06 April 2015

Dante's Inferno

Classic: a book which people praise and don't read. — Mark Twain

I have never felt that to be truer than after slogging my way through Dante Alighieri's INFERNO. No, seriously.

I actually read it. I was on vacation and had run out of other books to read, and INFERNO was on my iPad in the "to read" collection.

I've never been able appreciate verse very much. I've read plenty of Shakespeare (impossible not to when you get a degree in Theatre, even if it's for lighting design), and Tennyson, and at one point I read T. S. Eliot's THE WASTELAND. At least, I am pretty sure I read it. I remember starting it and I remember reaching the end of it. The in-between...not so much.

The same was true of INFERNO. There were times I read it when I more or less understood what was going on, but, I don't know. I don't think of myself as a particularly inept reader, but INFERNO didn't really do it for me. Even the language itself didn't seem to hold much beauty. Maybe that was because of the translation I was reading.

After finishing, I did a little research to figure out what all I had missed. It turns out INFERNO had a lot of historical and political allegories in it – ones which went completely over my head.

I can't in all conscience say I enjoyed INFERNO, or even that I'm glad I read it. I have been out of school long enough I don't have to check it off any required reading lists. The only one who wanted me to read it was me.

I may check out the rest of the Divine Comedy at some point. After all, I'm bound to run out of books again at some point.

I hope that day will be a long time in coming.