Tag: Divine Comedy

Christian Humanist Profiles 135: A Beginner’s Guide to Dante’s Divine Comedy

Download or Stream this Episode In the middle of my journey through 2018, I found myself in a dark wood, and a bit more literally I found myself ready to teach Dante once more to a group of undergraduates.  Between the Commedia’s powerful central narrator and the ongoing inquiry into the nature of the soul,…

Dante 2015: Paradiso part 3: Cantos 23-33

Series Index John Ciardi’s Translation of the Commedia The Heavenly Thesis Defense Dante’s ascent through Heaven’s catechism culminates, as do so many of our educational experiences, with an oral examination.  There’s never any sense that Dante’s status as one of the saved hinges on his answering properly–after all, as is the case throughout the poem, God’s…

Dante 2015: Paradiso part 2: Cantos 13-22

Series Index John Ciardi’s Translation of the Commedia Unexpected Company There’s a certain mindset among progressive-minded folks that one or two significant points of difference, especially on moral questions, means that a text or a writer has nothing to offer that’s worth thinking on.  So a hint of what we late-moderns would regard as racism here…

Dante 2015: Paradiso part 1: Cantos 1-12

Series Index John Ciardi’s Translation of the Commedia Analogy and Allegory More than in the first two Canticles, Dante spends a great share of his lines in Paradiso telling us, the readers, that he has no business writing this poem.  In the opening canto Dante denies that he has the knowledge to make sense of what…

Dante 2015: Purgatorio part 3: Cantos 25-33

Series Index John Ciardi’s Translation of the Commedia When Knowledge Passes Away Virgil’s long explanation of the genesis of souls and bodies poses a particular sort of intellectual challenge: this version of how human bodies develop reached its expiration date long before I was born, and there’s little chance that the refined-blood theory of human reproduction,…

Dante 2015: Purgatorio part 2: Cantos 13-24

Series Index John Ciardi’s Translation of the Commedia The Speech of the Saved I’ve taught Dante’s Purgatorio to three cohorts of upper-division literature students, and each time, the students do alright among the prideful.  Carrying a grand rock seems unpleasant, to be sure, but it stoops them down, and students get that basic body motion.  They…

Dante 2015: Inferno part 2: Cantos 12-23

Series Index John Ciardi’s Translation of the Commedia The Democratization of American Sins One popular topic for invention among youth-group kids in the mid-nineties (and I was one for a spell) was the democracy of sinners.  In terms of eternal salvation, the game started, all sins, whether genocide or looking at a girl in a short…

Christian Humanist Profiles 40: Rod Dreher on Dante

In the early fourteenth century one of the true figures of Christian intellectual genius gave us the Commedia, a pilgrim’s allegorical journey through Inferno and Purgatorio and Paradiso for the sake of his soul.  Rod Dreher’s latest book claims, with its very title, a place for that poem in the twenty first century: How Dante…

Dante 2010: Paradiso

Dante 2010: Purgatorio Dante 2010: Inferno Dante 2009: Paradiso Dante 2009: Purgatorio Dante 2009: Inferno Dante 2008: Paradiso Dante 2008: Purgatorio Dante 2008: Inferno I’ve taken longer than I would have liked to finish my Dante posts this year, but I suppose that’s life.  I’m certain I’ll read the Comedy next summer, and when I…