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Contrast : heaven

19th century French poet Arthur Rimbaud alluded to the concept of hell in the title and themes of one of his major works, "A Season In Hell". Rimbaud's poetry portrays his own suffering in a poetic form. [Jul 2006]

The idea of hell was highly influential to Jean-Paul Sartre who authored the play "No Exit" about the idea that, "hell is other people". Although not a religious man, Sartre was fascinated by his interpretation of a hellish state of suffering. [Jul 2006]

Non fiction with hell in title: Hell (1908) - Henri Barbusse - Eros in Hell (1988)

The Last Judgement (detail) (1467-71) - Hans Memling


Hell is, according to many religious beliefs about the afterlife, a place of torment, of great weeping and gnashing of teeth. The English word 'hell' comes from Old English 'Hel', which originally referred to the goddess of the underworld.

In most religions' concept of hell, evildoers will suffer eternally in hell after their death or they will pay for their bad deeds in hell before reincarnations.

In monotheistic religions, hell is simply ruled by demons. In polytheistic religions, the politics of hell could be as complicated as human politics. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hell, Apr 2004


According to some Roman Catholics, limbo describes the temporary status of the souls of good persons who died before the resurrection of Jesus (the Limbo of the Fathers), and the permanent status of the unbaptized who die in infancy, without having committed any personal sins, but without having been freed from original sin (the Limbo of Children).

Limbo comes from the latin limbus meaning a hem or an edge or a boundary. While "limbo" is often popularly understood to be a "place where souls go", the term also describes and reflects theological uncertainty. As such, the limbo of children is not part of the Catholic religion's official doctrine (compare purgatory, which is a part of Roman Catholic doctrine). Official Church teaching remains that the status of these souls (who don't seem to deserve hell, yet cannot follow the divinely-revealed path to heaven) is in limbo in other words, their fate cannot be determined by any but God. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limbo [Jul 2006]

Dante's Hell [...]

Later Western Christian scholars speculated that Hell is an underground place, presumably derived from the idea of the Sheol, and referred to as the lower part of the universe under the Earth's ground. The details as proposed in Dante's Commedia or Divine Comedy are perhaps the pinnacle of literary speculation; it is from his work that the phrase "Abandon all hope, you who enter" originated. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hell#More_on_the_history_and_description_of_Hell_in_Christianity [Nov 2004]

"L'enfer, c'est les autres"

During the 1940s and 1950s Sartre's ideas remained much in vogue, and existentialism became a favoured philosophy of the beatnik generation. Sartre's views were counterposed to those of Albert Camus in the popular imagination. In 1948, the Vatican placed his complete works on the Index of prohibited books. Most of his plays are richly symbolic and serve as a means of conveying his philosophy. The best-known, Huis-clos (No Exit), contains the famous line: "L'enfer, c'est les autres", usually translated as "Hell, is the others" (as in Other people). --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Paul_Sartre#Sartre_and_literature [May 2005]

see also: Sartre - hell

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