Par. 28, Arielle Saiber and Guy Raffa for “Canto per Canto: Conversations with Dante in Our Time”

“Angels are like technology. Dante has to create a new language to describe the indescribable. What is extraordinary in the natural world is a tool to represent what is itself beyond representation. These are only some of the themes that [Dante Today founder] Arielle Saiber and Guy Raffa discuss in their conversation on Paradiso 28, a canto that is, in many respects, a canto of transitions – from material to immaterial, from looking down to looking up and forward.” -Leonardo Chiarantini

Canto per Canto: Conversations with Dante in Our Time is a collaborative initiative between New York University’s Department of Italian Studies and Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, and the Dante Society of America. The aim is to produce podcast conversations about all 100 cantos of the Divine Comedy, to be completed within the seventh centenary of Dante’s death in 2021.

“You Have Seven Mountains to Climb to Find Your True Self”

“When I think of life as climbing mountains, the Purgatorio of Dante Alighieri comes to mind, the second part of the Divine Comedy.

In grand poetic style, Dante says the struggle a person faces to find his true self involves not one but seven mountains. And each mountain represents a type of suffering we must go through to rid ourselves of the sin, vices, peccadillos, the falsity that keeps us confined.

Like the Desert Fathers, he called those barriers-to-selfhood ‘seven deadly sins,’ each an attitude-cum-behavior that turns us against ourselves.

Among them are: being envious of what other people have or do (envy); acting with rage in our interactions with others (wrath); seeking more than we need in life (greed); and using power like a god to protect our possessions (pride).

[. . .]

And Dante said that, when a person faces up to the transformations purgatory exacts, he becomes a spiritual being, that is, he lives with an equanimity close to happiness.

And ‘spiritual’ does not mean something wispy and ethereal but the life of a body grounded in purpose, a body in communion with others, when political and economic realities align with justice.

In the third part of his trilogy, the Paradiso, Dante says no one gets to heaven who’s at odds with himself; heaven is for those who answer their calling. Such people treat others like they want to be treated, what Christians call being ‘Christ-like.'”    –Dennis Sullivan, The Altamont Enterprise, July 2, 2020

Final line of C.S. Lewis’s A Grief Observed

“In the last chapter of A Grief Observed, Lewis admits that grief is, ‘like a long valley, a winding valley where any bend may reveal a totally new landscape.’ If you’ve grieved over someone’s death, you know the image Lewis is casting. Happiness almost feels a little haunted, but time evaporates the wetness from some of the tears, albeit gradual, ‘like the warming of a room or the coming of daylight,’ says Lewis.

[. . .]

The end is akin to the beginning of A Grief Observed, if only in the questions it doesn’t answer and the doubts that are still raised as a result of the horrible occurrences of this world. In the end, Lewis knows that God is more mystery than reason, and his reliance on Him, and the hope in the resurrection of the dead, is wrapped in a faith in a God who can be found.

‘Poi si torno all’ eternal fontana,’ ends the book. It is from Dante. Beatrice turns to the eternal fountain and keeps walking. Lewis doesn’t dismiss his grief, but he is more at peace with God at the end of his notes, and, like Joy’s last words to the chaplain, Lewis is at peace with God.”    –Zach Kincaid, cslewis.com, February 29, 2012

Contributed by Daniel Christian

Day-to-Day Dante: Exploring Personal Myth Through the Divine Comedy

Day-to-Day Dante: Exploring Personal Myth Through The Divine Comedy (2011) is a series of meditations, one for each day of the year, using between 6-9 lines of the poem for each entry. The book is comprised of approximately 121 entries for each of the canticas Dante created: Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso. Following each quote from the poem is a short summary of what is taking place at this moment in the pilgrimage. Then follows a reflection on what this might have to do with our lives today. At the bottom of each page is a Writing Meditation in which the reader is invited to journal how this passage might apply to them now or in his/her past. Through these writing meditations, the reader will uncover parts of his/her personal myth.”    –Dennis P. Slattery, dennispslattery.com, January 28, 2011

La Divina Commedia (2015) – Paolo Di Paolo

“A 750 anni dalla nascita di Dante, è possibile raccontare ai ragazzi La Divina Commedia? La sfida è stata accolta da uno scrittore come Paolo Di Paolo che, accompagnato dalle splendide illustrazioni di Matteo Berton, ci fa rivivere lo straordinario viaggio di Dante.”    —La Nuova Frontiera Junior, July 30, 2015

Per le rime: Beatrice risponde a Dante by Enrico Bernard

“Una nuova forma di saggio sperimentale presentato come monologo lirico-drammatico sul più grande rapporto d’amore della letteratura mondiale. Fu vero amore? Oppure Dante si prese qualche licenza poetica e qualche libertà espressiva? Un divertente cavalcata al femminile nei canti del Paradiso che vengono smontati e ridefiniti dalla protagonista stessa, Beatrice, che finalmente fa sentire la sua non più flebile, ma dura e contestatrice voce.”    –Enrico Bernard, Amazon, December 1, 2016

Paradiso After Dante by Emma Haworth

Paradiso After Dante by Emma Haworth.

Hogwarts and Dante – Empyrean Heaven

“In our little excursion through centuries spanning medieval classic to contemporary literature we come now to an end that is really the beginning. Piccarda explained as early as Canto 4 of Paradiso that everywhere in Paradise is Paradise. Yet as a concession to the limited human understanding Dante is introduced to a split up version where the blessed are categorized like in a lexicon.

One could also say the blessed were planted like lovely flowers into different beds of the same garden. The original Hebrew version of the Bible speaks of the Paradise as ‘gan’ what means garden. Only when translated into Greek gan became paradeisos. And as already stated in the very beginning the Greek word paradeisos deceives from a Persian word meaning ‘walled-around place’.

So, the question remains: Is Hogwarts just another ‘walled around place’? Or is Hogwarts Paradise?

[. . .]

Hogwarts is the solid ground that gives the students a home in the outside world as well as in their mind. Only if the students lower their protection and that of the school, Voldemort and the ideas he stand for have a chance to cling to the minds. Otherwise, Hogwarts and his inhabitants are a patch of outer and inner eternity, a temenos, a gan, a paradeisos, the same place Dante saw on Good Friday 1300. Was Dante perhaps truly magical?”    –Aviva Brueckner, Stranger Between Worlds, July 10, 2011

Garry Shead Online Art Gallery

Online gallery of artist Garry Shead’s Divine Comedy inspired work.

Check out our original post on Garry Shead here.

Perpetual Astonishment Blog

“Join the journey, canto by canto, through Dante’s universe. This is a world of beauty, terror, holiness, humor and wisdom that is one of the world’s greatest creations.

[. . .]

This website/blogsite is a response to requests from some that we study and journey together. It will slowly expand through the weeks, months and years… or it will disappear all together. Several of us will begin walking through the entire Divine Comedy by Dante, not with me doing all the work, but with all of us involved in reading a canto a week or so, and then sharing insights, discoveries, etc. I will add other posts as I study in other areas.”    —Perpetual Astonishment, February 17, 2014