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Hell in Contemporary LiteratureWestern Descent Narratives since 1945$
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Rachel Falconer

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780748617630

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748617630.001.0001

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Introduction: Descent and Return — the katabatic imagination

Introduction: Descent and Return — the katabatic imagination

(p.1) Introduction: Descent and Return — the katabatic imagination
Hell in Contemporary Literature

Rachel Falconer

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter introduces the concept of Hell and the ‘katabatic imagination’, which is a worldview that conceives of selfhood as the narrative construct of an infernal journey and return. It identifies Dante Alighieri as the most influential katabatic writer on contemporary Western literature, and looks at the development of the katabatic narrative from the classical period to modern times. Several descent narratives are presented in the final section of the chapter.

Keywords:   Hell, katabatic imagination, Dante Alighieri, katabatic writer, Western literature, katabatic narrative, descent narrative

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