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Book Title


Author 1
Dante Alighieri; Translation by Mary Jo Bang; Drawings by Henrik Drescher
Poem Excerpt
Stopped mid-motion in the middle
Of what we call our life, I looked up and saw no sky—
Only a dense cage of leaf, tree, and twig. I was lost.
                        —from Canto I
“The only good Hell to be in right now is poet Mary Jo Bang’s innovative, new translation of Dante’s Inferno, illustrated with drawings by Henrik Drescher. Bang’s thrillingly contemporary translation of the first part (the juiciest part) of Alighieri’s fourteenth-century poem The Divine Comedy is indeed epic. . . . Once you embark on this journey, you may wish to read not only all of Mary Jo Bang’s work but all of Dante’s, too.”—Vanity Fair
“Imagine a contemporary translation of Dante that includes references to Pink Floyd, South Park, Donald Rumsfeld, and Star Trek. Now imagine that this isn’t gimmicky. . . . Imagine instead that the old warhorse is now scary again, and perversely funny, and lyrical and faux-lyrical in a way that sounds sometimes like Auden, sometimes like Nabokov, but always like Mary Jo Bang.”—BOMB

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“This will be the Dante for the next generation,” now available in paperback (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

About the Author

Mary Jo  Bang
Credit: Carly Ann Faye

Mary Jo Bang has published eight poetry collections, including A Doll for Throwing and Elegy, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, and new translations of Dante’s Inferno and Purgatorio. She teaches at Washington University in Saint Louis.

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  • “[Bang’s Inferno] is an epic both fresh and historical, scholarly and irreverent. . . . This will be Dante for the next generation.”Publishers Weekly, starred review
  • “[Bang] succeeds in giving the Inferno’s narrative drama an energetic idiom. . . . One of the most readable and enjoyable versions of the Inferno of our time.”The New York Review of Books
  • “Bang did something incredibly smart before she coaxed Dante's corpse to sit up and sing for us: She taught him how to talk like us. Hell is more appealing in the form of a mirror.”The Stranger
  • "[Bang's Inferno] is a fresh and ingenious new incarnation of Dante's ever-captivating story, and from one line to the next a constantly rewarding pleasure to read."—Lydia Davis
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