Robert Pinsky's acclaimed translation of "The Inferno" was awarded the "Los Angeles Times" Book Prize for Poetry and the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award given by the Academy of American Poets. As Edward Hirsch wrote in "The New Yorker", "Robert Pinsky's translation is fast-paced, idiomatic, and accurate. . . It maintains the original's episodic and narrative velocity. . . . Pinsky succeeds in creating a supple American equivalent for Dante's vernacular music where many others have failed". April 1998 Publication date. (Drama/Poetry)
The one quality that all classic works of literature share is their timelessness. Shakespeare still plays in Peoria 400 years after his death because the stories he dramatized resonate in modern readers' hearts and minds; methods of warfare have changed quite a bit since the Trojan War described by Homer in his Iliad
, but the passions and conflicts that shaped such warriors as Achilles, Agamemnon, Patroclus, and Odysseus still find their counterparts today on battlefields from Bosnia to Afghanistan. Likewise, a little travel guide to hell written by the Florentine poet Dante Alighieri in the 13th century remains in print at the end of the 20th century, and it continues to speak to new generations of readers. There have been countless translations of the Inferno
, but this one by poet Robert Pinsky is both eloquent and tailored to our times.
Yes, this is an epic poem, but don't let that put you off. An excellent introduction provides context for the work, while detailed notes on each canto are a virtual who's who of 13th-century Italian politics, culture, and literature. Best of all, Pinsky's brilliant translation communicates the horror, despair, and terror of hell with such immediacy, you can almost smell the sulfur and feel the heat from the rain of fire as Dante--led by his faithful guide Virgil--descends lower and lower into the pit. Dante's journey through Satan's kingdom must rate as one of the great fictional travel tales of all time, and Pinsky does it great justice.