.. BY READING DANTE– Binks is re-reading Dante’s Divine Comedy for Lent. I have yet to complete Paradiso (10th try), and it’s no good to get stuck in purgatory or hell.
I recommend the Dorothy L. Sayers translation, for her attempt to convey the lively sense and humble self-mocking humour of Dante, the Italian terza rima (almost limerick form, as it were), along with her massive scholarship and understanding of Dante and Christianity. I understand that some people need blandly modernish language to get started– for me, it’s as if someone redid all the great paintings in crayon, or the masterworks of Bach for kazoo. And yes, I laugh at PDQ Bach.
For Lent, I’d suggest you read and apply to yourself the various scenes Dante presents, and ignore the usual modern moral outrage about this or that sinner. Remember: Dante is first of all the soul in question, and then ourselves second; and if we were to make it modern, we can all figure out various people in politics, business, or pop culture who could fit as examples of the various sins in question– without ‘consigning them to hell’, which is finally God’s business. But The Divine Comedy is meant in part to be a mirror for our own souls in our pilgrimage towards or away from God, minding our own business first of all being a good spiritual principle.
I read each chapter cold, then the notes, then read the chapter again, with notes in mind. If you’re a visual reader, try the famous engravings by Gustave Doré which go with each chapter.
A blessed Lent to all of you. ~