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This article by Joan Crespi was prepared for the

April 11, 2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Poetic Justice, Just for Hell

by Joan Crespi

Raves for hell? That’s what the new English translation

of Dante’s "Inferno" by Dante scholar Robert Hollander and

his wife, Jean Hollander, a poet, is garnering. Jeffrey Hart, National

Review’s senior editor, says the translation "has so many


that it is certain to become the translation for our time." Others

have called it the "most accurate, most readable translation in

decades." readers have awarded it five stars, saying

the translation "combines the virtues of maximum readability with

complete fidelity to the original Italian and to Dante’s intentions

and subtle shadings of meaning." In independent bookstores, it

is often a staff selection.

The Hollanders’ English free verse translation of the


the first part of "The Divine Comedy" (their translations

of the two other sections, "Purgatorio" and "Paradiso"

are forthcoming), was published by Doubleday in December, in a first

printing of some 25,000 copies. In February the translation —

the original Italian and the English translation are printed on facing

pages — was selling so well that the publishers proceeded with

a second printing.

Poet Jean Hollander is also a teacher and director of the College

of New Jersey’s annual Writers’ Conference, a day of workshops,


panels with literary agents, editors, and noted authors. This year

the conference takes place on Wednesday, April 18, and this year Jean

Hollander, herself, will be among the noted authors giving readings.

She will read from "Dante’s `Inferno:’ a Verse Translation"

as well as from her own prize-winning collection of poems,


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