Dante’s Inferno

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Dante’s ‘Inferno’ - a medieval journey through the nine circles of Hell. “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here”. This famous phrase is written above the gate of Hell in a 14th century poem by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri. The poem is called the ‘Divine Comedy’ and Hell is known as ‘Dante’s Inferno’. It is a lurid vision of the afterlife complete with severed heads, cruel and unusual punishments and devils in frozen lakes. But the inferno is much more than a trip into the macabre - it is a map of medieval spirituality, a treasure house of early renaissance learning, a portrait of 14th century Florence, and an acute study of human psychology. It is also one of the greatest poems ever written.

Play on BBC Sounds website


  • Margaret Kean 2 episodes
    University Lecturer in English and College Fellow at St Hilda's College, University of Oxford
  • John Took No other episodes
    Professor of Dante Studies at University College London
  • Claire Honess No other episodes
    Senior Lecturer in Italian at the University of Leeds and Co-Director of the Leeds Centre for Dante Studies

Related episodes

Programme ID: b00f05zj

Episode page: bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00f05zj

Auto-category: 800 (Literature)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. Abandon hope or ye who enter here.