The Comedy of Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) is perhaps the greatest poem ever written. Itís not just a Christian guide to redemption; itís a work of philosophy, politics, history, myth, natural history, conversation, culture and theatre. It brings to life Italian and indeed European civilisation in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, presenting it in the holistic setting of Godís plan for mankind. Itís a story of love and hatred, pride and penitence, with a cast of kings, clerics and commoners, politicians, poets and sages, monsters and beasts, angels and saints, sinners and Satan. Itís a morality tale for every age.

In this new translation of its first canticle, Hell, the precise meaning of the original is allowed to come across without recourse to literalness or loss of poetic feel. In addition, the novel use of tetrameters ensures the lively rhythms of the original are captured better than by using the more traditional blank verse. Similar novelty may be found in the redesign of forty-two of Gustave Dorťís original engravings to convey a striking vision of a stark, bleak and desolate Hell; there are also two new maps of both Hell and Danteís universe. With nearly a hundred pages of notes to help the reader who is unfamiliar with Dante and his world, this is a translation that can be readily understood by anyone, hopefully fulfilling the poetís practical aim for the work of Ďremoving those living their lives in a state of misery and bringing them to a state of happiness.í

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