Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Divina Commedia: Inferno

Next up is Wallace Fowlie's A Reading of Dante's Inferno (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1981). It's fun to read The Inferno without any guide, but Fowlie's work makes things much easier to decipher even after the fact. 
Each chapter has a "Principal Signs and Symbols" section. Here's an important tidbit from Canto 2: "Three images of help: in the order of their appearance in the poem, Beatrice, Lucia, and Mary; in the order of their help to Dante, Mary, Lucia, and Beatrice (Fowlie, page 29).  
Saint Lucia, aka Saint Lucy. She can be found just about anywhere, starting in Europe from Italy to Sweden and Spain. She's not just for Catholics anymore.  
Saint Lucia in a work dating close to Dante's time (Dante lived from about 1265 to 1321 A.D.)  In painting, a Little Red Riding Hood phase?

One can read Fowlie's book in a jiffy. As for Little Red Riding Hood, this tale may trace back 2,000 years or so. For more about its origins and spread, here's a link.

Today's Rune: The Mystery Rune. 


Charles Gramlich said...

I've only read it once, but I did have a guide. Gave me some interesting perspective

the walking man said...

I also read it once, never really got the nuances you're presenting here but walked away knowing that hell is in the mind of men more so than a place of devils and demons.