Madison U. Sowell was a professor of Italian and comparative literature at BYU when this was written and was serving as the president of the Italy Milan Mission. He was born and reared in Piggott, Arkansas. He has published widely in his own discipline, in particular on Dante, and has also written for more general audiences, including for Church publications. Dr. Sowell has been active as a leader in the Rocky Mountain Medieval and Renaissance Association and has served as an editor of its journal. He was chair of the Department of French and Italian from 1989 to 1998, when he was called as mission president. He has also chaired the Faculty General Education Council and served on the University Strategic Planning and Self-Study Committee. He has received honors from colleagues and students alike for his teaching skills. Dr. Sowell and his wife, Debra, are the parents of two daughters.