INFERNO- The Journey Through Hell

img_20161017_113908.jpg

If you are a fan of Classics but not strong enough to ignore the new arrivals altogether, I think it is wise to set some ground rules so that your mind is spared the homicidal battles within. After finishing a new favorite, go back to an old one. Alternate your precious time equally between the two. Life is too short to miss out on all the great works that have been produced. You may thank me later nerds πŸ˜‰

A week back, with the release of the movie starring Tom Hanks and Irrfan Khan I was taken aback by the fact that I had not read the book Inferno by Dan Brown. Needless to say that in readers community it is considered a deplorable crime to watch the movie first, keeping the book to be attended later. But then mixed feelings of regret and relief donned on me when I found Dante’s Inferno in the book shelf at home. Without any further adieu I hopped on the bed with a mug of hot chocolate and wrapped in my cozy blanket started devouring this epic work by Dante Alighieri written in the 14th Century. The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighiery, ‘INFERNO’ – A verse translation by Allen Mandelbaum. If you are a lover of poetry, you can’t ignore a work of such rare perfection. It is a book of modest volume, but I suggest that you read it for as long as you can. Absorb each dialogue with sincere admiration and a hawk’s eye. That is where the fun lies. Devour the fine details with the best of your faculties.

The Divine Comedy is an epic poem that was presumably written in the period 1308-1320. While Dante was in exile he wrote three volumes of it, Inferno, Purgutario and Paradiso. Inferno is the narration of the journey that Dante undertakes down the hell. Guided by the Roman poet Virgil, he fearlessly embarks through numerous circles of hell, 9 to be exact. Each circle represents a sin, and the damned souls are trapped there for eternity. The three beasts he encounters represent three kinds of sinners, the self-indulgent, the malicious and the violent. The circles or sins are of lust, anger, gluttony, avarice, violence, fraud, treachery, those who ignored the existence of Christ and those who confused others about the idea of Christ. As Dante passes each circle he meets people known to him as well as strangers. The dialogues they exchange are insightful I must say.  Each sin that has been described is exceptionally realistic and is explained to Dante either by Virgil or the sinners themselves.

The beauty of this book is that it is a dual language edition and comes with explanatory notes at the back. Don’t go on if you are not getting the plot. Read once, twice, thrice, as many times as you feel like. Take it slow and read with patience. If you feel like you are not just ready, drop it for a while. This is not another easy going novel you can take with you to read by the beach while your friends are howling around. It is the kind that you read in the silent confines of your room. Give it time and exclusive attention. Give it love, and it will reflect the same.

I’m screaming it loud and clear. VISUALIZE everything you read. Every single dialogue. That is one rule you have to strictly stick by.

Come, have a good look at hell.

img_20161022_205935_1477150285659.jpg

And yeah, don’t get all serious while reading it. I personally couldn’t help smirking every now and then. It is a blend of both horror and humor, so of course both are meant to be felt. There are times you will have a sinking feeling for yourself, but then you may have some fun imagining people you don’t like, damned to hell. Dante is brilliantly imaginative in devising ways for torturing his enemies. You may have your own opinions during the journey, which may make you question the perfection of Dante’s work, but it is absolutely fine. The uneasiness and restlessness that comes with it is absolutely worth it. This book is outrageously diplomatic, philosophical and political at the same time. Dante has sent to hell real people. Daring, eh? One thing that took me by surprise is finding his beloved teacher Brunetto Latini in hell, convicted of sodomy( canto XV ). Seems like God( as per Dante’s assumptions) wasn’t that open minded regarding sex during the 14th century. Homosexuality? Nu-uh.

Dante doesn’t cease to amaze the reader, despite the aforementioned scene or a couple others that may make us raise brows. But come on, it was written 7 centuries back. We can be sensible enough to ignore the difference in mindsets and enjoy the book as a literary blessing for once, right?

In case it makes you feel any better, in canto XX the fortune tellers were damned(*chuckles* which serves them so damn right) and were condemned to walk with their heads turned backwards, restricting them from knowing what lies ahead, since this is precisely what they had done all their life, creating fear of the unknown in the minds of people.

img_20161022_220544_1477154156425.jpg

It is the kind of book that gives you a bad hangover. The kind that nerds would kill to experience. Can’t wait to lay my hands on the other two volumes. Take my word for it folks, at one point in life you will be ready for this book. And when you are, it will be one hell of a read.

Advertisements

About SK Rajeshwari

I am an incurable bibliophile, dreamer, writer, poet and connoisseur of all things beautiful. This blog 'My Cosmos' is my first love and nothing pleases me more than constructive feedback for my write-ups. My second love is books. I am an insatiable and roly-poly bookworm. Books teach me how to explore the world inside me and the ones that are outcomes of someone else's unadulterated imagination. What beautifies my existence is the endless walk I enjoy putting on those shoes of imagination. Step into my world, feel my poems and allow your wandering soul to be hypnotized by the fragrance of the captivating manifestations of my dreams, experiences and imagination. Allow this feeling to creep into your being and let your nerves speak the language of beauty and artistry. Bienvenido :)

Posted on October 22, 2016, in Book Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Thanks for such a beautiful review

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review. While on one hand it makes me want to read the book, on the other hand, the underlined excerpt in the picture describing the faces turned towards their hunches, making them walk backwards, makes me think that this book is really weird. As you said, may be at one point of time in my life I will be ready for this one.Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, there is much violence in the book since it literally carries countless images from the hell. Welcome the book into your life whenever you are comfortable dealing with the violent scenes. I’m glad you liked the review.

      Like

  3. It’s interesting to see a blogger who has introduced Inferno to readers.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. For a second I thought you were talking about Dan Brown’s Inferno. Anyhow, I would love to read Dante’s Inferno someday, when I can harness the seriousness of it in my mind.

    Like

  5. Great review… I read this a few weeks back…

    Like

  6. This information is magnificent. I understand and respect your clear-cut points. I am impressed with your writing style and how well you express your thoughts.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: