Inferno of Dante

ISBN-10: 0374524521

ISBN-13: 9780374524524

Edition: 1994

List price: $12.00 Buy it from $1.25
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Description:

This widely praised version of Dante's masterpiece, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award of the Academy of American Poets, is more idiomatic and approachable than its many predecessors. Former U.S. Poet Laureate Pinsky employs slant rhyme and near rhyme to preserve Dante's terza rima form without distorting the flow of English idiom. The result is a clear and vigorous translation that is also unique, student-friendly, and faithful to the original: "A brilliant success," as Bernard Knox wrote in The New York Review of Books.
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Book details

List price: $12.00
Copyright year: 1994
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Publication date: 3/30/1996
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 384
Size: 5.75" wide x 8.00" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.210

Born Dante Alighieri in the spring of 1265 in Florence, Italy, he was known familiarly as Dante. His family was noble, but not wealthy, and Dante received the education accorded to gentlemen, studying poetry, philosophy, and theology. His first major work was Il Vita Nuova, The New Life. This brief collection of 31 poems, held together by a narrative sequence, celebrates the virtue and honor of Beatrice, Dante's ideal of beauty and purity. Beatrice was modeled after Bice di Folco Portinari, a beautiful woman Dante had met when he was nine years old and had worshipped from afar in spite of his own arranged marriage to Gemma Donati. Il Vita Nuova has a secure place in literary history: its vernacular language and mix of poetry with prose were new; and it serves as an introduction to Dante's masterpiece, The Divine Comedy, in which Beatrice figures prominently. The Divine Comedy is Dante's vision of the afterlife, broken into a trilogy of the Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise. Dante is given a guided tour of hell and purgatory by Virgil, the pagan Roman poet whom Dante greatly admired and imitated, and of heaven by Beatrice. The Inferno shows the souls who have been condemned to eternal torment, and included here are not only mythical and historical evil-doers, but Dante's enemies. The Purgatory reveals how souls who are not irreversibly sinful learn to be good through a spiritual purification. And The Paradise depicts further development of the just as they approach God. The Divine Comedy has been influential from Dante's day into modern times. The poem has endured not just because of its beauty and significance, but also because of its richness and piety as well as its occasionally humorous and vulgar treatment of the afterlife. In addition to his writing, Dante was active in politics. In 1302, after two years as a priore, or governor of Florence, he was exiled because of his support for the white guelfi, a moderate political party of which he was a member. After extensive travels, he stayed in Ravenna in 1319, completing The Divine Comedy there, until his death in 1321.

Robert Pinsky was born in Long Branch, New Jersey, and studied at Rutgers and Stanford Universities. He has taught at the University of Chicago, Wellesley College, and the University of California, Berkeley. For several years the poetry editor of The New Republic, he has won the Oscar Blumenthal Prize (1978) and Woodrow Wilson and Fulbright grants. His book of criticism, The Situation of Poetry: Contemporary Poetry and Its Traditions (1976), is referred to often. He has argued for, and written, a poetry of discursiveness, one that can treat abstract thought and social reality as well as subjectivity and deep emotion.

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