Monday, November 30, 2009

Update on Reading Dante's 'Inferno' ...



"THROUGH ME THE WAY TO THE INFERNAL CITY,
THROUGH ME THE WAY TO ETERNAL SADNESS,
THROUGH ME THE WAY TO THE LOST PEOPLE.

JUSTICE MOVED MY SUPREME MAKER,
I WAS SHAPED BY DIVINE POWER,
BY HIGHEST WISDOM AND BY PRIMAL LOVE.

BEFORE ME, NOTHING WAS CREATED
THAT IS NOT ETERNAL, AND ETERNALLY I ENDURE.
ABANDON ALL HOPE, YOU THAT ENTER HERE. "

Inscription over entryway to Hell, Dante's 'Inferno'



'Inferno', by Franz Von Stuck (Image courtesy of ArtMagick.com)





Dante's 'Inferno' is proving an interesting and challenging read. Kind of puts the fear of Hell and damnation back into you ... although, truth be told, I have a very different view on what Hell is and is not. Still, what a fascinating mind the author of this epic poem has; he also displays perhaps a bit of self-righteousness in his assembling of his cast of characters for appearance in his 'Inferno.'

I'm nearly at the end of the 'Inferno' right now. My reading 7 other books at the same time makes the read go a bit slower. It is hard to read this epic poem at night as well --when I do most of my reading-- as I have a very vivid imagination.  Thus, reading the 'Inferno' at night sometimes gives me the CREEPS!  Creepy or not, however, I feel almost compelled by an insatiable curiousity to read right on to the very end of this 'Divine Comedy' ... Although, thus far, I've not yet seen much comedy in the pain and suffering of others in Dante's contrived Hell.  I am told that the word 'comedy' had a much different meaning in Dante's time.





'Dante and Virgil in Hell', by William Bouguereau (Image Courtesy of ArtMagick.com)


Knowing a bit of history helps, but I did have to do a bit of background reading on Dante in order to understand some of the people that he (the everyman) meets along his journey through Hell. I'm learning quite a bit about allegory through this read. It is also interesting to me how Dante weaves so much Greco-Roman Mythology into his City of Hell. I'll share more as I go along ... I wish I knew someone else who was reading this at same time.  This would be a rather fun read to converse on.

I am also most eager to know more of Dante's beloved Beatrice ...




'Dante and Beatrice', by Marie Spartali Stillman
(Image courtesy of Art Magick.com)



The number "3" has always had a peculiar significance in my own life. Having delved into reading Dante's "Divine Comedy":   I have to think that the number three was significant in Dante's life as well.






12/30/2010   Just now looking back on this ... I never really did follow-up on this, did I?  I need to do some more writing on this fascinating work, don't I? Okay: a follow-up is now officially on my list of "things to do."  Interestingly enough, I was flipping through an art book today and I discovered that Sandro Botticelli  did the original illustrations for Dante's "Divine Comedy".  These illustrations, completed between 1402-1405, were done with pen and ink and something called 'silverpoint'.  I thought the discovery of the artist behind the "Divine Comedy" illustrations was rather serendipitous. I so enjoyed Botticelli's many splendid and varied works when I visited Italy a few years back.  It intrigues me that this talented artist also did the illustrations for what has now become one of my favorite reads of all time.  So now that you know who the artist was behind the illustration for the "Divine Comedy" ... You too can impress your friends with your brilliance ; )


4 comments:

  1. So Anonymous ... Have you read Dante's "Divine Comedy"? Or perhaps even just the "Inferno"? I would love to have someone to discuss this one with. So far, I've only found one person who has read this tale, but that was over 40 years ago and their recollection is (understandably) not that great. Anyhow, I was just curious ... Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment.

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  2. Hi! I just discovered your blog while googling opinions and interpretations of Dante's Divine comedy. I actually am listening to it as an audio-book and hasn't quite finished all inferno yet, but i'm in love with the work naturally! Especially that i have studied history of art back in college and I can totally discern the amount of inspiration this poem has given so many artists! Michael-Angelo and Boticelli to name a few :) Thanks for this great post, I can send you more input and we can discuss anytime as long as i'm moving forward with the book :)

    hibamoujabber@gmail.com

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  3. Hello, 'hibamoujabber'. Yes, you will enjoy this work immensely. Perhaps we can discuss. Let me know how your 'read' progresses and thank you for sharing thoughts in comment.

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Thanks for taking a moment to share your thoughts. I'll read them and post them soon! God Bless! M