“I Found Myself in a Dark Wood”

i-found-myself-in-a-dark-wood“ ‘In the middle of our life’s journey, I found myself in a dark wood.’ So begins one of the most celebrated and difficult poems ever written, Dante’s Divine Comedy, a more than 14,000-line epic on the soul’s journey through the afterlife. The tension between the pronouns says it all: Although the ‘I’ belongs to Dante, who died in 1321, his journey is also part of ‘our life.’ We will all find ourselves in a dark wood one day, the lines suggest. That day came six years ago for me, when my pregnant wife, Katherine, died suddenly in a car accident. Forty-five minutes before her death, she delivered our daughter, Isabel, a miracle of health rescued by emergency cesarean. I had left the house that morning at 8:30 to teach a class; by noon, I was a father and a widower.”    –Joseph Luzzi, The New York Times, December 18, 2013

Contributed by Janet E. Gomez

See also the New York Times review of Luzzi’s 2014 memoir, In a Dark Wood.

Contributed by Stephanie HotzUniversity of Texas at Austin

“Nel Mezzo del Cammin…”

malloy-photo-nel-mezzo-del-cammin

Contributed by Patrick Molloy

Elisabeth Tonnard, “In This Dark Wood” (2008)

elisabeth-tonnard-in-this-dark-wood-2008
“This book is a modern gothic. It pairs images of people walking alone in nighttime city streets with 90 different English translations I collected of the first lines of Dante’s Inferno. The images, showing a crowd of solitary figures, are selected from the same archive as used for Two of Us (the extraordinary Joseph Selle collection at the Visual Studies Workshop which contains over a million negatives from a company of street photographers working in San Francisco from the 40’s to the 70’s).
The book is set up in a repetitious way, to stress a sense of similarity, endlessness and interchangeability. The images are re-expressions of each other, and so are the texts.”    —Elisabeth Tonnard

Contributed by Guy Raffa (University of Texas – Austin)

Francine Rivers, “Redeeming Love” (2007)

francine-rivers-redeeming-love-2007The beginning of Chapter 11 begins, “In the middle of the journey of our life, I came to myself in a dark wood.”

Contributed by Mary Scott George

Dante at a Student Apartment in Bologna

dante-at-a-student-apartment-in-bologna

“Inexpressibly happy that even in the utter chaos, Dante was able to say a few words at the party. Not what the quote wall is for, but it will do.”    –Darren Fishell (Bowdoin, ’09)

Found at Fumettotex (retrieved on February 10, 2008)