Welcome to hell. On Good Friday evening in the year 1300, Dante finds himself lost in a dark and menacing wood. The ghost of Virgil offers to lead him to safety but the path lies through the terrifying kingdom of Satan. On his journey deep into the underworld, Dante crosses paths with both old acquaintances and famous characters from history as he witnesses the strange and gruesome sufferings of the damned. Written while Dante was in exile and under threat of being burned at the stake, this dramatic, frightening and, at times, sardonically humorous vision of hell still has the power to shock and horrify.
Dante Alighieri was born in Florence in 1265. When he was nine years old he met Bice Portinari, the Beatrice who inspires both his first work, La Vita Nuova and The Divine Comedy. Beatrice died in 1290. He had at least three children with his wife Gemma di Manetto Donati. His involvement in politics in Florence led to his exile in 1302 and he eventually settled in Ravenna where he died in 1321. Steve Ellis, Professor in English at the University of Birmingham, was born and brought up in York, and studied in Florence as part of his doctorate for London University. His frustration as a student with existing translations of Dante spurred a long-lasting desire to translate it himself. His critical works include Dante and English Poetry: Shelley to T.S. Eliot and a study of Eliot's Four Quartets.A major Gregory Award winner, he has also published two books of poetry, Home and Away and West Pathway.