First Book of the Year!

I’m starting the year out by reading the second canticle of Dante’s The Divine Comedy, “The Purgatorio.” I will be reading the Barnes and Noble Classic version of this book.  Here is what the back cover of the book states:

Perhaps the greatest single poem ever written, The Divine Comedy presents Dante Alighieri’s all-encompassing vision of the three realms of Christian afterlife.  Joyfully anticipating heaven, Purgatorio continues the poet’s journey from the darkness of Hell toward the divine light of Paradise.

Beginning with Dante’s liberation from the Inferno, part two of The Divine Comedy carries us along as he and the Roman poet Virgil struggle up the steep terraces of the earthly island-mountain called Purgatory, miraculously created as a result of Lucifer’s storied fall.  As Dante travels through the first seven levels–each representing one of the seven deadly sins–he observes the sinners who are waiting for their release into Paradise.  Each echelon teaches a new lesson about human healing and growth, on earth as well as in the spiritual world.  As he journeys upward, level by level, Dante gradually changes into a wiser, braver, and better man.  Only when he has learned from each of these stations will he finally be allowed to ascend to the gateway to heaven:  the Garden of Eden.

I usually don’t read poetry; however, when I first took a look at the description of The Inferno, and then of the other two canticles, The Purgatorio, and The Paradiso, I couldn’t help but think of reading them as a major challenge for me.  I truly enjoyed reading The Inferno, and figured since I finished one part, I really wouldn’t be giving the epic the full credit, or time, it deserves, if I didn’t read the entire comedy.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I’ll be discussing my thoughts on various parts of my experience, as I travel with Dante up the mountain of Purgatory.


About Jeremy

Husband, book lover, Civil War Buff. If I could read for a living I would, but unfortunately, it doesn't pay the bills!

2 Responses to “First Book of the Year!”

  1. I found your blog because I’m also writing about The Divine Comedy on the WordPress platform, too. Or, at any rate, I’m writing about the Inferno. I was hoping to read some of your thoughts about it; however, I think you’re picking up with Purgatorio, and I haven’t read that far yet.

    What were your thoughts on Inferno? Did you feel excluded? Because while reading it, so much of what Dante believe and how he populates Hell is so beyond my ken, it’s as if I’m a poorly-educated anthropologist in a completely different world.

  2. Thanks for dropping by! I found Inferno to be quite descriptive and even relevant to current events. You could definitely replace a lot of the figures of 14th century. Please don’t feel as if you’re excluded, I did a bit as well. Dante does refer to several historical figures that many readers today aren’t familiar with. I’m not sure if you read my post on my final thoughts on The Divine Comedy as a whole, but because of the many references to the Aeneid, Metamorpheses, The Iliad, and Odyssey, if I were to read Dante all over again, I would read those selections first as a foundation. Please feel free to continue to ask me questions, or for my thoughts, and I will be glad to respond.

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