The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl
A Novel

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Synopsis

A New York Times Bestseller
Words can bleed.

In 1865 Boston, the literary geniuses of the Dante Club—poets and Harvard professors Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, and James Russell Lowell, along with publisher J. T. Fields—are finishing America’s first translation of The Divine Comedy and preparing to unveil Dante’s remarkable visions to the New World. The powerful Boston Brahmins at Harvard College are fighting to keep Dante in obscurity, believing that the infiltration of foreign superstitions into American minds will prove as corrupting as the immigrants arriving at Boston Harbor.

The members of the Dante Club fight to keep a sacred literary cause alive, but their plans fall apart when a series of murders erupts through Boston and Cambridge. Only this small group of scholars realizes that the gruesome killings are modeled on the descriptions of Hell’s punishments from Dante’s Inferno. With the lives of the Boston elite and Dante’s literary future in America at stake, the Dante Club members must find the killer before the authorities discover their secret.

Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes and an outcast police officer named Nicholas Rey, the first black member of the Boston police department, must place their careers on the line to end the terror. Together, they discover that the source of the murders lies closer to home than they ever could have imagined.

The Dante Club is a magnificent blend of fact and fiction, a brilliantly realized paean to Dante’s continued grip on our imagination, and a captivating thriller that will surprise readers from beginning to end.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Matthew Pearl

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Matthew Pearl is the New York Times bestselling author of The Dante Club and the editor of the Modern Library editions of Dante's Inferno (translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) and Edgar Allan Poe's The Murders in the Rue Morgue: The Dupin Tales. The Dante Club has been published in more than thirty languages and forty countries around the world. Pearl is a graduate of Harvard University and Yale Law School and has taught literature at Harvard and at Emerson College. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He can be reached via his website, www.matthewpearl.com.To schedule a speaking engagement, please contact American Program Bureau at www.apbspeakers.com From the Hardcover edition.
 
Published February 4, 2003 by Random House. 464 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Crime. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Dante Club

Kirkus Reviews

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Crucial clues to the killer’s identity lurk in information possessed by a “disgraced” professor, entomological research performed by botanist Louis Agassiz, a series of sermons attended by wounded Civil War veterans, and standing evidence (so to speak) of the notorious Fugitive Slave Law.

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Publishers Weekly

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Audio reviews reflect PW's assessment of the audio adaptation of a book and should be quoted only in reference to the audio version.Fiction

Feb 03 2003 | Read Full Review of The Dante Club: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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A starred or boxed review indicates a book of outstanding quality. A review with a blue-tinted title indicates a book of exceptional importance that hasn't received a st

Oct 07 2002 | Read Full Review of The Dante Club: A Novel

The Guardian

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The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl Vintage £6.99, pp388 Not since Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose has a literary novel of such scholarly density enjoyed international success on quite such a massive scale, but Matthew Pearl's debut The Dante Club, already a bestseller in the US and due to be publ...

Dec 21 2003 | Read Full Review of The Dante Club: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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Audio reviews reflect PW's assessment of the audio adaptation of a book and should be quoted only in reference to the audio version.FictionTHE DANTE CLUB: A NovelMatthew Pearl, read by Boyd Gaines.

Mar 02 2003 | Read Full Review of The Dante Club: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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The detective story is well plotted, and Pearl's recreation of the contentious world of mid-19th–century academia is engrossing, even though some of its more ambitious elements—like an examination of intellectual hypocrisy and insularity in the Ivy League—are somewhat clunky.

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Book Reporter

In 1867 Dante Alighieri's THE DIVINE COMEDY was almost banned in Boston.

Jan 21 2011 | Read Full Review of The Dante Club: A Novel

AV Club

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After a start that promises to tether Dante's metaphysical torments with the grit of urban Boston and the lives of American intellectual giants, Pearl settles for simply keeping the pages turning.

Mar 12 2003 | Read Full Review of The Dante Club: A Novel

Suite 101

With two other unsolved murders and racial tension rising, is this town still a safe haven?

Dec 29 2009 | Read Full Review of The Dante Club: A Novel

BookPage

Matthew Pearl, 26, a recent Yale Law School grad, became fascinated with Dante's work while at Harvard, where he earned the Dante Society of America's prestigious Dante Prize in 1998.

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https://bookpage.com

Matthew Pearl, 26, a recent Yale Law School grad, became fascinated with Dante's work while at Harvard, where he earned the Dante Society of America's prestigious Dante Prize in 1998.

Apr 20 2016 | Read Full Review of The Dante Club: A Novel

MostlyFiction Book Reviews

If Milton tries to “justify the ways of God to Man,” and Dante might be said on some level to justify the ways of Man to God, Pearl is perhaps trying to justify the ways of Man to Man.

Jun 30 2011 | Read Full Review of The Dante Club: A Novel

ReviewingtheEvidence.com

THE DANTE CLUB is a remarkable work by an author with impeccable credentials.

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The Copperfield Review

Fields, are part of the Dante Club, a group are translating Dante Aligheri’s Divine Comedy for publication.

May 09 2012 | Read Full Review of The Dante Club: A Novel

Reader Rating for The Dante Club
65%

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