Dante's Divine Comedy
A Graphic Adaptation
By Seymour Chwast
(Bloomsbury USA, Hardcover, 9781608190843, 128pp.)
Publication Date: 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 throughthe 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.
Seymour Chwast was born in New York City and is a graduate of The Cooper Union, where he studied illustration and graphic design. He is a founding partner of the celebrated Push Pin Studios, whose distinct style has had a worldwide influence on contemporary visual communications. In 1985 the studio's name was changed to the Pushpin Group, of which Mr. Chwast is the director. More information about Mr. Chwast can be found at www.pushpininc.com.
“Dante + Seymour = Heaven.”—Maira Kalman, author of The Principles of Uncertainty
“Seymour’s take on this timeless classic is not only charming and clever, it is so cannily rendered that it makes Dante’s complex masterwork easily understood for any reader. Divine.”—Chip Kidd, author of The Cheese Monkeys
“I have to say, seen through Seymour Chwast’s eyes, Hell doesn’t look so bad. I’m almost looking forward to floating in pools of excrement or being tossed about carelessly by furious winds. Seymour Chwast has put the comedy back into the divine in this fiendishly heavenly extravaganza.”—Marian Bantjes, graphic artist
“Seymour Chwast! Oh, how I hate him! He’s already the top artist! He’s already the top designer! Now he’s gonna be the top graphic novelist! Seymour Chwast can go to Hell!”—Craig Yoe, author of The Art of Steve Ditko
“With all due respect to Dante, this is Chwast’s Divine Comedy … [Chwast] makes the Divine Comedy irresistibly comic and inspirationally transcendent.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Famed artist and graphic designer Chwast has turned his talents to the graphic novel form for the first time, and we can all be happy about it…With his signature mix of humor, artistry, and high-level design, he conveys a breathtaking amount of information in clear black and white line drawings…Chwast does a stunning job of telling Dante's story in his own brilliant style.” – Publishers Weekly (starred review)