4 out of 5 stars to Inferno, the first of three books in the “Divine Comedy” series, written around 1320 by Dante Alighieri. A few pieces of background information for those who many not know, before I get into a mini-review. Inferno, which means “Hell” was one of three books Dante wrote in the 14th century, essentially about the three spaces people occupy after death: Hell (Inferno), Purgatory and Heaven (Paradiso). I’ve only read Inferno, so I’m not able to discuss much on the other two, but I’d like to some day. They were not written in English, so I have read a translated version. These works are considered comparable in fame and beauty as those of William Shakespeare. OK… that said, my thoughts:
For as long as people have been alive, Christians, that is, they have worried about what happens after death, turning to God and the Bible. In the 14th century, religion was one of the only things people did with their lives besides work and raise a family. They had a lot of time to spend on it, wondering what might happen. Dante captures the exact sentiments we’ve all felt throughout our lives, and he displays it through the nine circles or gates of hell. He presents it as a torture for all those who did bad things while they were alive. The story, in its basic form, is Dante himself traveling in a boat through the river that runs through Hell, stopping to see each realm. He’s led by the famous poet Virgil. He encounters people or archetypes of people he knew and those he’s heard of. Essentially, it’s a story of justice and the contradictions in religious beliefs for all of God’s followers. Dante pushed people to think about their actions and beliefs. And he created a story based on his own journey to say everything he felt about what he’s experienced in life.
It’s full of questions. It’s been the basis for so many movies, books and plays in the future. It’s so often quoted or referenced, it’s literally one of the most famous works around… and to think it was written nearly 700 years ago is amazing. Though it’s no where near a comparison, it reminds me a little bit of The Ninth Gate, a movie with Johnny Depp, that I love, about people trying to reach the Devil. And it’s a translation of a new Spanish author I’m very fond of: Arturo Perez-Reverte. I’ve read one of his books and plan to read The Club Dumas soon.
As for this one, I encourage everyone to find a passage from The Divine Comedy, even if you prefer Paradise or Purgatory, something a tad more positive, just to see the language and the lyrics Dante shares. It’s beautiful. I could go on and on, but hopefully this is enough to wet your appetite.
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.