Despite the beckoning sun, people flocked this Whit Sunday to Mayflower Bookshop, where poet and performer Leo van Zanen gave the first lecture in the ‘Great Books’ series.

Starting by sketching the world in which D(ur)ante Alighieri grew up, lived and loved, Van Zanen took the fascinated audience on Dante’s travels through Hell, Purgatory and Heaven with famous poet Virgil as his guide. The poem discusses “the state of the soul after death and presents an image of divine justice meted out as due punishment or reward”.

Van Zanen concluded his lecture by talking on the importance of La Divina Commedia and its influence on both art and world literature through the ages. The mesmerized audience asked questions on both the form and contents of the poem, showing that Dante’s work is still very much appreciated by 21st century readers!

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