The recent resurgence of interest in Dante Alighieri is not well
understood. Perhaps it?s because these apocalyptic times give us a
new reference point for all Dante?s talk of fire and brimstone. In
the past year alone, five new translations of The Inferno,
and three new translations of Purgatorio have found their
way into print. And Alighieri aficionados are celebrating several
recently published novels, including Matthew Pearl?s The Dante
Club, and Nick Tosches? In the Hand of Dante.
?Divine Comedy is suffused with Aristotelian philosophy,
medieval astronomy, and the petty political rivalries of
13th-century Italy?not exactly best-seller material,? reports Adam
Kirsch for Slate. English speakers had to wait until the
early part of the 19th century for the first complete translation
of The Divine Comedy to be available, so maybe we?re just
making up for lost time.