Monday, April 15, 2013

Abandon All Hope


One of my goals this year is to get through The Divine Comedy.  The copy I'm reading is a gorgeous coffee-table sized edition by Chartwell Books, Inc., which contains all the engravings by Gustave Doré.  Last I checked Barnes and Noble were selling it in the discount section, so if you're a Dante fan, or interested in dipping into him, go pick one up.  My only complaint is that it doesn't contain the original Italian.  Then again, most mother-tongue Italian speakers I know tell me even they have difficulty with it, which means I wouldn't have a chance in hell.


Right now I'm on Canto XXXIV of the Inferno.  So far so good.  I particularly dig the part about Count Ugolino eating the brains of Archbishop Ruggieri for all eternity.

Already we had gone away from him,
When I beheld two frozen in one hole,

So that one head a hood was to the other;

And even as bread through hunger is devoured,
The uppermost on the other set his teeth,

There where the brain is to the nape united.
                                               (Inferno, Canto XXII)


When he had said this, with his eyes distorted,
The wretched skull resumed he with his teeth,

Which, as a dog's, upon the bone were strong.
                                               (Inferno, Canto XXXIII)

Frank Miller can't write lines that cold.


And now, on to Purgatory and Paradise.

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