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Dante's Divine Comedy: A Graphic Adaptation Hardcover – August 31, 2010
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The "left-handed designer," Seymour Chwast has been putting his unparalleled take—and influence—on the world of illustration and design for the last half century. In his version of Dante's Divine Comedy, Chwast's first graphic novel, Dante and his guide Virgil don fedoras and wander through noir-ish realms of Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise, finding both the wicked and the wondrous on their way.
Dante Alighieri wrote his epic poem The Divine Comedy from 1308 to 1321 while in exile from his native Florence. In the work's three parts (Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise), Dante chronicles his travels through the afterlife, cataloging a multitude of sinners and saints—many of them real people to whom Dante tellingly assigned either horrible punishment or indescribable pleasure—and eventually meeting both God and Lucifer face-to-face.
In his adaptation of this skewering satire, Chwast creates a visual fantasia that fascinates on every page: From the multifarious torments of the Inferno to the host of delights in Paradise, his inventive illustrations capture the delirious complexity of this classic of the Western canon.
A Look Inside Dante's Divine Comedy: A Graphic Adaptation
(Click on Images to Enlarge)
|Second circle of Hell||Sins of the flesh|
|The three furies||Sixth circle of Hell|
From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
At any rate, if you are in the market for a simple version of Dante's Divine Comedy, this is... an option.Read more ›
As a longtime fan of "the left-handed designer" (I too am left-handed), I find Chwast's graphic, black & white adaptation of Dante's Divine Comedy irresistible. It is funny and I laughed out loud several times when reading it. And it is also poignant; I had tears in my eyes when I read the final words about "the love that moves the sun and other stars." One can read the Divine Comedy from a religious or a secular perspective, and from the latter perspective and perhaps the former as well, it can be read as a story about the human condition. For me, the lightheartedness of Chwast's illustrations serve to offset rather than undermine the gravity of the story (if read as a story about the human condition).
This book will certainly be of interest to other fans of Chwast's work, and I think it would make a nice gift for anyone who is interested in (and/or creates) humorous illustration. Do note that as I mention above, the book is in black & white; only the covers are in color.
Perhaps the reader of this review would say, "So much the better. This is a graphic novel, not a traditional book." I agree. However, the graphics had better be good if the book is to succeed; they are not. I just took a moment to look at Gustave Dore's wonderful illustrations for The Divine Comedy and then Sandow Birk's illustrations for The Inferno section of Dante's great poem. Some readers will be familiar with Dore and Birk and be much disappointed in Chwast's amateurish efforts.
The Divine Comedy is a difficult read for the modern reader not familiar with Florentine history and a cast of characters known to historians and academics, but not the general reading public. Chwast does a fairly good job making some of the people Dante mentions and their back story understandable; but few, I think, will take much interest in Chwast's truncated version of Dante's great poem.
Chwast fails both to tell a good story and illustrate it with creative and exciting art. This book has not yet been published; it should stay that way.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very funny and informative adaptation of Dante's work. Good for adults looking for a humorous revisit or to expose teens to the story. Recommended.Published 15 months ago by James
No poetry here; very spare descriptions. The drawings are provocative and poignant, yet not too violent. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Paul
There are historical etchings and plates that have been published and republished that give insight into what Dante was writing about-- but this graphic novel is for the modern... Read morePublished on October 12, 2013 by Amazon Customer
I would have imagined a graphic adaptation of Dante's Divine Comedy to be a bit more vibrant and striking, however this adaptation was interesting and enjoyable.Published on June 20, 2013 by Ohwoahit'sme
Once again, Dante's Hell literary masterpiece is being distorted, mainly by forcing this classical to the present time. Read morePublished on June 20, 2013 by Fair Game
I think that when discussing this book a disclaimer should be made - this is a graphical adaption of Dante's Inferno as seen by Seymour Chwast. This is not like Cliff Notes. Read morePublished on May 13, 2013 by FoodPornDirector