Kim Paffenroth, “Valley of the Dead (The Truth Behind Dante’s Inferno)” (2010)

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“For seventeen years of his life, the whereabouts of the medieval Italian poet Dante Alighieri is unknown to modern scholars. All we know is that during this time, he traveled as an exile across Europe, while working on his epic poem, The Divine Comedy. In his masterpiece he describes a journey through the three realms of the afterlife. The volume describing hell, Inferno, is the most famous of the the three.
Valley of the Dead is the real story behind Inferno. In his wanderings, Dante stumbles on a zombie infestation, and the things he sees there–people being devoured, burned alive, boiled in pitch, torn apart by dogs, eviscerated, impaled, crucified, etc.–become the basis of all the horrors he describes in Inferno. Afraid to be labeled a madman, Dante made the terrors he witnessed into a more ‘believable’ account of an otherworldly adventure with demons and mythological monsters, but now the real story can finally be told.” [. . .]     —Author Bob Freeman

Contributed by Kim Paffenroth