Karl Ove Knausgaard, “Letter from Österlen”

Paris-Review-Karl-Ove-Knausgaard-Letter-From-Osterlen-Dante“I think Harold Bloom was right when he wrote that Dante was not a Christian poet. It is something else. That said, The Divine Comedy doesn’t end in Lucifer’s maw at the bottom of hell; the journey continues, out on a sea, onto a beach, up a mountain, and out into the heavens. The division of hell into circles, zones, and specific places for specific sins can seem like a bureaucratic perversion of sorts, order baring its teeth in the most twisted manner, but hell must also be understood in relation to its opposite, heaven and all that is good, whose image is light that knows no limits, but floats unhindered and limitless over everything. The good is open and devoid of difference, evil confined and closed upon itself. What makes Dante difficult to grasp is that this is a system humans find themselves in, it is inflicted on them from outside. Both the limiting darkness and the inverse limitless light are steadfast and constant, one marking our connection to the animal and mute biology, the other our entryway to the divine, while man himself arises from something else, his individuality, which is peculiar to each.” — Karl Ove Knausgaard, “Letter from Österlen,” The Paris Review (December 1, 2014), 199-208

Gerald Howard’s Letter to the NY Times Editor

gerald-howards-letter-to-the-ny-times-editor“. . .As for Palahniuk’s novels, 11 of which I have edited and published, all of them have made me laugh so hard that I always keep my asthma inhaler at the ready as I edit them. Survivor, his unnerving pre-9/11 airliner hijacking novel, is one of my very favorites, and his latest book — the Judy Blume-meets-Dante-meets-“The Breakfast Club” mash-up Damned — is, to repurpose Almond’s final words, enthralling and disgusting (in a good way, of course).” [. . .]    –Gerald Howard, The New York Times, October 12, 2012

Philip K. Dick, The Owl in Daylight (1982)

pk-dicks-the-owl-in-daylight-1982“Philip K. Dick’s last wife has reworked the novel he was working on when he died in 1982 and is publishing the book herself, The Guardian reported. Tessa Dick, the fifth wife of the science-fiction legend, told Self-Publishing Review, an online magazine (selfpublishingreview.com), that her version of The Owl in Daylight seeks to express ‘the spirit’ of the proposed book, about which little is known. Ms. Dick said that a letter from her husband to his editor and agent revealed plans to ‘have a great scientist design and build a computer system and then get trapped in its virtual reality,’ and added: ‘The computer would be so advanced that it developed human-like intelligence and rebelled against its frivolous purpose of managing a theme park.’ The letter also mentioned Dante’s Inferno and the Faust legend, she said.”    –Ben Sisario, The New York Times, February 16, 2009

See also: “The Owl in Daylight” Wikipedia page.

“The Secret Letter From Iraq”


A Marine’s letter home, with its frank description of life in “Dante’s inferno.”    —Time Magazine, October 6, 2006