Top positive review
Dante's THE INFERNO is a classic and worth the read!
Reviewed in the United States on May 5, 2016
Dante's THE INFERNO is a classic. Written around 1321, the book predates most of the classics, except Homer's works of course. But even before Shakespeare, this book heralded in an uncommonly twisted and almost perverse story of Dante's descent into Hell and his description of everything he sees and those he meets. It's eloquently written. Not necessarily an easy read but it does tribute to the language and reminds the reader that our vernacular has so much more color than the reductio ad absurdum we see being used today. Dante's descriptions of the nightmare that sinners endure at each level is pretty graphic, sometimes bordering on horrifying, and who knows, he might even be credited with the first narrative on the subject of flesh-eating zombies which are so popular today. The narrative also gives the reader a feel for certain historical relevancies of that and earlier times and how Dante saw the world. This particular version of the book, by John Ciardi, provides excellent descriptive notes after each section, clarifying things mentioned in the story so the reader stays on track. Lastly, I could not help but wonder if the Vatican of that time didn't encourage the book to be written simply because of its thematic message of what happens to sinners, particularly those who sin against God and the Church or become apostates. It certainly provides compelling imagery to anyone who believes in Heaven and Hell. Add it to your reading arsenal - it's worth the read.