrical and faux-lyrical in a way that sounds sometimes like Auden, sometimes like Nabokov, but always like Mary Jo Bang.” —BOMB

About the Author

Dante Alighieri (c.1265-1321) is the author of The Divine Comedy, a masterpiece of world literature. Mary Jo Bang is the author of six books of poetry, including Elegy, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. Henrik Drescher is an award-winning illustrator, author, and fine artist.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781555976194
Author:
Alighieri, Dante
Publisher:
Graywolf Press
Author:
Dante Alighieri
Author:
Bang, Mary Jo
Author:
Drescher, Henrik
Subject:
General Poetry
Subject:
Poetry-A to Z
Subject:
Anthologies-Miscellaneous International Poetry
Subject:
European - General
Subject:
Medieval
Publication Date:
20120831
Binding:
Paperback
Language:
English
Illustrations:
30 Black-and-White Illustrations
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » Miscellaneous International Poetry
Fiction and Poetry » Classics » Italian Medieval and Renaissance
Fiction and Poetry » Classics » Medieval and Nordic
Fiction and Poetry » Classics » Medieval and Renaissance
Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » A to Z

Inferno New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$35.00 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Graywolf Press - English 9781555976194 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Bang has done for Dante's most famous poem something akin to what Baz Luhrmann did for Shakespeare in his 1996 film of Romeo and Juliet: updated the presentation of a classic for a contemporary sensibility without sacrificing its timelessness. Bang (The Bride of E) has preserved the feel and tempo of the original — and the many English translations that readers will be familiar with: 'Stopped mid-motion in the middle/ Of what we call our life, I looked up and saw no sky — / Only a dense cage of leaf, tree, and twig. I was lost,' she begins. She has, however, modernized the metaphors; where Dante looked to the politics and culture of his contemporary Italy for allusions to illustrate his sense of faith and morality, Bang mines American pop and high culture. Yes, traditionalists and scholars may shriek upon seeing Eric Cartman (of South Park fame), sculptures by Rodin, John Wayne Gacy, and many others make anachronistic cameos in Bang's version of Hell, but this is still very much Dante's underworld, updated so it pops on today's page. The result is an epic both fresh and historical, scholarly and irreverent: ' â€˜Pope Satan, Pope Satan, Alley Oop!' ' begins Canto VII with a line in which Bang mines various previous translations of Dante and the roots of the phrase 'Alley Oop' in French gymnastics and a newspaper comic about 'a Stone Age traveling salesman from the kingdom of Moo who rode a dinosaur named Dinny,' according to Bang's comprehensive notes. This will be the Dante for the next generation. Includes illustrations by artist Henrik Drescher." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by , “This will be the Dante for the next generation” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)—now available in paperback

* Named a New Yorker Best Book of the Year *

Stopped mid-motion in the middle

Of what we call our life, I looked up and saw no sky—

Only a dense cage of leaf, tree, and twig. I was lost.

                        —from Canto I

“The only good Hell to be in right now is poet Mary Jo Bangs innovative, new translation of Dantes Inferno, illustrated with drawings by Henrik Drescher. Bangs thrillingly contemporary translation of the first part (the juiciest part) of Alighieris fourteenth-century poem The Divine Comedy is indeed epic . . . Once you embark on this journey, you may wish to read not only all of Mary Jo Bangs work but all of Dantes, too.” —Vanity Fair

 

“Imagine a contemporary translation of Dante that includes references to Pink Floyd, South Park, Donald Rumsfeld, and Star Trek. Now imagine that this isnt gimmicky . . . Imagine instead that the old warhorse is now scary again, and perversely funny, and lyrical and faux-lyrical in a way that sounds sometimes like Auden, sometimes like Nabokov, but always like Mary Jo Bang.” —BOMB

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