Translated by Anthony Esolen
Illustrations by Gustave Dore
A groundbreaking bilingual edition of Dante's masterpiece that includes a substantive Introduction, extensive notes, and appendixes that reproduce Dante's key sources and influences.
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.
Charles Perrault was a serious writer who understood, at the end of his life, that his duty, as a human being and an intellectual, was to increase the level of reason and humanity of people. Therefore, he gathered European folktales and transformed them in order to enhance their moral qualities. Barbarity, man's temptation, was an individual disgrace he wanted to dilute in the fountain of knowledge. Children were to read his fairy tales and choose to follow, with the help of their maturing consciousness, the road to wisdom. More than three centuries later, a world on the verge of total self-destruction should listen, at last, to the echo of the fabulist's intelligence.
“Professor Esolen’s translation of Dante’s Inferno is the best one I have seen. . . . And his endnotes and other additions provoke answers to almost any question that could arise about the work.” —A. Kent Hieatt, translator of The Canterbury Tales
“Crisp and clear, Esolen’s version avoids two modern temptations: a slavish literalness to the Italian or a taking of liberties in the attempt to make this greatest of medieval poems esthetically modern. . . . In addition to his scholarly tact, Esolen is simply one of the most vigorous English translators of Dante ever.”—Crisis magazine
“Esolen’s new translation follows Dante through all his spectacular range, commanding where he is commanding, wrestling, as he does, with the density and darkness in language and in the soul. This Inferno gives us Dante’s vivid drama and his verbal inventiveness. It is living writing.” —James Richardson, professor of creative writing in the Lewis Center for the Arts, Princeton University
“Opening the book we stand face to face with the poet, and when his voice ceases we may marvel if he has not sung to us in his own Tuscan."—William Dean Howells, The Nation