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Inferno (Modern Library Classics)

Inferno - Dante Alighieri, Anthony Esolen I will start off admitting this was a difficult read for me, but I love the audacity of the premise. Talk about the power of the press! Dante sets himself up as Supreme Judge and proceeds to populate Hell with all the characters he's ever taken a burn to. The architecture of Hell is set up in concentric circles, containing progressively more ignoble inhabitants, and more harsh sentences, as the narrator moves towards the center. On the outside: merely those unfortunate souls born too early to hear of Christ and thus receive his gift of eternal salvation. (an appropriate belief for Dante's time and place) Further in, one meets liars, adulterers, idolators, select politicians, and those who sow discord and discontent. There is a cameo from the Roman poet Virgil, which is odd and interesting... If anybody can enlighten me as to the connection between Dante and Virgil, please comment below, since I feel I must be missing something! I enjoyed the book best when reading it for historical context, shedding light on the mentality of Florence in the 1400's. By all accounts, the original Italian language "Inferno" is widely regarded as sublime. Most Italians read it in high school and college, and as a nation, they seem to have selected this work as the most exalted and beloved in their literary pantheon; similar to how Germans view "Faust", or Japanese view "The Tale of Genji".