Dante (1265–1321) is the greatest of Italian poets, and his Divine Comedy is the finest of all Christian allegories.
Guided by the poet Virgil, Dante plunges to the very depths of Hell and embarks on his arduous journey towards God. Together they descend through the twenty-four circles of the underworld and encounter the tormented souls of the damned – from heretics and pagans to gluttons, criminals and seducers – who tell of their sad fates and predict events still to come in Dante's life. In this first part of his Divine Comedy, Dante fused satire and humour with intellect and soaring passion to create an immortal Christian allegory of mankind's search for self-knowledge and spiritual enlightenment.
Translated by and introduced by Dorothy L. Sayers.