not merely superfluous, but ridiculous
this post was originally published on my Goodreads account. It’s shorter than I’d like; I’ll probably do a big post on the Divine Comedy when I finish it.
Surprisingly fast-paced, very funny at times- Dante’s treatment of Filippo Argenti made me laugh out loud on an airplane- and a good example of how the classics can get a reputation they don’t deserve for ponderousness or pretension. My first reading, I’m sure, barely scratched the surface of the poem, and I spend most of my time getting my bearings thanks to the copious footnotes that translators Robert and Jean Hollander provide. And Inferno is the poem with the largest number of recognizable characters in it, all the monsters and heroes of classical mythology. I’m sure Purgatorio, which necessarily consists of Dante’s near-contemporaries, is going to be a bit more of a slog, but as long as the poetry stays at this level of excellence, it will remain worth the effort.