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The Inferno (Divine Comedy) Audio CD – Abridged, Audiobook

4.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dante Alighieri was born in 1265 in Florence to a family of minor nobility. He entered into Florentine politics in 1295, but he and his party were forced into exile in a hostile political climate in 1301. Taking asylum in Ravenna late in life, Dante completed his Divine Commedia, considered one of the most important works of Western literature, before his death in 1321.

Benedict Flynn's imaginative retellings of classic stories have reintroduced characters such as King Arthur and Robin Hood to a new generation of children. He lives in Great Britain.

Williams is a poet, playwright and actor. --This text refers to an alternate Audio CD edition.

From AudioFile

There are two difficulties with any reading of The Inferno from Dante's Divine Comedy. First, the work contains a vast number of Christian, classical and Italian references, which make the reader depend upon copious footnotes and put the listener at a disadvantage. However, Naxos has provided a booklet with some notes to accompany the reading. Second, to understand the Divine Comedy fully, one must know the whole work; here we have only The Inferno--without The Purgatorio or Paradiso. These difficulties aside, this is a wonderful reading of a truly great work. Williams brings this text to life through a clear, forceful reading and the versatile characterization of more than twenty characters. M.L.C. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Divine Comedy (Book 1)
  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Naxos Audiobooks; Abridged edition (September 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9626340991
  • ISBN-13: 978-9626340998
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 5.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,288,191 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I have the entire set of this reading of THE DIVINE COMEDY, and I am extremely impressed. I was dubious, at first, as I had never heard of the translator, Benedict Flynn, and so I compared the text to that of the Durling/Martinez volume from Oxford and the Hollander volume from Doubleday. I was impressed. This is an excellent translation, smooth and poetic. I have a slight prejudice in that I prefer British voices in poetic readings, and thus I am very pleased with Heathcote Williams' fine performance of the text. He dramatizes the text with certain vocal inflections, but he does so in a way that does not, for me, distract from the actual beauty of Dante's poetry. I like his soft and at time breathy vocal tones, which add a subtle emotionalism to much of the text.

The booklet that accompanies the discs is fabulous. An opening Note by Roger Marsh is followed by Notes discussing aspect of the text, thus:

The Poets arrive at the door of Hell and pass through to the antechamber. Within are shades who achieved neither praise nor blame in life, rejected by Heaven and Hell. Charon, who ferries the souls of the damned to Hades, refuses to ferry the living souls across the Acheron. Dante falls unconscious.

good of intellect: souls who lost sight of the 'Supreme Truth' of God.
great refusal: either Pontius Pilate or Celestine V who abdicated in favour of Boniface VIII."

The booklet is infused with a gallery of the majestic Gustave Dore illustrations for THE DIVINE COMEDY.

I love this audio set and highly recommend it.
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Format: Audio CD
I had trouble with some of Dantes english translations of the book when I was reading them. And some parts were hard to understand. But this audio book is the absolute best I have heard. I can easily understand and the special effects of the people in hell talking and the demons are wonderful. At the begining of each canto there is a musical theme that sets the person in the mood before the canto starts. Heathcote Williams voice is a delight to hear because it is so articulate and scholastic. Wonderful audio book of The Divine Comedy who want to bring the book alive and suspensful. At times I was very emotionally effected by the certain sinners in hell and how they suffered. I myself am a Catholic(which Dante was a devout Catholic), and I could see where some people would disagree with parts of the book (In the Inferno if you are not baptized you have no chance to goto heaven according to Dante, but the unbaptized don't suffer the way worse sinners would). But it the same time it shows the importance of Baptism, which some Christians today seem to ignore and just take as a "symbol". Either way for christians and non-christians alike this audio book is wonderful.
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Format: Audio CD
In a midlife crisis, Dante describes the first of three parts of a journey. With Virgil as his guide, travels the circles of hell and interviews the sinners—many of whom are still in a state of torture and denial—until he finally passes through to Purgatory.

I often try to match up recordings (read aloud through Audible.com) and the same translation on Kindle. Sometimes Amazon does this for me and it’s called Whispersync. In this case, I tried several combinations and couldn’t get it quite right. When I came across Heathcote Williams as narrator and the Benedict Flynn translation, I could not find the Kindle match-up. But because, Williams is such a good reader, I followed along with a different translation (Charles Eliot Norton in the GBWW by Britannica).

I like to read and listen together, and I prefer the readability of this translation to Longfellow’s.

I recommend this translation for its readability. I also like Dorothy Sayers’ rendition in English verse, and John Sinclair’s prose version. Jean and Robert Hollander have a verse translation without rhyme.
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Format: Audio CD
Heathcote Williams' reading is outstanding and truly amazing. He creates and keeps straight dozens of unique voices. It brings the Inferno to life in a way you could never get from the written page alone. (You might also like Anton Lesser's reading of Paradise Lost, from Naxos.)
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