Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Summer Reading: Inferno (canto 18)

We're at the volume's halfway point! The Eighth Circle is a massive network of trenches, moats, and earthworks called Malebolge (or “Evil Ditches”). Like the demon Geryon in the previous canto, the Malebolge is entirely Dante's creation, and at 13 cantos, it's the single largest corner of Hell in his Inferno. That adds to the sense that Dante is getting more confident in his writing. His metaphors are more robust and his descriptions are more vivid. Traversing the Malebolge, he recognizes pimps, seducers, and flatterers from Florence, while Virgil points out the mythical Jason.

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