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Michael Palma's translation of the Inferno reproduces in contemporary English Dante's intricate triple-rhyming terza rima form, defying the conventional wisdom of literary commentators who long argued that it simply cannot be done. This spectacular feat of poetic artistry- "accurate ... admirably clear, and readable" (Richard Wilbur)-"in capturing the sense, sound, and spirit of the original ... comes close to perfection" (X.J. Kennedy).

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Michele M

Feb 1, 2016

Contemporary Dante

Reading this paraphrase allowed me to visualize the story. Mary Jo Bang uses dozens of contemporary references to bring the poem to life. Her notes are excellent. I also read parts of Ciardi's translation, which is quite good, but not as fun or edgy as this one.

Stacey R

Oct 13, 2011


John Ciardi's translation of Inferno is detailed and rich with use of the English language that most closely matches the original language of this work.
HIs historical references and explanations are numerous and make the work even more meaningful. For a classical work originally from the middle ages, Ciardi makes it very understandable and enjoyable for modern audiences.

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