Dante’s Inferno: The 1911 Silent Movie

Have you ever read Dante’s Divine Comedy? It is a three-part book-length Italian narrative poem that tells of Dante’s journey through the Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso, and it’s considered one of the greatest works of Italian and world literature. What could have led to such a masterpiece being featured in one of the earliest silent movies created?

An artist's depiction of Dante and his poem, The Divine Comedy.

Dante and His Poem by Domenico di Michelino, 1465. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

This happened because when the movie industry was young, moviemakers turned to literary classics to find stories to tell. Even as a silent film, Dante’s Inferno offered plenty of drama to thrill moviegoers, so it was one of the earliest stories filmed.

La Divina Commedia (1911) – World’s Oldest Surviving Feature-Length Film – Alighieri L’inferno

You will encounter Dante’s work in Module 4 of Excellence in Literature’s E5: World Literature. You may also enjoy the article below.

Approaching the Divine Comedy by Stacy Esch

Other World Literature (E5) videos