Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Talking About Dante Again

Followers of this blog know I had a "Dead Poets Society" book group in Iraq beginning last July.  The first book we read was Inferno by Dante Aligheri, translated by Tony Esolen.  Yesterday I was talking to the editor of the magazine at my day job about science education and Dante came up.  Our magazine is Chemical Heritage.

We were talking about the construction and location of Hell--Inferno is a guided tour of Hell down to the center of the earth and out the other side.

By the way, for any of you who had a bad education or read Thomas Friedman, Dante wrote 200 years before Columbus sailed and knew the size of the earth within about 10% of its actual size--as did everyone in the Church at the time Columbus sailed.   All that Flat Earth stuff connected to Columbus is bullsh#t.

The whole conversation was fun, but the most interesting thing to me was the vote at the end of the reading Inferno.  The group decided by a small majority to reading Aeneid next, not Purgatorio, the second volume in Dante's trilogy of eternity.  The group came to admire Virgil and wanted to know why he was Dante's guide through Hell.  Several of the soldiers were also upset with Dante for sending Virgil back to Hell when he (Dante) went to Heaven.