‘Someone else’s hell’

Concretising the cosmic in tributes to Dante
by
December 2021, no. 438
Buy this book

Divining Dante edited by Paul Munden and Nessa O’Mahony

Recent Work Press, $24.95 pb, 163 pp

‘Someone else’s hell’

Concretising the cosmic in tributes to Dante
by
December 2021, no. 438
An illustration of  Dante Alighieri (photograph via Sreerama.S/Wikimedia Commons)
An illustration of Dante Alighieri (photograph via Sreerama.S/Wikimedia Commons)

How would we have viewed the seven hundredth anniversary of Dante Alighieri’s death if there had been no Covid-19? The editors of Divining Dante are candid about their fears that the pandemic might narrow their celebratory anthology to poems of doom and disaster. After all, the cosmic system of Dante’s Comedy is one of the few fictional creations to match the scale and reach of the pandemic. Dante’s souls are aware of their insignificance among millions, but their pain or bliss is unique and absolutely meaningful. Punishments or blessings are matched to their deeds; character is fate. Today we, too, are confined to private places and must face whatever we find there. The times suit that side of Dante.

Theodore Ell reviews 'Divining Dante' edited by Paul Munden and Nessa O’Mahony

Divining Dante

edited by Paul Munden and Nessa O’Mahony

Recent Work Press, $24.95 pb, 163 pp

Buy this book

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