"Dante's Inferno" is the most famous section of Dante Aligheri's 14,000 line epic poem, The Divine Comedy. But it's only the first part of Dante's long pilgrimage through the afterlife. He first enters the circles of hell, filled with beasts and sinners doomed to the Inferno for crimes like gluttony, lust, and treason.
Dante slowly recognizes a glimmer of each sinner's fault in his own character as he makes his way through hell. His recognition of his humanity led him up the steep mountain of purgatory and ultimately toward a paradise opened by his enlightenment.
The story of The Divine Comedy is an adventure story based on Dante's real life in 14th century Italy. He was deeply wrapped up in the politics of his time. He was a city official, diplomatic negotiator, poet, and a man who dared to cross the pope. He was exiled from his city, never to return under threat of death. He left all behind, except his unrequited love for Beatrice.
Nearly broken and in a "dark wood" of grief in midlife, Dante wrote a masterpiece that is remarkably relevant today for all of us who have ever been in the dark wood of loss. This hour, we talk to three people who walked with Dante through the dark wood.
- Joseph Luzzi - Professor of comparative literature at Bard College, and author of My Two Italies and In a Dark Wood: What Dante Taught Me About Grief, Healing and the Mysteries of Love
- Ron Jenkins - Professor of theater at Wesleyan University, and visiting professor of theater and the arts at Yale Divinity School
- Rod Dreher - Senior editor at The American Conservative, and author of The Little Way of Ruthie Leming and How Dante Can Save Your Life: The Life-Changing Wisdom of History's Greatest Poem
- “What is Life” by Black Uhuru
- "Francesca Da Rimini" op. 32 by Tchaikovsky
- "Purgatory Road" by Ray Wylie Hubbard
- "O Fortuna" by Carl Orff
Colin McEnroe and Chion Wolf contributed to this show.