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review 2019-05-02 02:42
Inferno?
Inferno - Dante Alighieri

Okay, I apologize! What was I thinking? A few illustraations would help? They did but it is still quite boring. I consider my classics experiment at an end. Too many other ENJOYABLE books out there. If I say I'm reading some old classic, feel free to start throwing tomatoes. The illustrations were quite good though!

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text 2019-02-09 19:37
Resurrecting my classics read
Inferno - Dante Alighieri

I had to share that I have restarted my goal of reading classics. However, rather than just picking some random book that I happen to own, I'm reading ones I think I'd actually enjoy. First up is Dante's Inferno. NO not the dumb Dan Brown repetitive story (have you noticed all the stories (with who most people really think is Tom Hanks) are actually all the same? They all involve Hanks (see even I don't recall the Professor's name) and some beautiful girl running together around Europe with solving some mystery connected with the catholic church. Only the girls and the locations change so Brown can show off his world knowledge. NO, I'm talking the real book by Dante. I'd started it in the past but never got very far. But after finding this illustrated edition by Fall River Press at Barnes and Noble (Oops, should I have said that? Will Amazon now hunt me down and kick me off the site?) I am certain it will be much more enjoyable and less taxing on the mind trying to picture all of these evils. 

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review 2018-10-27 18:25
Since I'm not reading for spirituality's sake
The Divine Comedy - Eugenio Montale,Sandro Botticelli,Peter Armour,Dante Alighieri,Allen Mandelbaum

Done! *cheers* (and an abrupt end it was)

 

I confess I started to loose my enthusiasm by Purgatory, and Paradiso veritably dragged for me.

 

Inferno is indeed the most interesting, likely because it concentrates more on describing the poetic (and in many cases gruesome) justice inflicted there.

 

Purgatory gets a bit wishy washy because we are even more deluged with contemporary examples, which was exhausting from a "pausing to research WTF" whenever I needed context to understand the grade, and felt like self indulgent page bloating when I didn't. And then we get to Eden, pretty cavalcade of symbolism lead by the still much discussed mystery that is Matilda, and meet Beatriz. Ahhhh, the lady herself, that symbolizes theology. Maybe it is no wonder I found her supercilious and overly jealous.

 

I have to praise Dante's balls: first he aligns himself equal among Homer, Ovid and Virgil in that Limbo chat, and here he places his lady love highly enthroned in the Empireum, representing the Dogma by which he knows God.

 

If I could leave Paradiso just taking away that love has been his salvation and his way to heaven, we'd be good. But no, he had to insist on hammering until rigid conformity to scripture was reached. Thorough what felt like endless proselytizing (hey, I know it is my fault, because what was I expecting, right?) and pointing fingers of doom everywhere (the amount of eggs thrown the church's way! And his political enemies... you bet this got him the exile prophesied to him here).

 

Also, even considering some pretty descriptions, the spheres felt lame and boring reward (and here I'm reminded of Huxley calling happiness undramatic and boring, and Le Guin criticizing those that think "Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting"). Where is the imaginative poetic justice of the first third? Methinks Dante got too tangled in the discussion of virtues and splitting hairs on their display levels. So yeah, I get the whole "watching god and feeling his light is rapture beyond comprehension", I'm still contending that the theological got in the way of the literary, and there goes one star. Sue me.

 

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text 2018-10-25 20:34
Reading progress update: I've read 505 out of 798 pages.
The Divine Comedy - Eugenio Montale,Sandro Botticelli,Peter Armour,Dante Alighieri,Allen Mandelbaum

I get the "pointing him away form the carnal to the spiritual" thing, but Beatrice's rant over Dante looking toward other women after her death sounded downright bitchy to me (it's been 10 years woman!).

 

I found Inferno a lot more engaging than Purgatory on the whole, but the symmetry between the two is interesting, as is the fact that the punishments are not that much lighter in corresponding sins and circles, but for the hope.

 

What I am wondering, given the correspondence where repentance makes the difference between up or down, is whether not even repentance can wash fraud and betrayal in this cosmology.

 

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text 2018-10-24 10:34
Reading progress update: I've read 270 out of 798 pages.
The Divine Comedy - Eugenio Montale,Sandro Botticelli,Peter Armour,Dante Alighieri,Allen Mandelbaum

Finished with Inferno and in Purgatory now.

 

I forgot to mention before, but I'm having a blast with the all encompassing syncretism.

 

The last circle was interesting by how much less horrifying I found it in relation to the eight. I think it's the corporeal and visceral nature of the Malebolge, while a frozen plain has something of the unfathomable in it (and yeah, I got the contrast idea of virtues and the Holy ghost being depicted as fire).

 

Maybe there is something about horror vs terror in there too? The knowable bad vs the impossible to comprehend?

 

The descriptions, for such short things, are epic.

 

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