“The Divine Comedy” by Dante Alighieri, and translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (2022 edition).
Widely proclaimed to be one of the greatest literary works of all time, Dante Alighieri’s medieval poem takes us on an epic and deeply imaginative journey through the three realms of the afterlife.
It’s the night before Good Friday in 1330, and the pilgrim Dante is lost in the woods when he is attacked by a trio of beasts. The ancient Roman poet Virgil arrives and — after rescuing him from the beasts — sets about rescuing Dante spiritually, too.
Virgil guides Dante through the nine circles of hell (inferno) and the seven terraces of purgatory (purgatorio) in an effort to save his soul and get him back to God. On the way, Dante encounters beasts, sinners and Satan himself.
When he finally escapes, he is met by his beloved Beatrice, who guides him through the nine celestial spheres of heaven (paradiso).
Here, Dante is introduced to virtues instead of sins and encounters several historical and literary greats — as well as hope for his own redemption.