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Anthony Esolen is a professor of English at Providence College. He is the author of Peppers, a book of poetry, and his translations include Lucretius’s De rerum natura and Torquato Tasso’s Gerusalemme liberata, along with Dante’s Inferno and Purgatory, published by the Modern Library.
Dante Alighieri was born in Florence in 1256. He entered public life in 1295, later becoming one of the six governing magistrates of Florence. He repeatedly opposed the machinations of Pope Boniface VIII, who was attempting to place all of Tuscany under Papal rule, and in 1301 was banished from Florence. Dante would never again enter his native city, spending his remaining years with a series of patrons in various Italian courts. He completed The Divine Comedy shortly before his death in 1321. Gustave Doré (1832-83) was one of the most popular and prolific French illustrators of the mid 19th century.