Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Divine Comedy: Paradise

I have now made the journey to Hell and back and up to Paradise with Dante. Just finished the last volume of Dorothy L Sayers' translation of Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy. This is a beautiful journey that takes the soul from the confrontation of sin (Hell) to remorse, repentance, and penance for sin (Purgatory) to absence of sin and ability to enter into the divine presence (Paradise). This final installment of the Comedy was both a quicker read and a bit of a disappointment. There were long bits that just didn't seem to fit in with Paradise. There is a long diatribe against the sins of popes and priests who are leading souls astray that would seem better fit to Hell or even Purgatory. At this point, we should all be fitted for heaven...otherwise why are we here? We really shouldn't be dwelling on sin. The explanation of the various divisions of Heaven is rather interesting (although, I'm still trying to get my head around the idea that everybody is in the same Heaven, but not....). The descriptions of Heaven and the saints and angels are very beautiful. I wish there had been more of that.

I will say that Dante's journey through Heaven as an allegory for the soul's attempts to fully understand the divine and be prepared to stand in the divine's presence is well done. I'm not saying I believe every bit of it and that Dante has me converted to every precept. But he has done his job well. Three and 3/4 stars out of five (almost four--if I could just throw out those long bits...).

1 comment:

Heather J. said...

Thanks for your review! I'm adding it to the Really Old Classics October Recap which will post shortly. :)