Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Inferno by Dante Alighieri

Book Details
The Inferno by Dante Alighieri
Paperback, 320 Pages
2009, Signet Classics
ISBN: 0451531396

Belonging in the company of the works of Homer and Virgil, The Inferno is a moving human drama, a journey through the torment of Hell, an expression of the Middle Ages, and a protest against the ways in which men have thwarted the divine plan.

My first reading of Dante's Inferno was in high school. I would have never made it through the story had it not been for a very good teacher holding my hand throughout.

The Inferno is an epic poem. Poetry isn't my thing to begin with. Epic just makes it more intimidating. Factor in that the poem is ancient and is translated from its original Italian and I want to run away screaming.

The story hidden inside the poem is what makes me admire the greatness of The Inferno. Let's face it, Hell is interesting. No matter what a story is about, setting it in Hell makes it something more. While the journey through Hell and the look at the specific people there and the tortures put upon them was impressive, the truly remarkable thing about The Inferno is the unexpectedness of it. You think you know Hell? You'll never guess what you'll come across in The Inferno. Having been written hundreds of years ago, the sheer fact that a reader in today's age can be surprised by what they find in this book is amazing.

I highly recommend reading The Inferno. I also recommend using the Cliff Notes while reading. Without that wonderful teacher explaining the harder to decipher parts, I would have missed out on the brilliance of this story.


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