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A Mundane Comedy is Dominic Kelleher's new book, which will be published in mid 2024. The introduction is available here and further extracts will appear on this site and on social media in the coming months.

The 52:52:52 project, launching on this site and on social media in mid 2024, will help you address 52 issues with 52 responses over 52 weeks.

This site addresses what's changing, at the personal, organisational and societal levels. You'll learn about key changes across more than 150 elements of life, from ageing and time, through nature and animals, to kindness and love...and much more besides, which will help you better prepare for related change in your own life.

Welcome

On Dante

Dante

 

Dante Alighieri's "Divine Comedy" is an epic poem written in the early 14th century, divided into three parts: Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso.

 

Inferno:

  • Dante finds himself lost in a dark forest and guided by the Roman poet Virgil.
  • The pair descends through the nine circles of Hell, each representing different sins and their corresponding punishments.
  • Notable figures from history and mythology are encountered, and Dante learns about the consequences of sin.
  • Satan resides at the centre of Hell, and Dante and Virgil eventually climb down Satan's body to reach the other side of the Earth.

 

Purgatorio:

  • Dante and Virgil ascend Mount Purgatory, representing the climb towards redemption and purification.
  • The mountain has seven terraces, each associated with one of the seven deadly sins, and penitent souls undergo trials to cleanse themselves.
  • Dante meets various historical and biblical figures who share their stories of repentance.
  • At the summit of Purgatory, Dante encounters his idealised vision of Beatrice, who becomes his guide for the journey through Paradise.

 

Paradiso:

  • Dante and Beatrice ascend through the celestial spheres of Heaven, each associated with a particular virtue.
  • Dante encounters various blessed souls, including saints, theologians, and other virtuous individuals.
  • The poem culminates in Dante's mystical vision of the divine, where he beholds the ultimate reality of God and experiences the beatific vision.
  • The "Divine Comedy" concludes with Dante's transcendent experience of the divine love and the ultimate unity of all creation.

 

Is it possible to appreciate Dante’s work without understanding the man himself and the society in which he lived? A recent book attempted to shed new light on what some have called the greatest of all European poems.

For the 700th anniversary of Dante Alighieri’s death (September 14th 2021), Open Culture decided to feature a timely resource: Teodolinda Barolini, a professor at Columbia University, posted online a course for anyone who wishes to read Dante’s Commedia from beginning to end. It features 54 recorded lectures, covering Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso, with each cantica being read in its entirety. Barolini also oversees a related web site, Digital Dante, where you can find Dante’s text in the Petrocchi edition with English translations by Mandelbaum and Longfellow. 

Listening to Dante in Translation, I learned that:

  • It is called a comedy as it goes from despair (dark wood and then Inferno) to heaven and happiness...it's therefore the opposite of the tragic journey.
  • The low (getting to see the face of God and then coming back to Earth) can become high and vice versa
  • Progression is from 1-100 (44 cantos in Inferno, 33 in the other two)
  • The beginning is in the middle...the present is in the middle of the poet's life journey ("our life" - we all share the journey).

See also:

Timelines
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