The epic grandeur of Dante’s masterpiece has inspired readers for 700 years, and has entered the human imagination. But the further we move from the late medieval world of Dante, the more a rich understanding and enjoyment of the poem depends on knowledgeable guidance. Robert Hollander, a renowned scholar and master teacher of Dante, and Jean Hollander, an accomplished poet, have written a beautifully accurate and clear verse translation of the first volume of Dante’s epic poem, the Divine Comedy. Featuring the original Italian text opposite the translation, this edition also offers an extensive and accessible introduction and generous commentaries that draw on centuries of scholarship as well as Robert Hollander’s own decades of teaching and research. The Hollander translation is the new standard in English of this essential work of world literature.
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Dan Brown seems to be back in form. The reader hits the ground running and doesn't stop until the end of the book. This time a genius at genetic engineering has left clues using lines from Dante's Inferno to a supply of viruses about to be unleashed. Robert Langdon, a veritable font of facts is able to put clues together to locate ground zero but will he get there in time?The reader is given a tour of Florence before boating around Venice and finally treated to hidden parts of Istanbul. For those of us not familiar with the sights referred to, a computer with Google Images is very helpful.Perfect summer reading.more
This was my first Dan Brown read and it is the storyline connection to Dante that piqued my interest. This was an audio book read for me and I thought the narrator did a very good job and probably kept me more interested in the storyline than the print book would. I really enjoyed the connection to Dante, the detailed descriptions of the locations and thought the fast-paced of the novel worked well without feeling overwhelmed. At times the thriller part seemed a little too formulaic to me and so some of the twists and turns, and the characters seemed a little too predictable.more
Brown's books definitely make you want to visit Europe! Interesting twisting of the plot at the end. Not really sure how I feel about it yet. I need some time to mull it over a bit. Brown's prose, plot, & character development is suburb.more
Okay, so it's a new Robert Langdon mystery/suspense/thriller by Dan Brown. You know going in that it's going to involve Harvard symbiologist Langdon in a race through ancient locales, searching for clues hidden in classic writings and historical monuments, competing with a mysterious, powerful and far-reaching secret organization, and aided by a brilliant beauty who has secrets of her own.Check.Dan Brown stays true to his formula. Fortunately, I enjoy this particular formula. Here, Robert Langdon awakens with a head injury in Florence, with no memory of the last couple of days or how he got here from Harvard. Almost immediately, it seems, he is being pursued by a mysterious killer, accompanied by Sienna Brooks, a beautiful doctor with secrets of her own. He learns that a powerful man who is fascinated by Dante's "The Divine Comedy" (particularly "The Inferno") has hidden a horrifying creation of his own design that will change the human race forever, and Langdon must decipher the clues hidden in Dante's writing to prevent an Earthly Inferno. The plot stretches the bounds of credulity, but not to the breaking point, and I quite enjoyed the fast pace, sudden twists and surprise revelations. And, if Brown's research is to be believed (not quite sure if I do), I came away knowing quite a bit more about Dante and the Renaissance than before.more
Leave it to Dan Brown to capture your attention at the very start and not release it till the end, with an unexpected twist on the last pages. Though the book begins with a familiar type of pursuit involving codes, etc., it certainly becomes worthwhile when the reason for the chase becomes clear. While in "The Da Vinci Code" Dan Brown daringly delved back into history presenting a unique perspective on Christianity, in "Inferno" he, no less skillfully, tackles science and ventures into the problems of the Earth's future - specifically, the problem of overpopulation that brings with itself depletion of resources for the human race to exist. The author doesn't exaggerate when he says: "When it comes to the circumstances of the world, denial has become a global pandemic". As I see it, the reality of this statement cannot be overestimated if we don't want to bring about the extinction of human race. Professor Robert Langdon finds himself in an unfamiliar territory this time, but his expertise once again proves invaluable. I loved the book, especially for its hugely significant premise.--more
Of all of Brown's books, this is my least favorite. I enjoyed reading it, but I had one question: Why would someone intent on doing the world harm leave clues behind so it could be stopped? I never did come to terms with the "Why?" when it came to the clue hunting. I did enjoy the setting (Florence and Venice), and I enjoyed learning some things I didn't know about some famous art pieces. I kept my phone beside me the whole time I read so I could quickly look up pictures of various locations and works of art. The story itself, however, I felt was a little contrived, just to get in the same sort of art clues that are found in some of his other books. There are a lot of twists and turns in the action, so if you do decide to read it, keep an open mind! Don't jump to hasty conclusions about what you think will happen next. The novel was interesting, but I doubt I will reread it.more
You might recall the Harvard art historian and symbologist from other Dan Brown novels. In this novel, Robert Langdon bounces through Tuscany and visits classical sites in pursuit of an evil genius bent on infecting the world population. Langdon searches the native territory of Dante Alighieri as referenced in his Divine Comedy in order to dismantle the Doomsday bomb planted by a bio-terrorist.Langdon’s initial problem is that he has no memory when he awakens in a Florentine hospital. His eidetic recall has been impaired apparently by a head wound, and his escapade is launched by the appearance of an assassin. His evasion and gradual recollection are assisted by an ER doctor while they zip through Aegean sites, following pertinent clues, avoiding sinister pursuers, and racing the clock.Dan Brown blends literature, literary history, and philosophy into this work. The inclusion of many verses from Dante’s poem captures the flavor of Italian Renaissance literature, and the author adds a précis of some verses while introducing the historical background, events, and personalities involved in Dante’s work. Brown renders descriptions of the classical buildings, sculptures, and other artwork with vivid aplomb.The novelist also introduces the philosophic propositions of 18th Century British scholar Robert Malthus, who postulated that the world’s population would grow faster than the earth could provide subsistence. The Malthusian model also posited that population was controlled through famine and disease. Unfortunately, in our modern world pharmacology has eliminated many diseases, medical advances have advanced living ages, and the population has been exploding exponentially while resources are diminishing, bringing the human race to the brink of extinction. Genius geneticist Bertrand Zobrist, at odds with World Health Organization and in collusion with a secret group headed by the Provost, has devised and is about to execute a solution to overpopulation—unless Langdon can stop him.Despite the intriguing revelations in this literary jaunt or the conflicting sociological viewpoints, Dan Brown’s formulaic plot here has become a bit threadbare. Even the romping visits through various exotic vistas are becoming tedious. The ageless Robert Langdon has become a picaresque protagonist, more a pliable foil for other characters than a self-actualized hero. Yet, a fascination to discover what evils will be released into the world will propel the reader onward.This novel demonstrates how difficult it is to maintain a specific standard within Dan Brown’s genre. But consuming this book is not a waste of time.more
Inferno is Dan Brown’s latest Robert Langdon thriller, and with Brown there are a few things you know you are going to get: non-stop action, detailed descriptions of exotic locales (heck, DC is exotic to me, so even The Lost Symbol did this), cyphers and puzzles, good-but-not-great writing, and enough gotchas to keep your head spinning.I found Inferno to be slightly slower paced than The Lost Symbol, but not as carefully plotted out as Brown’s earlier work. The book begins with Langdon recovering in hospital with a head wound and a case of amnesia, and sure enough within moments someone is trying to kill him. The reader is taken from one set scene to another in staccato fashion, with the occasional flashback or chapter focusing on a secondary character slowing the pace a little.The action takes place primarily in three locations: Florence and Venice in Italy, and Istanbul in Turkey. As is Brown’s tendency, each location is given the full tourist treatment, with picture postcard descriptions of all of the major architectural sites and places of interests. These sections read largely like a Rick Steve’s guidebook, and while they are definitely appealing (I found myself wanting to go back to Italy), they do tend to pull the reader out of the flow of the book when used too often (which happens a lot – Langdon is truly a man on the move).Brown’s bread and butter is his use of artwork and historical locations to create elaborate puzzles that only a symbologist – a non-existent profession, but hey, if I get to travel the world like Langdon, sign me up! – can possibly solve. The problem for me, and for many of the readers I have spoken to about this, is that the puzzles just aren’t that difficult. This is a problem that Brown has attempted to address, first in The Lost Symbol and now more so in Inferno, by obfuscating facts and hiding information from the reader. Here, he uses the device of Langdon’s head injury and amnesia to force him to go step-by-step through the discovery process, coming to sudden realizations about obvious clues on several occasions. This comes across as contrived. And when Langdon doesn’t recognize extremely direct clues that basically name specific sites, it becomes much harder to believe. Isn’t Langdon supposed to be an expert? In fact, the expert in his field? And he has done plenty of work on Dante, which he reiterates a number of times. His inability to put facts together is, at times, a real head-scratcher.Further undermining the entertainment value of this book, there are a number of plot twists that really stretched this reader’s suspension of disbelief, enough so that I was taken solidly out of the narrative in order to go back over earlier chapters. For a book of this sort, this is disastrous. Thrillers rely, by their nature, on their sheer page-turning velocity, and jarring the reader out of the flow by throwing in unbelievable plot twists smacks of desperate writing. On the opposite side of the spectrum, many of the twists and puzzles are so obvious that I could see them far in advance. Once or twice makes for a sense of accomplishment, but more than that and you feel as though the author is writing down to his audience a little too much. In addition, Brown has more Dei ex machina than Douglas Adams, but at least Adams was doing it for comic effect. The biggest plot hole in the entire book (and a pretty good Deus in its own right)is the fact that there is a series of clues for Langdon to follow. Each clue is carefully scripted in the grand tradition of the most clichéd of Bond villains intent on world destruction – beyond that, I won’t say anything more specific so as to not spoil them for anyone. Brown already does a good enough job of that himself.On a positive note, I did actually find the novel entertaining. Brown’s play with metanarrative – his occasional reminders that Dante’s Inferno has inspired countless works of art, as you are reading a book that is so obviously inspired by Dante as to borrow his title – is a nice piece of self-awareness on the part of the author, and he does work many of the more common tropes of the Hero’s Journey into the novel, giving it a comforting familiarity. I enjoyed the book, yes, but would I read it again? Not likely.Steve’s Grade: CThe book delivers on exotic locales and fast pace, but becomes too contrived by the end.more
Yes, Inferno is contrived, unrealistic, corny, clichéd, and probably linguistically inadequate.But it is really good fun.Sure, it doesn't take long for the book to turn into the standard Dan Brown game of cat and mouse. Fortunately, that seems to kind of be his thing, and the book makes for an incredibly entertaining game of cat and mouse. The story revolves around The Divine Comedy, a 14th century work by Dante and, surprise, various pieces of art based on this work. This time it all begins with Mr. Langdon waking up in a hospital without being able to remember how he got there. It takes about one chapter for someone to start shooting at him, and everything escalates from there. It doesn't take long for the story to start moving at an incredible pace, and it's truly impressive how well the tension and drama is sustained for over 400 pages. As one would expect there is a good deal of general trivia about art, symbolism and so on, but only just enough for the atmosphere and tone of the story to be maintained, without distracting from or breaking the pace of the actual events that are taking place.The characters are no less shallow than they need to be to play their part in the story, but honestly, who cares about the lack of character development? Who cares if a bunch of really intelligent people happen to not figure out something trivial until the story calls for it? Who cares if super-elite-infallible-organisation(tm) happens to repeatedly make mistakes when it suits the narrative? That's not the point. Anyone picking up this book seeking intricate relationships, character development, and elaborately constructed sub-plots should (and probably do) know better. Inferno is as formulaic and typical as anyone would hope, anticipate, or fear that it is. Regardless of what one might think of the formula, it is followed with great success. Inferno is certainly more entertaining than The Lost Symbol, and I think it might just have overtaken Deception Point to become my new favourite Dan Brown book.Is this a book I will still be thinking about three days from now? Probably not. Of course, the book ends on the usual pseudo-political food-for-thought kind of note which ties up the story nicely. It works well as the end of the story, and as ten seconds of brain fodder while staring into space. Otherwise Inferno fits well into the category of books that are like firework-displays. It's great while it lasts, intense and colourful enough to make you go "oooooh", and has plenty of loud bangs. Then it is gone, and you realise that it might all have been a bit pointless. Maybe it is all a bit pointless. There is certainly more than enough about this book to dislike and criticise. However, if one is fortunate enough not to care too much about any of its flaws, Inferno is good fun.Really good fun.more
Dan Brown should be upfront about his sponsorship: seriously, Inferno reads as if he's paid by various manufacturers to ensure maximum placement for their upmarket products – and if the Italian and Turkish Tourism Boards haven’t already rewarded him they certainly should. His latest in the Professor Robert Langdon series - that tall, handsome 40-something symbologist from Harvard with the full head of thick brown hair and the designer labels - reads like a badly written travelogue dripping with brand names. It also features the most unlikely and absurd plots as the famous Prof takes a whirl-wind tour of all the most marketable spots of Florence, Venice and Istanbul in a Dante-themed treasure hunt where the prize is control of a near-extinction event.Every book features a beautiful, intelligent young woman who falls madly in love with the Harvard hunk, and this time it’s idealistic, unbelievably intelligent and beautiful Sienna Brown who heads a cast of erudite extras whose combined brilliance none-the-less pales beside that of the legendary Langdon. But who can he trust? Nothing is as it seems and twist follows incredible twist as the story plummets like a lead balloon to its fantastical conclusion. No spoilers here but I can reveal that brilliant Bob survives for a fifth outing and predict that Florence, Venice and Istanbul will see an influx of Inferno-clutching fans in search of sites mentioned in the book. Not so Manila however which Brown described as Hell on Earth: the Philippine Tourism Board obviously did not play their cards correctly…more
In the 4th installment of the adventures of symbology professor Robert Langdon, the reader finds him waking up in a hospital in Florence, Italy, with a wound to his head and no recollection of how he got there. However, there’s no time to rest because dangerous people will stop at nothing to kill him. With the help of the doctor treating him – a mysterious woman with a past – Langdon tries to outrun his captors in order to find answers. An object sewn into his jacket offers clues related to Dante and his famous work the Divine Comedy. It soon becomes clear that if Langdon can’t crack the codes the world will be headed for the gruesome hell that Dante envisioned. The issues of genetic engineering, population control, politics and of course the city of Florence are front and center. I found this book exciting and a nonstop read (I finished it in 3 days). However, I found that I was a little disappointed that there was not as much puzzle solving (which has always been my favorite part of this series) as there has been in previous books. But as with all his books it has wanted me to explore further—particularly the city of Florence and Dante’s Divine Comedy. A solid 4 out of 5 stars.more
Our Review, by LITERAL ADDICTION's Pack Alpha - Michelle L. Olson:I'm a Dan Brown fan... I've read all of his works, not just the Robert Langdon series - Digital Fortress is probably my favorite work of his. Anyway, being a fan, I was excited to hear that he was coming out with a new book, had Inferno pre-ordered, and actually waited up until after midnight on release day so I could start it immediately keeping the next day free of commitments so I could dedicate it to reading. Sadly, the only thought that kept running through my head while reading was "Oh Dan, where is the heart!!?" :-/I like Brown's writing style despite the harsh critique it's received. I enjoy how his books are layered with codes and mysteries, how they're incredibly fast-paced & often surprising, & how he takes facts and then pulls and twists them like taffy as far as they'll go without breaking to turn them into riveting fiction. I don't even mind the repeated format within the Robert Langdon series - professor and expert on symbology and iconography finds himself embroiled in the middle of a high-stakes mystery, teams up with an attractive, smart and capable foreign woman who helps fill in the gaps and challenges him, and the two cement alliances, skirt villains, and undergo a hair raising adventure to save the world's (or the world itself).With all that said, Inferno just fell flat for me. It had the expected format as mentioned above. It had the twisted facts as also mentioned above. What it didn't have was any of the action packed thrills and gasp inducing surprises I've come to know and love in Dan Brown's books. In addition, those style critiques I mentioned were very evident in this book to me, where I hadn't even noticed them before: foreign languages used during dialogue - a lot of times without clarification leaving holes for those of us who don't speak fluent Italian or Latin, references that make no sense - a train of thought referral to Dutch city where MC Escher lived (who cares if that's where the artist lived, it has no bearing in the story & took 3 sentences to tell!), simile & hyperbole used in the weirdest of places without much order, etc. I wanted to love this book. I really, really did, especially given my fascination with and deep appreciation for Dante and all of the other art and literature his Divine Comedy spawned, but alas I just couldn't, and am giving my very first ever 2 Skull review. *sigh*more
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