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The most famous of the three canticles that compose The Divine Comedy, "Inferno" describes Dante's descent into Hell midway through his life with Virgil as a guide. As he descends through nine concentric circles of increasingly agonizing torture, Dante encounters doomed souls that include the pagan Aeneas, the liar Odysseus, the suicidal Cleopatra, and his own political enemies, damned for their deceit. Led by leering demons, Dante must ultimately journey with Virgil to the deepest level of all-for it is only by encountering Satan himself, in the heart of Hell, that he can truly understand the tragedy of sin. This version of the classic poem is the translation by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the poem's first American translator.
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Since its U.S. launch in 2003, Hesperus Press has enjoyed a growing reputation for its inspired selection of short classic works. Written by illustrious authors, and often unjustly neglected or simply little known in the English-speaking world, these works have been made accessible via a completely fresh editorial approach and new translations. Now, in addition to the Hesperus Classics, Hesperus Press is introducing a new series: Modern Voices. Drawing from the very best of 20th-century literature, Modern Voices will retain the exceptional quality of the Hesperus Classics, with a new series look that reflects the more modern nature of the list. Among the first authors will be Carlo Levi, Katherine Mansfield, and Graham Greene, and Hesperus has already secured prominent contemporary writers like Anita Desai, William Boyd, and Colum McCann to introduce the books—again retaining one of the key successes of the Hesperus Classics. Finally, 2005 heralds the launch of the Hesperus Contemporary series, opening with The Nightingale Papers, the fiction debut of prize-winning biographer David Nokes.About the Author:
Dante Alighieri (1265–1321) was an Italian poet whose masterpiece The Divine Comedy has exerted a profound influence on Western thought.
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