"Inferno", the first volume of Dante Alighieri's "La Divina Comemedia", is an imaginitive tour de force. Dante's hero, Virgil, guides him through hell, showing him the inhabitants of each of its nine circles and examples of the divine justice meted out to them. Ciaran Carson's translation of the text is suffused with wit, anger and irreverent vigour and attempts not to diminish the pathos of the original.
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Ciaran Carson was born in 1948 in Belfast where he still lives. He has been awarded the Irish Times Literature Prize, the T.S. Eliot Prize and the Yorkshire Post Prize.From Booklist:
While news-making controversy rages over the mounting mound of Bible translations, yet another Dante's Inferno in English doesn't much bother anyone. Nor should it in the case of Ulster poet Carson's version. Comparison with dual-language editions confirms it is faithful to the original, only with a slight Scots-Irish accent (e.g., in using girn instead of snarl), which may require occasional recourse to a collegiate dictionary. Writing in Dante's form, terza rima, necessarily with plenty of off rhymes (English isn't rhyme-rich like Italian), Carson nicely manages the form's propulsive thrust; when Virgil wants Dante to get a move on in this version, we share his urgency. Carson says that as he got deeper into the work, he took a lot of walks around Belfast. Perhaps the rhythm of his pace infected that of his verse. At any rate, this is brisk reading, and the journey from the dark wood through Hell's nine circles to Satan's waist and beyond has seldom been so bracing. An excellent choice for first acquaintance with a perpetually fascinating classic. Ray Olson
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