“Subverting” and Repurposing Dante

A question I have had early on in our class is why Toni Morrison chose Dante’s trilogy to frame and play with in at least three of her novels. I read Dante in HUM I like everyone else. I thought the text was fascinating and rich, and I can see the value of studying it, and I have a great respect for the scholarship surrounding it. Yet, the moral, and perhaps anachronistic, implications of the poem are troubling for me. What struck me most, in the negative way, was how Dante put his father figure/teacher/mentor Brunetto Latini in a relatively deep level of hell for being a “sodomite.  Continue reading ““Subverting” and Repurposing Dante”

The Muses and Finding Wisdom

In Dante’s Divine Comedy, specifically Paradiso, the reader joins the Pilgrim on a tour of heaven. At the beginning of this reading period in our class, Dr. McCoy alerted us to keep an eye out for the Muses. This is something that I have been attentive to, as a result, and after doing a bit of research and further reading, I noticed that Dante creates a balance and mixture of different faith traditions in his Commedia. We can see allusions to the Greek tradition (including Homer and, especially, Virgil), Judaism, and Christianity. As Mark Musa notes in his paratext to Canto XX, the six souls that compose the eye of the eagle the Pilgrim sees are two Jews, two pagans, and two Christians (243). This means that in Dante’s Paradiso, those of varying faiths are present and not condemned to the Inferno. This is a rather accepting stance in comparison with other historical literature. What kind of implications, then, are there for having this religious diversity in what seems to be a Christian Hell and Heaven? Continue reading “The Muses and Finding Wisdom”

The Yonic and the Phallic

Thanks to the texts I’m reading this semester—specifically Pynchon and Yeats—I’ve had to pay more attention to phallic imagery than ever before. I started to pick up on some of this imagery in Toni Morrison’s Jazz, but I also noticed another kind of imagery, one that I didn’t immediately have a word for. I began to wonder what the female equivalent was of “phallic.” I expressed this curiosity to Brianne and she beat me to the Google-search-bar, sending me a few different links to websites discussing this exact topic. It seems that the choices we’re given are either the word “yonic” or “yoni” which originates in Sanskrit, or the currently more common word “vulvic.” Continue reading “The Yonic and the Phallic”

Meter in Paradiso – Emphasis on the _____?

Hi all!

We have been talking a lot about how Dante is constantly romanticizing Beatrice, constantly proclaiming his love for her.  A great example of this occurs pages 213-214 when Dante says:

“Those loving words made me turn round to face/ my Solace.  What love within her holy eyes/ I just saw then–too much to be retold.”

Dante calls Beatrice his “solace” defined by dictionary.com as: “something that gives comfort, consolation, or relief.”  Therefore, Beatrice allows Dante to feel calm.  While looking up this definition, I notices that the stress for the word “solace” is at the beginning of the word: sol-is. Continue reading “Meter in Paradiso – Emphasis on the _____?”