unigo_skin
© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
 

Best of the Web

Robert Pinsky, The Inferno of Dante (1994)

There were more than 50 English translations of Dante in the twentieth century. Robert Pinsky's attempt may be our favorite. Pinsky, who was America's Poet Laureate from 1997 to 2000, doesn't just copy Dante's lines literally into English. He re-works them into English in a way that is faithful to the spirit and lyricism of Dante's poem instead of just the letter.

Allen Mandelbaum, The Divine Comedy , Everyman's Library edition (1995)

Mandelbaum's translation of Dante's three canticles is widely regarded as the best English translation of the Divine Comedy out there. Mandelbaum has been decorated by the governments of Florence and Italy for his faithful interpretation of the works of il sommo poeta(or "the supreme poet").

R.W.B. Lewis, Dante (2001)

Dante died almost 700 years ago, and so there's really not that much information for biographers to go on. Lewis' biography is a slim yet comprehensive volume that offers a clear, straightforward explanation of Dante's life and the complicated times he lived in. If you want a good introduction to Dante without hundreds of pages of detail, this is your book.

Harriet Rubin, Dante in Love: The World's Greatest Poem and How it Made History (2004)

Rubin's readable, entertaining book looks at the life of Dante Alighieri through his unrequited passion for Beatrice Portinari and the writing of the Divine Comedy . Dante's love for Beatrice—a young girl he met when they were children and spoke to only a handful of times before her early death—ranks as one of the oddest yet powerfully influential love affairs in history.

Robert Hollander, Dante: A Life in Works (2001)

Hollander is a professor at Princeton University who has studied Dante for more than 40 years. In this book, he looks to the poet's works for clues about his personal development. Many of Dante's greatest works, such as Vita Nuova and the Divine Comedy , are strongly autobiographical.

Kimberley Heuston, Dante's Daughter (2003)

This young adult novel is told from the point of view of Antonia Alighieri, Dante's only daughter. In this book, she is a vibrant young woman in search of herself. In real life, Antonia joined a convent.

Matthew Pearl, The Dante Club (2003)

This is a historical-fiction thriller set in 1865. Pals Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, James Russell Lowell, and Oliver Wendell Holmes are translating Dante together when a serial murderer strikes town, committing brutal offings modeled after the punishments in Dante's Inferno. And then the writers turn into crime solvers!

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
back to top