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An Irish Dante

The Five Quintets by micheal o’siadhail baylor, 381 pages, $34.95 Sartre famously wrote that “hell is other people,” but for the poet Micheal O’Siadhail, hell is a highly specific group of other people. Among the damned are Franz Kafka, Karl Marx, and—you guessed it—a certain . . . . Continue Reading »

Briefly Noted

Inside the Mind of Thomas More:  The Witness of His Writings by louis w. karlin and david r. oakley scepter, 130 pages, $11.95 This little volume by Louis ­Karlin and David Oakley uses Thomas More’s own writings to demonstrate the nature of his witness to the truth. The authors gently . . . . Continue Reading »

Virtuous Evildoers

At the end of Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar, Brutus and ­Cassius, the conspirators who had assassinated Caesar, are themselves dead. Brutus has, in fact, fallen upon his sword rather than face capture by the armies of Octavius and Mark Antony. Brutus was bad enough to betray and murder a . . . . Continue Reading »

Out of a Dark Wood

How Dante Can Save Your Life: The Life-Changing Wisdom of History’s Greatest Poem
  by rod dreher 
 regan, 320 pages, $29.95 In 2011, Rod Dreher returns to his hometown in West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, after years living elsewhere in pursuit of a (highly successful) journalistic . . . . Continue Reading »

Dante's Heavenly Idealism

The great French historian Jacques Le Goff credited Dante with doing more than any theologian to make purgatory a meaningful part of Christian tradition, and, more recently, Jon M. Sweeney has argued that Dante practically invented the modern idea of hell. Whatever the merits of these claims, I would like to suggest that Dante exercised a similar influence on the Christian understanding of heaven—and that this influence is not what Dante’s many modern devotees might suspect. Continue Reading »

The Poetry of Paradise

Paradiso by dante alighieri translated by robert and jean hollander doubleday, 944 pages, $40 With the publication of Paradiso, Robert and Jean Hollander have completed their landmark translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy, begun with the Inferno in 2000 and followed by Purgatorio in 2003. Reading . . . . Continue Reading »

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