“This year I was drawn to Mark’s ‘certain young man’—the one who flees naked from the violence in the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives (14:51-52), leaving behind his linen cloth. Scholars vehemently disagree about who this young man was. Many deduce that it’s the writer of Mark’s gospel inserting himself into the story. Others say he is reminiscent of King David fleeing from Absalom on the the Mount of Olives. Or that he foreshadows the ‘young man’ in a white robe who will meet the women at Jesus’ tomb. Whoever he was, in the midst of an encounter with violence, this “certain young man” lost what thin protection he had and fled into the night, into the selva oscura, as Dante calls it, those ‘dark woods.’ Toward what, we do not know. As the human soul matures, we are confronted with moments that force us to let go of yet another thin veil of self-delusion. The “right road,” the moral high ground, sinks into a thicket of gray.” [. . .] –Rose Marie Berger, SOJOURNERS, May, 2012.
See the video teaser trailer here
Contributed by Justin Meckes
“After Beyond the Castle’s success, we embarked in a new project that celebrates Italian culture. Together with the most prestigious school of Milan, the Collegio San Carlo, we created a new virtual reality experience that focuses on Dante’s Divine Comedy. In The Hell’s Gate students can embody Dante and walk through the dark forest. This will allow them to approach this masterpiece in an innovative and engaging way.” —Beyond the Gate, 2019
“The middle of life is a second adolescence, with no one left to admire our suffering. All of Dante’s work is a beautiful, unconvincing riposte to the sense of anguish this age can bring: ‘Midway along the journey of our life, I woke to find myself in a dark wood, for I had wandered from the straight path,’ he writes. Eventually he makes it to Paradise; but nobody reads that part.
“The great Japanese author Haruki Murakami grew famous writing about the tender melancholy of youth. (Norwegian Wood made him so recognizable in Japan that he left.) Reading books from that period, you feel sad without knowing why — and yet, within that sadness glows a small ember of happiness, because to feel sad is at least to feel honestly.
“Now, in his 60s, he has begun to consider middle age more carefully, as if he sees himself most clearly across a 20-year lag. It’s the subject of his underrated Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage and also of his immersive, repetitive, big-hearted new novel, Killing Commendatore.” –Charles Finch, “Haruki Murakami turns his gaze toward middle age,” Washington Post, October 8, 2018
Another review, posted on the blog Happy Antipodean on December 1, 2018, also likens Murakami’s novel to Dante’s poem.
“In the middle of the journey of our life I came to myself within a dark wood where the straight way was lost. Ah, how hard a thing it is to tell what a wild , and rough, and stubborn wood this was, which in my thought renews the fear!” –David Guterson, Epigraph to Snow Falling on Cedars, September 1994
Check out Snow Falling on Cedars on Amazon here.
Contributed by Daniel Christian.