Synopses & Reviews
The first part of Dante's epic poem The Divine Comedy, revealing the eternal punishment reserved for such sins as greed, self-deception, political double-dealing and treachery
Describing Dante's descent into Hell midway through his life with Virgil as a guide, Inferno depicts a cruel underworld in which desperate figures are condemned to eternal damnation for committing one or more of seven deadly sins. As he descends through nine concentric circles of increasingly agonising torture, Dante encounters doomed souls including the pagan Aeneas, the liar Odysseus, the suicide Cleopatra, and his own political enemies, damned for their deceit. Led by leering demons, the poet must ultimately journey with Virgil to the deepest level of all. Portraying a huge diversity of characters culminating in a horrific vision of Satan, the Inferno broke new ground in the vigour of its language and storytelling. It has had a particular influence on Modernist writers and their successors throughout the world. Printed in English with facing pages in Dante's Italian, this edition offers commentaries and notes on each canto by Robert Kirkpatrick.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
"Kirkpatrick brings a more nuanced sense of the Italian and a more mediated appreciation of the poem's construction than nearly all of his competitors. There is much to recommend here-certainly the intelligence, the energy, the linguistic range.... His introduction and canto-by-canto notes are remarkably level and lucid, as attentive to structure as to syntax, language and motif, and deftly cross-reference the whole poem. On their own, they would justify the price."
The Times (London)
About the Author
(1265-1321) was born in Florence and is considered Italy's greatest poet. It is believed that the Divine Comedy-comprising the Inferno, Purgatorio
, and Paradiso
-was written between 1308 and 1320.
Robin Kirkpatrick is Professor of Italian and English literature at the University of Cambridge and has written a number of books on Dante and on the Renaissance.