1977 Dante Alighieri-Inferno

I came to this book on my own when I was in high school almost by accident and it led to a change in the kind of books I was reading and the way I was reading them. Before Dante, like most kids my age with an interest in science, I read a lot of science fiction. It inspired a sense of awe and wonder about the world and especially technology and provided a simple and not too taxing introduction to thinking about ideas that was about right for a teenager without a lot of direction and focus. One of the sci-fi books that I read, what in fact would turn out to be the last one, I remember it as Infernoland (it was almost certinaly Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle’s 1976 novel, Inferno). I don’t remember much of it other than it was some kind of adventure that was set in land of Dante’s Inferno. The book itself was not that interesting but this “Infernoland” was curious and I wanted to know more about it.

I remember it was a bit of a challenge to track down the three volumes of the Divine Comedy. The difficulty of finding basic works of western culture in suburban Nebraska is hard to imagine today in an urban and mobile culture where everything is available on any phone at any time and even esoteric items can be found with little effort on Amazon or Ebay.

Once I had them and started reading I was both amazed and perplexed. I was fascinated with the system of organization and a bit lost reading a work that was complex and open-ended having spent too much time reading simple allegories and adventure stories.

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~ by severalfourmany on July 1, 2011.

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