Sunday, May 12, 2013
10 Things about Dante
The Guardian lists some tidbits about the author of The Divine Comedy.
From the piece...
3. Dante is still incredibly influential
For someone who was writing mainly in the early part of the 14th century, Dante's shadow is long. He was a major influence on the modernists and their followers, especially TS Eliot – "The Waste Land" is stuffed full of references to the Inferno – and Samuel Beckett, whose entire oeuvre could be said to be a reworking of themes and images from Dante. When asked what he wanted to do with his life, Beckett replied: "All I want to do is sit on my arse and fart and think about Dante," but luckily for us he also did a bit of writing as well. Meanwhile, a new translation of the Inferno comes out pretty much every year. More on this in a moment.
4. He was still very much the product of his time
Be prepared, when you read the Inferno, for a lot of stuff about 13th-century Florentine politics. All editions have, or should have, decent notes to get you through this. But a lot of the poem is Dante doing some score‑settling. He loathed some people so much – those who had behaved treacherously to guests – that he couldn't even wait for them to die. Their souls were in Hell while their bodies were alive. Theologically tricky, but Dante sure knew how to bear a grudge.