Classic Literature | 19 August 2015A Medieval Classic: Dante’s Inferno, Purgatorio And Paradiso Share article facebook twitter google pinterest This unabridged edition of The Divine Comedy includes an introduction by scholar and historian John Lotherington and more than 100 masterful illustrations done by Gustave Doré (1832-1883). In this epic, 14,233-line poem, we follow Dante as he narrates his journey past the gates of hell where the damned live in gruesome terror (Inferno), through the realm in which wayward souls are purified (Purgatorio), finally arriving at heaven (Paradiso) and a vision of God. The Divine Comedy is one of the greatest, most prolific tales of love and betrayal, and has enthralled and inspired poets, writers, artists, animators, composers, and the general public for seven centuries. Featured here are several of Gustave Doré’s intricate hand-carved engravings, accompanied of course by the poesy that inspired them (as translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow). [From Inferno: CANTO I] Midway upon the journey of our life I found myself within a forest dark, For the straightforward pathway had been lost. Ah me! how hard a thing it is to say What was this forest savage, rough, and stern, Which in the very thought renews the fear. So bitter is it, death is little more; But of the good to treat, which there I found, Speak will I of the other things I saw there. I cannot well repeat how there I entered, So full was I of slumber at the moment In which I had abandoned the true way. © Gustave Doré [From Inferno: CANTO XXVIII] But I remained to look upon the crowd; And saw a thing which I should be afraid, Without some further proof, even to recount, If it were not that conscience reassures me, That good companion which emboldens man Beneath the hauberk of its feeling pure. I truly saw, and still I seem to see it, A trunk without a head walk in like manner As walked the others of the mournful herd. And by the hair it held the head dissevered, Hung from the hand in fashion of a lantern, And that upon us gazed and said: “O me!” It of itself made to itself a lamp, And they were two in one, and one in two; How that can be, He knows who so ordains it. © Gustave Doré [From Purgatorio: CANTO IX] When I, who something had of Adam in me, Vanquished by sleep, upon the grass reclined, There were all five of us already sat. Just at the hour when her sad lay begins The little swallow, near unto the morning, Perchance in memory of her former woes, And when the mind of man, a wanderer More from the flesh, and less by thought imprisoned, Almost prophetic in its visions is, In dreams it seemed to me I saw suspended An eagle in the sky, with plumes of gold, With wings wide open, and intent to stoop, And this, it seemed to me, was where had been By Ganymede his kith and kin abandoned, When to the high consistory he was rapt. I thought within myself, perchance he strikes From habit only here, and from elsewhere Disdains to bear up any in his feet. Then wheeling somewhat more, it seemed to me, Terrible as the lightning he descended, And snatched me upward even to the fire. © Gustave Doré [From Purgatorio; CANTO XXIX] Three maidens at the right wheel in a circle Came onward dancing; one so very red That in the fire she hardly had been noted. The second was as if her flesh and bones Had all been fashioned out of emerald; The third appeared as snow but newly fallen. And now they seemed conducted by the white, Now by the red, and from the song of her The others took their step, or slow or swift. Upon the left hand four made holiday Vested in purple, following the measure Of one of them with three eyes in her head. © Gustave Doré [From Paradiso; CANTO XXXI] In fashion then as of a snow-white rose Displayed itself to me the saintly host, Whom Christ in his own blood had made his bride, But the other host, that flying sees and sings The glory of Him who doth enamour it, And the goodness that created it so noble, Even as a swarm of bees, that sinks in flowers One moment, and the next returns again To where its labour is to sweetness turned, Sank into the great flower, that is adorned With leaves so many, and thence reascended To where its love abideth evermore. Their faces had they all of living flame, And wings of gold, and all the rest so white No snow unto that limit doth attain. © Gustave Doré Buy from an Online Retailer In North America: In The UK: Journey through Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso in this stunning gift edition of Dante’s epic poems. The next elegant edition in the Knickerbocker Classic series, The Divine Comedy is unabridged and complete, and comprised of all three sections of this epic trilogy by Dante Alighieri: Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. For Dante fans worldwide, this stunning gift edition has a cloth binding, ribbon marker, and is packaged neatly in an elegant slipcase. Featuring a new introduction, the classic translation by the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), and over one hundred engravings by Gustave Dore, this volume of The Divine Comedy is an indispensable classic for every home library. Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.