Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I recently began reading The Diving Comedy by Dante Alighieri, and it is excellent so far. It's been quite some time since I read an epic poem; my last one was probably The Odyssey, which I read in high school. My recollection of that book, and my experience with this one, is that each line has much more weight than in a typical book. The upshot of this is that I spend more time thinking as I read, so this story will likely take me a while to get through. On the other hand, it will probably provide me with fodder for several posts.

This is the book of the famous line, "Abandon every hope, who enter here," which is part of the inscription over the door to Hell. However, despite that line and the first lines of the inscription, which have something to do with a city of eternal pain, it doesn't sound too ominous there. Consider the middle of the inscription:
Justice urged on my high artificer;
My maker was Divine Authority,
The highest Wisdom, and the primal Love.
Before me nothing but eternal things
Were made, and I endure Eternally.
Abandon every hope, who enter here.
Perhaps people were more jittery back in the 1200s when this story was written, but that does not strike much fear into my heart.

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