The Penguin Book of Hell

The Penguin Book of Hell

by Scott G. Bruce


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"From the Bible through Dante and up to Treblinka and Guantánamo Bay, here is a rich source for nightmares." —The New York Times Book Review

Three thousand years of visions of Hell, from the ancient Near East to modern America

From the Hebrew Bible's shadowy realm of Sheol to twenty-first-century visions of Hell on earth, The Penguin Book of Hell takes us through three thousand years of eternal damnation. Along the way, you'll take a ferry ride with Aeneas to Hades, across the river Acheron; meet the Devil as imagined by a twelfth-century Irish monk—a monster with a thousand giant hands; wander the nine circles of Hell in Dante's Inferno, in which gluttons, liars, heretics, murderers, and hypocrites are made to endure crime-appropriate torture; and witness the debates that raged in Victorian England when new scientific advances cast doubt on the idea of an eternal hereafter. Drawing upon religious poetry, epics, theological treatises, stories of miracles, and accounts of saints' lives, this fascinating volume of hellscapes illuminates how Hell has long haunted us, in both life and death.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143131625
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/04/2018
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 366,667
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Scott G. Bruce (editor) is the editor of The Penguin Book of the Undead and the author of three books about the abbey of Cluny. He is a professor of history at Fordham University in New York City. He worked his way through college as a grave digger.

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The Penguin Book of Hell

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Table of Contents

Introduction Scott G. Bruce xiii

Suggestions for Further Reading xvii

Acknowledgments xix

The Penguin Book Of Hell

Realms Forbidden to the Living: Ancient Greece and Rome

Tartarus, Prison of the Titans: From Hesiod's Theogony 7

Netherworld Megafauna: From Seneca's The Madness of Heracles 12

Odysseus at Death's Door: From Homer's Odyssey 15

Socrates Ponders the Punishment of Souls: From Plato's Phaedo 19

Into the Realm of Shadows: From Virgil's Aeneid 22

Early Christian Hellscapes (c. 100-500 ce)

The Fire and the Worm: From the Apocalypse of Paul 37

The Rich Man and Lazarus: From the Gospel of Luke 45

Death's Defeat: The Harrowing of Hell from the Gospel of Nicodemus 47

On the Lip of the Abyss: The Early Middle Ages (c. 500-1000 ce)

Beyond the Black River: From the Dialogues of Gregory the Great 61

Behold, the Fire Draws Near Me: From Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People 65

Dryhthelm Returns from the Dead: From Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People 68

The Island of the Fire Giants: From The Voyage of Saint Brendan 75

Into the Deepest Dark: The Vision of Tundale (c. 1150)

Welcome to Hell 85

The Punishment Fits the Crime 88

The Great Below 102

Teaching the Torments: The High Middle Ages (c. 1000-1300)

Lessons in Horror: From the Elucidarius of Honorius of Autun 113

Preaching Pain: From a Medieval Priest's Manual 115

Three Tales of Torment: From Caesarius's Dialogue on Miracles 118

Warnings from Beyond the Grave: From Caesarius's Dialogue on Miracles 125

The Abominable Fancy: From Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologica 130

Abandon All Hope: Dante's Inferno (c. 1320)

Through the Gates of Hell 141

The Filthy Fen 147

The Boiling Blood 149

The Forest of the Suicides 155

Trapped Under Ice 161

A Heartbreaking Consort of Woes: Early Modern Afterlives (c. 1500-1700)

The Sharp Pangs of a Wounded Conscience: From a Sermon by William Dawes 171

Into That Eternal Furnace: From Giovanni Pietro Pinamonti's Hell Opened to Christians to Caution Them from Entering into It 179

A Living Death Shall Feed upon Them: From John Bunyan's The Resurrection of the Dead and Eternall Judgement 193

The Dread of Hell Peoples Heaven: The Nineteenth Century

Hell for Children: From John Furniss's The Sight of Hell 201

A Place at Odds with Mercy: From Austin Holyoake's Heaven & Hell: Where Situated? 222

Hell of Our Own Making: The Twentieth Century and Beyond

The Death Factories: From Vasily Grossman's "The Hell of Treblinka" 233

Fire in the Sky: From the "Testimony of Yoshitaka Kawamoto" 240

The Sum of Suffering: From William Blake's "A Sentence Worse Than Death" 244

Guantánamo Mixtape: Music from American Detention Camps 253

Notes 255

Index 269

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