Thursday, September 9, 2010

Summer Reading: Inferno (canto 20)

Another ditch in the Malebolge holds the diviners. They've had their necks twisted so they can only look backwards, a particularly gruesome and fitting punishment for false prophets. Dante is horrified, but once again he's admonished by his guide for his tears. We're to understand that pity for the damned is a form of blasphemy. The Comedy stresses that Christian justice exists, & that it's the guiding principle of the cosmic order. Also, Virgil gives an extended description (20 lines) of the rivers of Italy. Dante glorifies Florence a lot, but he's also got a streak of pan-Italian patriotism.

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