Thursday, August 19, 2010

Summer Reading: Inferno (canto 10)

Where the last canto clanged with action, this one turns inward. Dante takes a moment to chat with Farinata, a Florentine rival whose sin was stoicism—a blasphemous philosophy. Ironically, Farinata strides from his tomb in an echo of Christ's Resurrection. And he earns a complex respect from Dante, since he was a fierce defender of Florence in Italian politics. Dante also shows sympathy for the family's exile, especially once Farinata foresees Dante's own banishment. The damned, it seems, have a prophetic vision that tethers them to the world. The exchange unsettles our narrator, ending the canto on a pensive note.

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