Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Summer Reading: Inferno (canto 14)

In a desert raining with brimstone, Dante notes that one man ignores the cinders falling like snowflakes upon the damned. It's Capaneus, one of the kings who beseiged Thebes (see Aeschylus' Seven Against Thebes). Capaneus stood against Jove (ie the godhead) & remains blasphemous even in Hades! But back to that desert. Virgil plans to traverse the scorched earth along a stream that connects hell's various rivers. In a flourish of cosmology, Dante explains that the rivers are fed by the wound of a monumental titan beneath Mt. Ida. It's breathtaking how wide the poet's scope & imagination are!

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