For an urban English-speaker in the twenty-first century, the original language of Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, the first act of his trilogy, the Comedy, would read like a shockingly accurate critique of today’s globalized society, if we could understand it. Dante’s Inferno: A Wanderer in Hell gives second-millennial English-language readers a chance to share the pathos, the humor, and the raw political aggression of Dante’s vision of Hell.
Dante’s Inferno: A Wanderer in Hell preserves the meaning of Dante’s verses, line by line. Where a literal translation of his highly philosophical but often slang-rich text will not make sense for the twenty-first century English-speaking reader, the most reasonable compromise of the literal and figurative is used.
Written in exile from Florence, Dante’s Inferno speaks to those of us today who question our own and our societies’ values. Dante, lost in the middle of his lifetime, wanders behind Virgil down the narrow safe passage through Hell’s increasingly nightmarish suffering. On this horrendous journey, Dante will come to understand the consequences of the social evils running rampant in Europe’s cancerously spreading empire that values profits more than people and teaches its citizens to prize their own personal pleasure above principle, spreading sexual license, gang turf war, and international political and religious violence.