In Paradise, having plunged to the uttermost depths of Hell and climbed the Mount of Purgatory, Dante ascends to Heaven, continuing his soul's search for God, guided by his beloved Beatrice. As he progresses through the spheres of Paradise he grows in understanding, until he finally experiences divine love in the radiant presence of the deity. Examining eternal questions of faith, desire and enlightenment, Dante exercised all his learning and wit, wrath and tenderness in his creation of one of the greatest of all Christian allegories.
Dante Alighieri was born in Florence in 1265 and belonged to a noble but impoverished family. He was married when he was around twenty to Gemma Donati and had four children. He met Beatrice, who was to be his muse, in 1274, and when she died in 1290 he sought distraction in philosophy and theology, and wrote La Vita Nuova. He worked on the Divine Comedy from 1308 until near the time of his death in Ravenna in 1321. Dorothy L. Sayers wrote novels, poetry, and translated Dante for the Penguin Classics. She died in 1957. Barbara Reynolds was Lecturer in Italian at Cambridge University and subsequently Reader in Italian Studies at Nottingham, and Honorary Reader at Warwick. She has written books, both on Italian authors and on Dorothy L. Sayers.