Karen's Reviews > The Dante Club

The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl
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's review
Jun 06, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: historical-fiction, mystery, books-about-books
Read from July 23 to 24, 2012

Pearl uses his expertise as a scholar to create a mystery set around Longfellow's translation of The Inferno. Longfellow runs around with historical figures Holmes, Green and Lowell in an attempt to discover who is killing some of Boston's elite by staging the bodies to reflect various contrapasso tortures as depicted in Dante's Inferno.

As someone who taught college writing and literature for a couple of decades, I was enchanted by the novel's ability to make literary criticism a matter of life and death. Pearl also gives us a peak into some of the practical and political challenges faced by editors, scholars, and writers during the Civil War Era. Other characters include pastors, a judge, policemen, a Pinkerton detective, street criminals, socialites, and soldiers. Also look for cameo appearances or mentions of Emerson, Thoreau, and Howells.

This book was fun and informative. When I finished, I wanted to ask my teacher for some extra credit points based on what I learned.

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