The Divine Comedy
By Dante Alighieri
Published in 1320
Thibault’s Score: 4/5
Dante’s Divine Comedy is one of the most celebrated pieces of Christian literature, perhaps second only to the bible. It was written by Dante Alighieri, a Florentine politician in the early 1300s.
It is an absolutely massive poem, divided into 99 cantos. The first 33 deal with Dante’s journey through hell, the next with his passage through purgatory, and the final section ends with Dante going to heaven.
In many ways, the publication of the Divine Comedy can be seen as one of the moments when Europe passed from the Middle Ages into the Renaissance.
I really like the values that Dante promotes. What is fascinating is that the characters in heaven, purgatory, and hell all mirror each other - and none are perfect. Every single character is a sinner in some way. For example, Dante meets two women who cheated on their husbands in hell and in purgatory respectively. What makes the difference is that the woman in purgatory worked hard to repent for her sins.
Dante’s Divine Comedy is excellent. It is a must read for just about anyone, although I recommend doing so accompanied by a course or with a heavily annotated version. I only appreciated the book as much as much as I did because I also took a course in parallel.
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