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Thread: Dante's Inferno....?

  1. #1 Dante's Inferno....? 
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    I read this a while ago, and really enjoyed it.
    I found it a challenge,
    Not only in the sense that i had to read each page at least twice as it's a fairly heavy read, but also because it i had to think about it, what i thought it was all about and how i interpreted the text in my own mind...
    The only trouble is that i am the only person i know who has read it, so when i wanted to talk about what i thought and how i saw the book no one else was interested...
    So please anyone who has read DANTE'S INFERNO please leave your views and comments here.....


    ...Let not our propsal be disregarded on the score of our youth...
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  3. #2 Re: Dante's Inferno....? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sulabell83
    I read this a while ago, and really enjoyed it.
    I found it a challenge,
    Not only in the sense that i had to read each page at least twice as it's a fairly heavy read, but also because it i had to think about it, what i thought it was all about and how i interpreted the text in my own mind...
    The only trouble is that i am the only person i know who has read it, so when i wanted to talk about what i thought and how i saw the book no one else was interested...
    So please anyone who has read DANTE'S INFERNO please leave your views and comments here.....
    Hello, nice to meet you!

    Contrary to the nature of either place, I safely made my way through Hell (Inferno) but got stuck in Purgatory.

    I loved the language, the rich and suggestive (if macabre) imagery, and the idea of ultimate justice being done to the powerful whose wickedness went unpunished on earth.

    I noticed that even the most monstrous fiends could be discussed with, in clear, sophisticated, logical terms, which made them more likeable than some humans I could name.

    What I less appreciated was the ubiquitous reference to the politics of Dante's own time and place. I would expect eternal Hell to be more, erm, timeless.

    All the best and chat soon,
    Leszek.


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    I don't think Dante is talking about Hell as another place...
    That's why it's not timeless...
    I think that......Mmm
    I'm not to good with words but let's have a go...

    I think that Dante is making his way through life, and the 9 circles and various other obstacles represent the everyday characters and obstacles that we all come across in everyday life.
    I think that Dante is trying to make his way through life (hell) avoiding all the sins and obsticles of everyday life in order to make it into heaven (the light at the top of the hill guarded by the she wolf?) when he reaches the end his of life.

    Am i making sense.... :-D
    ...Let not our propsal be disregarded on the score of our youth...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sulabell83
    I think that Dante is making his way through life, and the 9 circles and various other obstacles represent the everyday characters and obstacles that we all come across in everyday life.
    I think that Dante is trying to make his way through life (hell) avoiding all the sins and obsticles of everyday life in order to make it into heaven (the light at the top of the hill guarded by the she wolf?) when he reaches the end his of life.

    Am i making sense.... :-D
    I think you are right about the initial hill, dark forest and she-wolf. Perhaps some passages later on in the text also represent Dante's actual experiences in life.

    But most people he meets were dead at the time he wrote, and their past crimes which he discusses in detail were not a threat to him any more. So I think most of his Inferno is actual Hell, populated by deceased felons.

    All the best, Leszek.
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    That's a very good point you have their...
    This is why i wanted to see other peoples opinions...
    Although most all of the people Dante comes across are dead they still portray
    characteristics of people alive, eg: Blastformists, frauds, liars.......etc.....
    so maybe he's using these famous dead people as being the best representatives of these traits....
    ...Let not our propsal be disregarded on the score of our youth...
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  7. #6  
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    I haven't read it, but have always intended to do so. Your post has prompted me to seek it out. I imagine there are some free online versions. (If only I spoke medieval Italian. :wink: )
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    I haven't read it, but have always intended to do so. Your post has prompted me to seek it out. I imagine there are some free online versions. (If only I spoke medieval Italian. :wink: )
    The Italian is different from the modern language, but most words are recognizable. And I was lucky to find a bilingual edition - the original on the left, French on the right - so I didn't have to use the dictionary for every unfamiliar word.

    PS: The French translation wasn't meant to be beautiful - it didn't even rhyme. It was a word-for-word translation, very helpful in understanding the Italian.
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sulabell83
    This is why i wanted to see other peoples opinions...
    Although most all of the people Dante comes across are dead they still portray
    characteristics of people alive, eg: Blastformists, frauds, liars.......etc.....
    so maybe he's using these famous dead people as being the best representatives of these traits....
    What's a Blastformist?

    Dante is partly moralizing, showing how evil certain human actions are (such as fraud, usury, murder etc), and partly he is taking revenge on some of the political parties of the Florence of his time - remember, there was bitter infighting in that city state, and Dante himself was exiled by the opposite camp which happened to rule the city. So he imagines their dead in hell.

    Please share more about what you liked in the book.

    All the best,
    Leszek.
    Leszek. Pronounced [LEH-sheck]. The wondering Slav.
    History teaches us that we don't learn from history.
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    Blasphemy....
    Sorry i spelt it totally wrong....
    In ye oldie days you could be hung for Blasphemy i think, i believe it is to speak badly of a well respected person, god or thing???

    And as for not being able to read Italian, i have the book in English...
    Not an original of course and it was a pain to get hold of, its called...

    Dante's Inferno......(obviously)
    The Indiana Critical Edition
    Translated & Edited by
    Mark Musa

    It's a University study copy and contains the original poem, the translated poem and also a short bullet point version if you get lost or need a quick catch up....
    I highly recommend it...

    ...Let not our propsal be disregarded on the score of our youth...
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    I must say i never knew it was originally written in old Italian.
    No wonder people look at me funny when i say i loved reading it
    They must think I'm really intelligent

    I went looking for the book after reading a book called "Messiah" it's about a serial killer who is killing his victims in the style of "Dante's Inferno", i really liked the book and decided that i needed to know more about the Inferno, so i went searching for it, it was so hard to find that i ended up having to order it from America and wait a month for it to arrive...
    I couldn't even get close to finding an original, i was told that it only exists in private collections so had to settle for the University copy...
    I think it was worth it though...

    Blasphemers suffer in canto XIV the burning sands, and is represented by "CAPANEUS" who died cursing his god.

    I think my favorite Canto has to be XIII, The Suicide Woods, where the people who have commited suicide are eternally imprisoned as tree's that weep blood and words.....
    ...Let not our propsal be disregarded on the score of our youth...
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  12. #11 Re: Dante's Inferno....? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leszek Luchowski
    Contrary to the nature of either place, I safely made my way through Hell (Inferno) but got stuck in Purgatory.
    Purgatory, is that the first Canto? Limbo?
    I looked up the word Purgatory in my thesaurus (sorry I'm not that bright )
    * Synonyms: Everlasting Pitt, Underworld, Limbo....

    Which bit did you get stuck on, maybe we could put our heads together? :wink:


    I made little notes to help me out in the margins of my book, including which Canto's hold which sins, but i think i must have over looked Purgatory

    ...Let not our propsal be disregarded on the score of our youth...
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sulabell83
    I must say i never knew it was originally written in old Italian.
    Did you think it was written in English?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sulabell83
    I went looking for the book after reading a book called "Messiah" it's about a serial killer who is killing his victims in the style of "Dante's Inferno", i really liked the book and decided that i needed to know more about the Inferno
    Now that's funny, I too got interested because it was mentioned in a more popular book I enjoyed as a child.

    By the way, I hope you know it's part of a trilogy - 1) the Hell (or Inferno), 2) Purgatory and 3) Paradise ? The whole is called La Divina Commedia (The Divine Comedy). We wouldn't call it a "comedy" nowadays, but in the Middle Ages "comedy" meant any book with a happy ending.

    Each of the three books has exactly the same number of verses, each is written in an elaborate rhyming pattern called the terza rima ("third rhyme"), and each ends in a single unrhymed line with stelle (stars) as the last word. I wonder how much of this was preserved in translation.

    Cheers, Leszek.
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    Well i knew it wasn't originally in English with the main character being called Dante but i didn't know it was in old Italian either...
    I did know of the "Divine Comedy" but actually didn't know it was a trilogy, thanks for telling me that though :-D
    Now all i need to do is find the other two

    Maybe if you can find and borrow the copy i have then you can let me know what i have missed in mine, I'm sure your right s saying some bits must have been lost in translation, it's a shame really.

    I can say that the last word of each verse in my copy is not Stars...

    ...Let not our propsal be disregarded on the score of our youth...
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    Its nice to see a couple of people that are so interested in this book.

    As for me, I read this book about 10 years ago and thought it was very disturbing. I wasn't very knowledgable about symoblism at the time so it didn't have any kind of "interpretive symbolism" interest like I would guess many readers of the book probably do. I honestly thought it was like reading a mideval version of Cujo.
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sulabell83
    I can say that the last word of each verse in my copy is not Stars...
    Not each verse. Each book. And Inferno is just one of the three books. So if you only have a copy of Inferno, look for the last word of the whole book.

    Also, does your translation rhyme?

    What little I can quote from memory is the first nine lines from Canto III, the inscription on the sinister gate of Hell:

    Per me si va nel la citta dolente,
    Per me si va nel eterno dolore,
    Per me si va tra la perduta gente.
    Giustizia mosse mi alto Fattore,
    Fecemi la divina podestate,
    Somma sapienza e primo amore.
    Dinanzi a me non son cose create
    se non eterne, ed io eterna duro.
    Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch'entrate.

    Note the pattern of rhymes:
    -ente
    -ore
    -ente
    -ore
    -ate (pronounced [AH-teh], not as "ate" in "I ate breakfast")
    -ore
    -ate
    -uro
    -ate

    (the -uro line rhymes with "scuro" in the tenth line, but I can't remember all of it.)

    This is the pattern known as terza rima ("third rhyme"), with lines rhyming by interwoven threes. This pattern is applied to all except the last line in every book (I mean Inferno is one book), and the last line ends in "stars", which of course gives you another three matching lines, one from every book.

    Purgatory (Purgatorio) is the second book. In Roman Catholic theology, that's a place (or, rather, a state) where souls of essentially good but sinful people get cleansed of their sins before entering heaven. Dante presents te souls as already being very happy and gladly undergoing the process which will fit them for the eternal happiness of what I would call Heaven but Dante calls Paradiso.

    I didn't get stuck at any particular difficult word, just lost interest in it. I have the full Divine Comedy in the bilingual edition I mentioned, so I don't really have a problem with the language.
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  17. #16  
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    Ok i see now...
    Yes my book does end with Stars...
    And my inscription above the gate reads...

    Through me the way into the doleful city,
    Through me the way into eternal grief,
    Through me the way among the race forsaken.

    Justice moved my heavenly constructor;
    Divine omnipotence created me,
    And highest wisdom joined with primal love.

    Before me nothing but eternal things
    were made, and i shall last eternally.
    Abandon hope, forever, You who enter.

    How does that sound to you, the guy who re-wrote my copy is a professor of Italian at Indiana university and has apparently re done a few Italian works (ie: Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, and Machiavelli)
    So it should be fairly good, i hope :?
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  18. #17  
    Forum Ph.D. Leszek Luchowski's Avatar
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    Your translation is quite faithful in content and keeps the rhythm, although it gave up on the rhymes. I am afraid I cannot tell how poetical the English sounds - poetry in English is often lost on me.

    Cheers, Leszek.
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    I can't believe that out of all the people on here,
    we are the only two who have read or hold an opinion of this book...
    Oh well...

    What did you think of the fact that Dante's description of the very center of hell
    Is a FROZEN wasteland, rather than the fiery Pitt that we all think of...?
    And Lucifer himself is Described as a 3 headed shabby hell hound, instead of the pointy faced almost ram like man we envision....?

    I think it's very clever...
    It would seem that Lucifer himself is also stuck weeping within the ice, as he too betrayed god, an interesting point as although i know that Lucifer was a fallen angel i never really thought about the betrayal side and that he might also suffer, i figured that his punishment was to run the underworld , never thinking that he should suffer almost the same as his prisoners...
    The ice almost symbolizes that god's warmth has been taken from them (like being given the cold shoulder) and so they suffer entombed in the cold and silenced from betraying again...

    .................. ......................
    ...Let not our propsal be disregarded on the score of our youth...
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  20. #19  
    Forum Ph.D. Leszek Luchowski's Avatar
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    God is love. Satan's motto is Non serviam - I shall not serve. This is the opposite of love, which is being for the other. Satan chose - and condemned himself to - eternal selfishness, and that's as cold as it gets, ever.

    Of course he is a spirit with no material form; how we portray his appearance is up to our imagination.

    Keep sharing your thoughts.

    All the best, Leszek.
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    You haven't said which bit's you like and why...?

    ..................... :wink: ...................................
    ...Let not our propsal be disregarded on the score of our youth...
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  22. #21  
    Forum Ph.D. Leszek Luchowski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sulabell83
    You haven't said which bit's you like and why...?
    Hard to say; it's been a couple years since I read it, and it took me weeks if not months. As I said before, I was impressed by the imagery and the profound seriousness, but I cannot remember any particular scenes as more impressive than others. Just an image of an enormous underground space, darkness, flames here and there, solemn words carrying with them ultimate moral judgements.

    I don't remember being very much impressed by the suffering all those people were experiencing; the horrible "processing" by fire, crushing weights, swords and claws was too far away from my experience. I was more touched by the sadness of the place (probably the last thing I'd worry about if I were being burnt alive).

    All the best,
    Leszek.
    Leszek. Pronounced [LEH-sheck]. The wondering Slav.
    History teaches us that we don't learn from history.
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