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Inferno (Bantam Classics) Mass Market Paperback


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Product Details

  • Series: Bantam Classics
  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Classics; Bantam Classic Ed edition (January 1, 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553213393
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553213393
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"An exciting, vivid Inferno by a translator whose scholarship is impeccable."
--Chicago magazine

"The English Dante of choice."--Hugh Kenner.

"Exactly what we have waited for these years, a Dante with clarity, eloquence, terror, and profoundly moving depths."--Robert Fagles, Princeton University.

"Tough and supple, tender and violent . . . vigorous, vernacular . . . Mandelbaum's Dante will stand high among modern translations."--The Christian Science Monitor

"Lovers of the English language will be delighted by this eloquently accomplished enterprise."
--Book Review Digest

Language Notes

Text: English, Italian --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

I read this book for AP lit and I really enjoyed Dante's work.
Alex Kamote
Professor Allen Mandelbaum, a lecturer on Italian literature, has given one of the finest and most accurate translations of Dante in the modern era.
C. Yew
Not only do you get the English translation, but it's also nice to see the original Italian text as well.
Amanda C

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By ankh fire on August 21, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was very pleased with this edition of Inferno, Dante's controversial verse of man's sins. First, the translation was smooth and stayed true to the essence of the story, even though any translation can lose some of the quality of the words. However, there are also facing pages of the original Italian as well. With a short summary of each Canto and a few powerful pencil sketches scattered here and there, this is a very well put together edition. The notes are in the back of the book, which I prefer, so as they don't detract from the story while reading it. There's also a map of Hell and of the Universe according to Dante. Altogether, this is a very informative edition and one of my favorites.
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69 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Culver TOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 24, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Dante Alighieri's three part epic The Divine Comedy ranks highly among the literature of the world. Written in early Italian and rhymed in terza rima, its 100 cantos display impressive allegory and use of scholastic philosophy. In INFERNO, the first volume, the narrator finds himself "half of our life's way" (around 35 years old) and lost in a forest at night. When day breaks, three savage animals bar his escape. The Roman poet Virgil (best known for his AENEID) appears and tells him that Heaven has sent him to lead Dante through Hell, Purgatory, and finally Heaven to bring him out of his spiritual malaise.

Dante's Hell differs from the traditional view of everyone together amongst flames. Here the dead receive different punishments based on their sins. Thus, the lustful are caught up eternally in a whirlwind, and astrologers and magicians have their heads reversed (so those who tried to fortell the future can only see their past). Nowhere, however, does anything seem wrong. The dead are placed into Hell not by an unjust God, but by their own decisions and actions. INFERNO is a slow beginning, most of the grace and beauty of the Comedy lies in the subsequent volumes, PURGATORIO and PARADISO. However, this first volume has a solid role in the allegorical significance of the Comedy. Dante wrote not just a simple story of quasi-science fiction, but a moving allegory of the soul moving from perdition to salvation, the act which the poet T.S. Eliot called "Mounting the saint's stair". While INFERNO may occasionally lack excitement on the first reading, the next two volumes thrill and upon reading them one can enjoy INFERNO to the fullest.

I believe that the best translation of INFERNO to get is that of Allen Mandelbaum, which is published by Bantam (ISBN: 0553213393).
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Charles F. Hanes on April 12, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
First, let me say that the print edition of this work is excellent, with the Italian text and English translation by Mandelbaum on facing pages, plus the illustrations by Moser. I have the hardback edition of all three volumes.

The problem with the Kindle edition is that they did not manage to keep the pagination correct. Though a Kindle book does not have facing pages, we could at least expect one page with Italian text, and the next page with the corresponding English translation, etc. Note that I checked this with the Kindle sample on the Kindle iPad app, but I presume this would also be true on actual Kindle devices.

Since this was not done, I can not recommend this edition.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By C. Yew on April 29, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Professor Allen Mandelbaum, a lecturer on Italian literature, has given one of the finest and most accurate translations of Dante in the modern era. In the 19th century Longfellow was very accurate (Longfellow's mastery of ancient Italian is quite impeccable) and probably the standard-bearer, and a later notable poetic translation emerged from John Ciardi; in 1982 the mantle passed on to Mandelbaum.

One of Mandelbaum's virtue is his accuracy and excellent reading of the text, as well as his fine ear. Few modern translators of Italian or classical poetry has as good an ear as Mandelbaum: his translation rings consistently true. It is a blank verse ring, no doubt, but it rings nonetheless. He takes few liberties with the text, but there is a quality to his verse. Mandelbaum's Inferno would take the palm over many other modern versions.

Another virtue of this special Bantam edition is Barry Moser's ink/pencil drawings. Moser is a renowned illustrator; his drawings are consistently appropriate and distinguished. The notes are excellent too: not too long but very informative and adequate for the lay reader, up-to-date for its time (and probably still is), written in exemplary, scholarly but unpedantic prose. Italian scholar Gabriel Maruzzo teamed with Mandelbaum for it. Besides the introduction Mandelbaum provides two additional long illuminating essays: "Dante in His Age" and "Dante as Ancient and Modern".

Bantam gives us Dante's Italian text on the left and the Mandelbaum translation on the right. The Bantam paper quality is somewhat cheap and pulpy, but the typography is lovely. Perhaps someone might give us a durable hardback edition of this Bantam Classic someday? Everything else is exemplary. Bravo!
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By sid1gen on January 29, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
At the rate I'm going, I'll be in one of those circles of hell eventually, but since I'll be in such good company (all of late 13th century Florence, for starters) I don't think I can complain. In spite of Voltaire's opinion, I believe Dante is still read today, as was in Voltaire's time, because people find something of value in this, his most famous poem. The entire "Commedia" consists of two more books, the "Purgatorio" and the "Paradiso," which I have not read. I'll read them eventually, but, for the time being, I am quite happy with the "Inferno." The Florentine poet grabs Virgil as a guide that will take him out of the dark woods where Dante found himself wandering because he had lost the way of his life, and together they will go in a journey through Hell because the divine Beatrice has commanded that Dante must be led, so his eyes and heart can be opened and he can be saved. If this is true, I hope she is wrong, because I would like to talk to Dante, and if he goes to Paradise I would have no chance at all.
The "Inferno" is one of the most important poems ever written. Doomed lovers, murderers, traitors, liars, Dante's political enemies (including a Pope), righteous heathens, all of them have Hell as their final address. Dante talks to many of them, and they tell him their stories. I loved this poem. I found Odysseus where he belongs (with the liars), and Dido and Cleopatra, together in suicide. Most of all, I found an arrogant, self-centered Florentine poet who truly believed that the world revolved around him and wrote a monument of Western Literature just to prove it: I had to like Dante and his poem. The only reason I give this version four stars is because I do not think it is as good as the verse translation by Laurence Binyon.
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