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Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Hell is full of such things

Evil desires, vainly seeking to be gratified, are an ever-burning fire here [in Hell], but to what extent this is true you can scarcely conceive, not knowing how they are inflamed. It is imagination of course to which that horrible office pertains. Even on earth imagination may gain a dangerous ascendancy, but in hell, it wields a terrible sway. It becomes a monster of tyranny here, the soul being its helpless prey. Nothing easier after all than to clothe gloating fancy with a certain amount of reality; bring the conscious will to bear, and you have your desire—after a fashion—the table to glut at, the wine, the dice, the handsome woman you covet. Hell is full of such things. But all is worse than illusion. The crime of Ixion and the fiery wheel of his agony form together a true symbol of the condition of multitudes of the lost.

Letters from Hell, L. W. J. S., Richard Bentley & Son, London, 1889

Ixion precipitated in the UnderworldJules-Élie Delaunay (1828-1891)Museum of Fine Arts of Nantes