Describing Dante’s descent into Hell with Virgil as a guide, Inferno depicts a cruel underworld in which desperate figures are condemned to eternal damnation for committing one or more of seven deadly sins. As he descends through nine concentric circles of increasingly agonising torture, Dante encounters many doomed souls before he is finally ready to meet the ultimate evil in the heart of Hell: Satan himself.
Among the greatest works of world literature, this prodigious narrative, composed by the poet Ferdowsi in the late 10th century, tells the story of pre-Islamic Iran, beginning in the mythic time of creation and continuing forward to the Arab invasion in the 7th century.
Caroline Mawer, Writer and Researcher, Caroline Mawer (author website)
Caroline says: ‘This epic poem is a mix of myth and history, telling the early history of Iran. I had to include this ‘mirror for princes’: a series of stories for princes (and maybe you too) to learn from, while reading about love and conquests. The first half (or so) has lots of clever, multicultural princesses – the only thing the princes and kings have to do is listen to the smart women. Sadly, the men don’t all manage to do even this! Lots of Iranians know and love lots of these stories – I would suggest dipping in and out, rather than starting at the beginning and struggiing right through. The best translation is this one by Dick Davis.’