Written between 1308 and 1321, this evocative, moving and often startling epic poem is widely considered to be the last great work of medieval literature and the first great work of the Renaissance - straddling two worlds on the brink of change. As one of the world's enduring literary heavyweights, its profound Christian message and detailed social and political commentary of fourteenth-century Italy weave a rich tapestry of interpretation, meaning and symbolism. Dante's allegorical analysis of the mystery of divine revelation to the unsuspecting human soul is beautifully conveyed as a subtle journey of wonder and self- discovery, made personal by character (and sinners) drawn from his own lineage, contemporary Florentine life, mythology and the Bible. From the pilgrim's deepening insight into the workings of evil and moral choice (Hell) through to the dramatization of the nature and purpose of moral conversion (Purgatory) to the blissfully mystical ascent before God (Paradise), Dante's cosmic vision remains unparalleled. With 135 illustrations by Gustave Doré.
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