Matthew Pearl ‘00 author of The Dante Club: A Novel will be a guest speaker in concert with the exhibit currently in the Law Library Reading Room, An Exhibition of Yale Law School Past & Present Student Authorship October 2014–February 2015. Matthew Pearl, author of The Dante Club: A Novel as well as, The Technologists: A Novel, The Poe Shadow: A Novel, and the Last Dickens: A Novel will speak about how the story behind writing The Dante Club involves being at the Yale Law School with people and places there influencing how it came together. Commentary by Noah Messing, Lecturer in the Practice of Law and Legal Writing.
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.