MIDDLE TEMPLE LIBRARY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MIDDLE TEMPLE LIBRARY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Dante's Inferno. Canto I, lines 1-2: 'In the midway of this our mortal life, I [Dante] found me in a gloomy wood, astray'. Italian poet Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) wrote his epic poem 'Divina Commedia' (The Divine Comedy) between 1308 and his death in 1321. Totalling 14,233 lines, and divided into three parts (Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso), it is considered the greatest literary work in the Italian language and a world masterpiece. It is a comprehensive survey of medieval theology, literature and thought. Artwork by French artist Gustave Dore (1832-1883); engraving from 'The Vision of Hell' (1868), Henry Francis Cary's English translation of the Inferno.
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