A to Z Challenge 2013

Monday, February 27, 2012

Struggling, With A Smile

For Christmas I received a copy of The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri.  I've been struggling through this epic poem and it's kind of a love/hate relationship.   I will be completely lost for three stanzas and then a light bulb will go off and things become slightly clearer.  There are moments where I'm just in awe of the words used and how much they convey, and then there are other moments where I'm left scratching my head.

Part of the problem might be that this is the first epic poem I've ever read (I thought it was a regular set of tales when I put it on my wish list).  Another part might be the fact that this book was written back in the 1300's (originally in Italian if I remember right).  But a small part of me says it's difficult just because it's supposed to be.

It's an interesting sensation when you're reading a literary work like this one.  I feel like I am standing just outside a room trying to peer in but the bright lights (or dark maybe, given the story's content) make it hard to discern all the details.  I've felt like this before, back when I was reading The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien.  It's like almost understanding everything the author is trying to convey - and not being upset that I don't understand.

In any event, I intend to make it all the way through and absorb as much as I can.  There are gold nuggets to be found in these verses to be sure.

Anyone else read something difficult like this recently?


Tasha Seegmiller said...

I love this poem but it is a lot to take in. I suggest reading summaries first, because then when you are reading each section, you can find those dots to connect, and it makes more sense.

When you conquer this, try Paradise Lost - it's my favorite.

Domey Malasarn said...

I made my way through this and definitely had a hard time. I also enjoyed much of it a lot. I wish, though, that I had taken a class on it instead of trying to read it on my own. I think (I may well be wrong) that Dante actually invented modern Italian with this work, so much of it is his own creation.