The System of Dante's Hell
About the Book
--New York Times Book Review
"A fevered and impressionistic riff on the struggles of blacks in the urban North and rural South, as told through the prism of The Inferno....Other writers addressed race more directly, but for all its linguistic slipperiness, Baraka's language conveys the feelings of fear, violation, and fury with a surprising potency. A pungent and lyrical portrait of mid-'60s black protest."
With a new introduction by Woodie King Jr.
This 1965 novel is a remarkable narrative of childhood and youth, structured on the themes of Dante's Inferno: violence, incontinence, fraud, treachery. With a poet's skill Baraka creates the atmosphere of hell, and with dramatic power he reconstructs the brutality of the black slums of Newark, a small Southern town, and New York City. The episodes contained within the novel represent both states of mind and states of the soul--lyrical, fragmentary, and allusive.