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Dante's Purgatorio by Philip Terry PRE-ORDER

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Published 31st October 2024. Available for pre-order.

A sequel to Philip Terry’s Dante’s Inferno (2014), where Dante relocates to the University of Essex, here the action shifts from Dante’s Island of Purgatory to Mersea Island, in Essex still. Dante’s Virgil is substituted with Ted Berrigan as guide. The poet and Berrigan climb a mountain made out of Flexible Rock Substitute (FRS). Dante’s artists are replaced with contemporary artists and artists-in-residence on the Essex Alp, including Grayson Perry, Rachel Whiteread and Damien Hirst. Hirst, an example of pride, is encountered not carrying a rock on his back, as in Dante, but carrying a washing-machine, a Siemens Avantgarde, which runs through its spin-cycle as he carries it. Other characters encountered include Christopher Marlowe, Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage, John Paul Getty, Hilary Clinton, Allen Ginsberg, Samuel Beckett, Martin McGuinness, Ezra Pound and Ciaran Carson. On the final terrace, the poet, accompanied by Berrigan and poet Tim Atkins, passes through a wall of flames to reach Dante’s Paradise, here modelled on the Eden Project, where the poet meets his Beatrice, Marina Warner. The poem comes to a climax with an interview with Marina Warner in the LRB Tent, followed by a gig from the Pogues, for which Shane MacGowan has been brought up from Hell on an Arts Council ‘Exceptional Talent’ scheme.

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