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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 216

The Dante Club, by Mathew Pearl, is a book about writing an American translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy against the wishes of others at Harvard College. Some at the college believed that Americans reading Dante will only encourage superstition. There is a combination of true and fictional elements in the story.

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There are some dramatic quotes in the book, as is fitting for a story about something like Dante’s Inferno, including this one:

He was outwardly calm but inwardly bleeding to death.

And, of course, there are plenty of quotes about Dante directly, like this one:

Do not ask what brings Dante to man but what brings man to Dante—to personally enter his sphere, though it is forever severe and unforgiving.

Certainly, it makes sense to talk about Dante and Divine Comedy in such a way, since it is a story about dying and the afterlife.

In this same vein, there’s the prominent quote that goes,

Yes, we rather condemn people for eternity without the courtesy of informing them.

Another insight into Dante that is important in the book is about how Hell in the Divine Comedy bears a striking resemblance to the real world. The way this was put was,

We sound the depths of Hell very often in this life.

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