Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Top 10 dead bodies in literature

Jon McGregor is the author of the critically acclaimed If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things and So Many Ways to Begin. He is the winner of the Betty Trask Prize and the Somerset Maugham Award, and has been twice longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. He was born in Bermuda in 1976. He grew up in Norfolk and now lives in Nottingham.

His latest novel is Even the Dogs.

For the Guardian, he named his top ten dead bodies in literature--"stories of lost lives that coalesce around a 'central absence.'"

One entry on the list:
Inferno: The Divine Comedy by Dante Aligheri

To the modern mind, with its adherence to progress and change, the idea of death as leading to a state of perpetuity is properly terrifying. And there's no better exponent of this terror than Dante, surely, with his strange guided tour through scenes of boiling tar and flayed skins. The doomed souls who profess that, "cut off from hope, we live on desire" represent, for me, the authentically heroic voice of all those who, in impossible circumstances, fight on.
Read about another book on the list.

Inferno appears on John Mullan's list of ten of the best visions of hell in literature and Peter Stanford's list of the ten best devils in film and literature; The Divine Comedy is one of George Weigel's five essential books for understanding Christianity.

--Marshal Zeringue