"Midway upon the journey of our life I found myself within a forest dark, for the straightforward pathway had been lost" is the opening line to this story.
This edition of Dante Alighieri's masterpiece 'The Divine Comedy' is an extremely well made book that tells the story of Dante's pilgrimage through Hell, Purgatory and Paradise. Trying to find the meaning behind the work is no small feet; you can try and interpret the meaning of letter or what the letter signifies.
This book is famous in modern culture for defining nine levels of hell and using the seven deadly sins.
In the begining Dante is guided by the famous poet Virgil (author of the Aeneid) who escorts Dante through Hell and Purgatory. As Dante a reaches the top of Purgatory, he joined by Beatrice his unrequited love in life (mentioned heavily in Dante's book `La Vita Nuova") who takes him through the celestial realm of paradise.
The book contains additional images from the famous illustrator Gustave Doré who gives justice to Dante's work with imagery based around Dante's journey. Many of these images display the full horror (and violence) of what Dante sees, such as Bertram De Born who displays his own severed head to Dante and Virgil. Gustave also matches the pace of how the journey unfolds, as the characters journey through Purgatory and Paradise the imagery becomes more and more heavenly and gives a real instance of what such blissful places could be like.
This story uses many persons from real life as well more legendary characters such as Tristan, Isolde, Achilles, Ulysses, Nimrod, Antaeus, Brutus etc. The background stories of many of these characters is hardly common knowledge (especially Dante's own personal acquaintances) and I often found myself using the internet in order to find out who these people were, in order to understand why Dante chose to place them in this level of Hell, Purgatory or Paradise. This story gives good examples of the best and worst examples of humanity and conveys the notion of action and consequence and there effects on the human soul
This book is top notch and uses a good translation. This translation isn't easy but I have read harder editions so I would recommend this to anyone who are seriously interested in reading Dante! A good collectors item as well!