The answer to "is hell a literal place of torture" is, in my experience at least, that no orthodox scholar ever disagreed that that is the case; if you find one I'd like to know.
There is a book "Islam and the Fate of Others: The Salvation Question" by Mohammad Hassan Khalil that deals with the fate of non-muslims according to selected muslim scholars (ibn Arabi, al-Ghazali, ibn Taymiyyah, Muhammad Rashid Rida, and I think Sayyid Qutb is briefly mentioned - the last of these is of course not a scholar); Khalil was a Ph.D. student of Sherman Jackson, a quite respected American scholar. Khalil's book discusses what hell is like in the thought of the covered figures alongside somewhat detailed discussions regarding the fate of non-muslims.
While the book does not concern itself with the very dominant orthodox position - which is and has always been that hell is eternal, and eternally painful as well - it does cover ibn Arabi's notion that while it is eternal, its inhabitants will come to enjoy being there; al-Ghazali's orthodox position that it is eternal suffering, but a somewhat optimistic position on how many people will burn; ibn Taymiyyah's position that hell must eventually be extinguished; and I don't remember what Rida's position was, but I believe it is somewhat similar to al-Ghazali's.
Note that apparently, if I recall correctly, a number of scholars who were contemporaries of those individuals have considered the positions of ibn Arabi and ibn Taymiyyah to be kufr and have pronounced takfir on them for this reason; this is something you would have to look up though, I don't recall a reference for this, and I don't remember whether the book mentions any.
The book seems to be based on his PhD thesis, which is available online. The section on Rida mentions Muhammad Abduh, a quite controversial and almost certainly heterodox figure; I think Rida might be a similar case, but I'm not sure about that.