Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Infernal


Penguin seems to be going Dante crazy at the moment. Above is a new cover design for a new Penguin Classics UK edition of Inferno. They don't seem to have matching versions for Purgatorio and Paradiso, but then, as with Proust, most people don't make it past volume one, so perhaps they know their market. To be fair, Inferno is the most entertaining of the three: Dante is at his best consigning everyone who ever pissed him off to the flames, and less fun when he's just going on about Beatrice.

The above edition joins the recent hardback version, with a Coralie Bickford-Smith jacket:



Penguin Classics US, meanwhile, have just released a Graphic Classics edition of the full Divine Comedy, with cover artwork by Eric Drooker. I only know Drooker's work from his excellent wordless graphic novel, Flood. His other work includes a visual adaption of Ginsberg's Howl!, but as I pretty much loathe Ginsberg and his poetry, I haven't investigated that one.


Click to see it in all its glory
To see some of Flood, visit Drooker's site here.

Of course, none of these have quite the same effect as this edition of Inferno from Del Rey. I can't think of anyone who will buy this book because of its cover or videogame association who won't be bitterly disappointed, and anyone who wants the book for its literary value is not going to go with this edition. It's a perfect example of a misconceived book.



I don't remember scenes like this from the book:



10 comments:

matthew. said...

I suppose Longfellow's translation is public domain, which would explain why Del Rey went with that one and not something more modern.

I can't think of a single literary nerd I know who would want to play that game and I can't think of a single video game nerd that would want to play that game - I mean read the poem.

Ian Shimkoviak said...

The graphic novelesque one is very nice.

Hope yer new family addition is not depriving you of sanity just yet.

I just got done doing an Inferno for B&N.

Unknown said...

I wonder if it's because of the new Dan Brown novel coming....

JRSM said...

Matthew, I think that must be the reason: as far as I know it's not an especially well-regarded translation.

Ian, I'm still sane, if sleep-deprived! Do you know if Unknown's suggestion is the reason for the new Inferno editions? It makes sense.

Tororo said...

Wow! A brand new novel by Dante Brown?

Erm. On a more serious note, Drooker's work is great.

Brett said...

Nicely done post. The artwork by Drooker is fantastic.

jb said...

Just saw that new Penguin Graphic Classics last week. I love that series. I, like most I guess, have only read Inferno, so I really should get around to the other two if only to find out whodunit.

JRSM said...

Spoiler: It was God all along!

jb said...

Gah, the cheat's ending! Next you'll be telling me that a lot of the characters are just thinly disguised versions of his friends or something...

Buchgestaltung said...

I am a huge fan of Dante's work . His vivid writing and wildly imaginative "inferno" makes this the most fascinating, compelling volume of the Divine Comedy. Never fun, but always spellbinding and complicated.