Sunday, July 19, 2009

Aimless Reading: The D's, Part 3.4 (Dante Alighieri)

Originally uploaded by Michael_Kelleher
Alighieri, Dante
Sinclair, John D.
The Divine Comedy
2: Purgatorio

Also purchased at the Fordham University Bookstore for the aforementioned course on the Spiritual Journey. (Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, Bruce Andrews was teaching two buildings away -- I wish he'd offered a class on the Inferno!). One thing I like about this edition is the covers, which feature Gustave Doré's illustrations. I recall we were required to purchase a collection of all of them, which I have since lost.

For our second paper, we were given the same assignment as the first -- that is, to compare our own experience to Dante's, only this time in the Purgatorio. As I mentioned, I wrote the first paper comparing my experiences with drugs and alcohol to Dante's experience in Hell.

Naturally, I compared my experience of getting sober through the 12 Steps of AA to his experience in Purgatory. Whereas those in Purgatory were their to purge their guilt in order to ascend to Paradise, so was I following the twelve steps to purge myself of all that lead me to drink in order to ascend to ... what? I can't quite remember. The important part was that the 12 steps were a process of purgation leading somewhere up. Anyhow, I got an A ++ again!

from the Purgatorio:

To course over the better waters the little bark of my wit now lifts her sails, leaving behind her so cruel at sea, and I will sing of that second kingdom where the human spirit is purged and becomes fit to ascend to heaven. But here let poetry rise again from the dead. O holy muses, since I am yours; and here let Calliope rise up for a while and accompany my song with that strain which smote the ears of the wretched pies so that they despaired of pardon!

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