Inferno

By Dante Alighieri; Henrik Drescher (Illustrator); Mary Jo Bang (Translator)
(Graywolf Press, Hardcover, 9781555976194, 339pp.)

Publication Date: August 7, 2012

List Price: $35.00*
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Description
An innovative and fascinating new version of Dante Alighieri's "Inferno" as it has never been rendered Stopped mid-motion in the middle
Of what we call a life, I looked up and saw no sky-
Only a dense cage of leaf, tree, and twig. I was lost.
--from Canto I Award-winning poet Mary Jo Bang has translated the "Inferno" into English at a moment when popular culture is so prevalent that it has even taken Dante, author of the fourteenth century epic poem, "The Divine Comedy," and turned him into an action-adventure video game hero. Dante, a master of innovation, wrote his poem in the vernacular, rather than in literary Latin. Bang has similarly created an idiomatically rich contemporary version that is accessible, musical, and audacious. She's matched Dante's own liberal use of allusion and literary borrowing by incorporating literary and cultural references familiar to contemporary readers: Shakespeare and Dickinson, Freud and South Park, Kierkegaard and Stephen Colbert. The Inferno--the allegorical story of a spiritual quest that begins in a dark forest, traverses Hell's nine circles, and ends at the hopeful edge of purgatory--was also an indictment of religious hypocrisy and political corruption. In its time, the poem was stunningly new. Bang's version is true to the original: lyrical, politically astute, occasionally self-mocking, and deeply moving. With haunting illustrations by Henrik Drescher, this is the most readable Inferno available in English, a truly remarkable achievement.



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.

Henrik Drescher is the award-winning author of dozens of books for adults and children, including Turbulence and Postal SEance. He lives in Dali, Yunnan, China.

Mary Jo Bang is the author of four previous books of poetry, including "Louise in Love" and "The Eye Like a Strange Balloon," She lives in St. Louis, Missouri, where she is director of the creative writing program at Washington University.
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