Italian literature in translation

Alasdair Gray gives us a vivid new Paradiso

As every Italian schoolchild knows, The Divine Comedy opens in a supernatural dark wood just before sunrise on Good Friday 1300. Dante Alighieri, a figure in his own work, has lost his way in middle age and is alone and frightened in the darkness. The ghost of the Roman poet Virgil is about to show him Hell: Midway in the journey of our life I found myself in a dark wood, for the right path was lost. Begun in the early 14th century, Dante’s poem is, for many, the greatest single work of western literature. With its dramatic chiaroscuro of hellish fuming mists and paradisal stellar regions, the poem is