Guy Raffa, “Longfellow’s Great Liberators: Abraham Lincoln and Dante Alighieri” (2016)

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“Living with Dante’s vision of the afterlife also gave Longfellow some perspective on the war. On May 8, 1862, soon after translating Paradiso, he reflected, ‘Of the civil war I say only this. It is not a revolution, but a Catalinian conspiracy. It is Slavery against Freedom; the north against the southern pestilence.’ The reality of this moral disease hit home when he visited a local jeweler’s shop. There he saw ‘a slave’s collar of iron, with an iron tongue as large as a spoon, to go into the mouth.’  ‘Every drop of blood in me quivered,’ he wrote, ‘the world forgets what Slavery really is!’ ”

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Guy Raffa, Not Even Past, January 18, 2016