Archive for the ‘Why Dante’s Inferno’ Category

Prayer in a godless world facing environmental disaster

July 7th, 2010

Dante says somewhere, I think it’s in the Paradiso, that the purpose of writing his Commedia is to help create new and better ways to pray.  Not the Miltonic explaining of god’s ways to man, or the expounding of doctrine, or the description of the world with the rewarding of the just and the punishing of sinners and the placing of everyone in his place – just prayer.  I love that.  I don’t believe in god, but I do believe in prayer.

Since I’m neither a theologian nor a philosopher, I can’t define precisely what I mean by the word, but it has something to do with using language as an instrument to place oneself in proper relation to the world. 

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Why would a Vermont author in his right mind rewrite Dante’s Inferno?

May 25th, 2010

At last I got tired of trying to explain to my friends just what
it was that I saw in Dante’s Comedy. It might have appeared to them
as a harmless obsession, differing from others in which I periodically
indulged – fly fishing, the novels of Henry James and Patrick O’Brien,
certain television series – mainly in that it never went away. Once
very year or so I would read through from the first line of the Inferno
to the last of Paradiso. How to explain the attraction of a late medieval
Catholic vision of the afterlife, however exalted its reputation, for
a very contemporary agnostic-Jewish-Buddhist American?

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