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Inferno (Modern Library)
Synopses & Reviews
An extraordinary new verse translation of Dantes masterpiece, by poet, scholar, and lauded translator Anthony Esolen
Of the great poets, Dante is one of the most elusive and therefore one of the most difficult to adequately render into English verse. In the Inferno, Dante not only judges sin but strives to understand it so that the reader can as well. With this major new translation, Anthony Esolen has succeeded brilliantly in marrying sense with sound, poetry with meaning, capturing both the poems line-by-line vigor and its allegorically and philosophically exacting structure, yielding an Inferno that will be as popular with general readers as with teachers and students. For, as Dante insists, without a trace of sentimentality or intellectual compromise, even Hell is a work of divine art.
Esolen also provides a critical Introduction and endnotes, plus appendices containing Dantes most important sourcesfrom Virgil to Saint Thomas Aquinas and other Catholic theologiansthat deftly illuminate the religious universe the poet inhabited.
Of all the great poets, Dante is perhaps the most difficult to convey in English verse. With this major new translation, Esolen has succeeded in marrying sense with sound, and poetry with meaning, capturing both the poem's line-by-line vigor and its allegorically and philosophically exacting structure.
About the Author
Anthony Esolen is a professor of English at Providence College. He is a published poet who has written numerous scholarly articles on Renaissance and medieval literature. He is the author of Peppers, a book of poetry, and his translations include Lucretiuss De rerum natura and Torquato Tassos Gerusalemme liberata.
Dante Alighieri, the Italian poet whose masterpiece The Divine Comedy has exerted a profound influence on Western thought, was born in Florence in May 1265. He entered public life in 1295, later becoming one of the six governing magistrates of Florence. He repeatedly opposed the machinations of Pope Boniface VIII, who was attempting to place all of Tuscany under Papal control, and in 1301 was banished from Florence on trumped-up charges. Dante would never enter his native city again, spending his remaining years with a series of patrons in various courts in Italy. He completed The Divine Comedy shortly before his death in September 1321.
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