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The Inferno of Dante by Dante Alighieri
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Jun 24, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: italy, classics, philosophy

My friend and Dante Scholar Frank Ambrosio gave me this book and urged me to read it. I have, I must confess, been intimidated by this undertaking. The vast knowledge of the bible, mythology, contemporary medievil Italian politics, and the classics permeate this work and the notes at the end of each chapter are essential. In this regard the book reminded me of Ulysses by James Joyce. Just as Dante needed a guide, the poet Virgil, to traverse hell and to fathom the horror he was experiencing, so too must the modern reader rely on the notes to every chapter. This is a gruesome place, this hell where never ending punishment, horrific and eve sadistic are shown for the various transgressers. This first read can only scratch the surface I am sure and the book merits further study. But I was blown away by the imagery. As we enter one more fiercely fought national election , I enjoyed the image of waverers, the undecided group who are consigned to hell: "whose lives earned neither honor nor bad fame/ and they are mingle
D with angels of the base sort/who neither rebellious to God nor faithful to him/ chose neither side but kept themselves apart/ now heaven expels them, not to mar its splendor /and hell rejects them, lest the wicked of heart/ take glory over them.


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