Dante’s Divine Comedy | Seymour Chwast

I enjoyed every minute of Chwast’s take on Dante’s Divine Comedy. He managed to adapt and distill a masterpiece without exploiting or dumbing it down.

At 128 pages, this whirlwind tour that takes you through a Canto or two per page. Even so, the drama doesn’t feel rushed. In fact, if you’re planning on reading the original it would be worthwhile to leave this volume open beside it to keep you grounded in the flow of the narrative.

There were many opportunities for a graphic artist to exploit the imagery. I mean, where else do you read about people swimming in pools of excrement as poop rains down from the sky? Chwast’s economic style fairly evoked the imagery without degenerating into crassness. (I can only imagine what would have happened if Crumb tried to do this!)

This was my first encounter with Seymour Chwast’s art. It will not be my last.

Disclaimer: A review copy of this book was provided at no cost through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer’s program.

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