May 15: A few more notes on Dante

Today we have Cantos XXV, XXVI, and XXVII. (How did Dante get the idea, way back in the 1200s, of naming his Cantos after Super Bowls?) (I apologize for the previous parenthesis. It's a volume business, this jokemaking.) It has been a busy day with writing and stuff so I will bulletpoint:

• Everything I said in this post I stand by -- I can't make sense of this without turning to my Pinsky.

• Hell, for Dante, is a place where there are a lot of Italians. I'm not sure this is the conclusion he meant me to draw.

• What's Ulysses (Canto XXVI) in for, anyway? It appears to be the Trojan Horse:

...as erewhile to wrath
These in the flame with ceaseless groans deplore
The ambush of the horse

But that doesn't seem so terrible, to me. It always seemed like the Trojans were idiots for taking it (on the other hand, I may be basing my knowledge on a "Simpsons.") Why does Ulysses, who was after all frightfully clever, get the same punishment as Guido da Montefeltro (Italians again!), who advised the pope to promise much and deliver little, which seems obvious? Why is Ulysses even in Hell? It's not his fault he didn't know about Jesus. Is Ulysses a punishment for all the Italians, who think hanging out with Greeks is an infernal punishment?

So many questions. Perhaps this is what makes the Inferno the boundless work of art that it is.

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