Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Summer Reading: Inferno (canto 21)

Part one of a two-canto arc. At the Malebolge's fifth ditch, winged demons use hooks to snag & torture the unfortunate souls who lift their heads out of burning pitch. It's a folk vision of Hell, especially the runty, farting demons with ugly Italian names like Scarmiglione. Their captain tells Virgil that one of the stone bridges which span the Malebolge collapsed 1266 years ago (that's 34 AD, when the Crucifixion caused an earthquake). A squad of demons are appointed to guide them through. Dante, never a courageous tourist, thinks an escort is a bad idea…

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