Theater of Cruelty

For the lazy, greedy and sinful

Dante's Inferno. For the lazy, greedy and sinful
Forfatter: Kristin Flood
Forlag: Flood Forlag, (Norge)
DANTE / Kristin Flood's Inferno is a truly creative addition to the Dante literature in Norwegian.


We find traces of Hell written by Dante (see The Divine Comedy, about. 1307–1321) also in our time. Just think of the war in Ukraine. Or in the last century with two world wars and the development of the atomic bomb – and infinitely more. Dante depicts evil and what it brings: conflicts, brutality, polarization and divisions, oppression and destruction. Dante touches the very essence of evil.

In 2021, it was 700 years since the poet Dante Alighieri (1265–1321) died. He is considered one of Christendom's greatest writers.

Interest in Dante is increasing. He wrote about the things people have always been concerned with: joys and sorrows, faith, hope for heaven and love, evil, hatred, war and wishes for better times. In his main work The Divine Comedy meet poetry, theology, philosophy, mythology, history, politics and ethics. The reader gets plenty of opportunities to think through his own relationship with life – or with God.

The comedy, as the work is often called, is ambiguous and can be difficult to understand, with its many allegories and cultural references. But there is help to be had.

Pictures From the Book: Gustave Doré

Free retelling

Norwegian-Italian Kristin Flood has chosen to retell Dantes in a new book Inferno in his own way. She has written a simple introduction to the first part of the great poet's main work in the book Dante's Inferno. The book is neither a translation nor a retelling, but a free retelling "for the lazy, greedy and sinful", as the subtitle cheerfully states.

Do you want to get to know Dantes better? Inferno, Flood's book is a very good starting point. However, she has no desire to make translations or retellings superfluous, because you need such if you really want to immerse yourself in Dante in Norwegian.

floods Inferno is a truly creative addition to the Dante literature in Norwegian (see below). The little book is also beautiful, with approx. thirty illustrations by Gustave Doré (1832–1883), conscientiously photographed by Morten Krogvold and Tomas Carlström.

Flood easily retells the most important parts of Inferno. In a rhythmic narrative style, which was also common in the Middle Ages, she takes care of the main theme in as well Inferno as in the rest of the Comedy: Dante's (pilgrim's) journey in the hereafter, his journey down into the Inferno, and the journey onwards towards God through Purgatory (Purgatory) and Paradise. The pilgrim learns from what he sees: He flees evil and seeks the good on high.

"But why me?"

Here's a taster from Flood's book. Vergil speaks to Dante in the 2nd canto, a canto that largely summarizes the action in Inferno:

"But Hell has no light.
In the landscape of darkness you must walk.
And you have to experience horror and shudder
before the Paradise you can reach.”

“But why me? Yes, who am I?”
Confused Dante replies.
Vergil back: “Trust me.
I shield you from danger.
Besides, my plan is now laid.

A beautiful soul from Paradise
has whispered: Dante is lost!
Save him, for I am Beatrice!”

Flood's free style seethes with lyrical ingenuity and surprising word choices and turns; for example, the demon holding a poor sinner over boiling pitch in canto 21: “Then, at once, he lets go / his tight roof somewhere. / And while it says swoosh and plop / the soul falls down.”

An entrance

For the "lazy" (cheerful irony) who wants a simple introduction to Dantes Inferno, Flood's book is truly an appetizer. This is, like Morten Pub violence says it in its preface, "an introduction to Dante's great tale". Of course, many details must be sacrificed and shortcuts taken in such a concise book. But these shortcuts are taken with Flood's certainty of style, something even Dante scholars and specialists can enjoy.

See leader of Truls Lie about Dante.

         Dante's Inferno is freely retold by Kristin Flood. Foreword by Morten Krogvold. Introduction by Kristin Flood. Illustrations by Gustave Doré (see pictures).

See also the editions: Erik Ringen's retelling of Inferno (2017), and Asbjørn Bjornes' translation (national language) of Inferno (2018) Purgatory og Paradise will be published in the coming years, where Henrik Syse contributes introductions to Bjornes' translation(s).

Bokvennen also published a Dante translation in 2017.

PS. See also national Library, 9.11.2022,
where Kristin Flood also talks about the work on the book.

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