Illuminations

Loosened Tongues Employed

When the pilgrim Dante and his guide Virgil are about to leave the circle of fraud, they come to a wide, cold plain, whose center drops precipitously to the very bottom of Hell, the icy sinkhole of all evil. In this plain they encounter giants, chained to stone wells, whence they tower from the waist up. Of the five who are named, four are Titans from Greek mythology: Ephialtes, Typhoeus, Briareus, and Antaeus. That last is the one who will, without a word, and rather grudgingly, serve as the elevator to take Dante and Virgil and set them down on the ice far below. The fifth, and the one who defines this strange . . .

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Anthony Esolen is a professor at Magdalen College of the Liberal Arts in Warner, New Hampshire, and the author of many books, including Life Under Compulsion (ISI Books), Real Music: A Guide to the Timeless Hymns of the Church (Tan, with a CD), Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture (Regnery), and The Hundredfold: Songs for the Lord (Ignatius Press, 2019). He has also translated Dante's Divine Comedy (Random House). He is a senior editor of Touchstone.

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