Saturday, November 20, 2021

The Comedy Divine

Essay by Brad Evans, featuring excerpts from his recently published book, Ecce Humanitas: Beholding the Pain of Humanity, at the Los Angeles Review of Books.

"At the earth’s core, Dante encounters a three-headed Satan encased in ice, appearing as both the tormentor and tormented par excellence. A parody of the beauty of God and the tranquility of Heaven, Satan is disfigured and bestial, the true embodiment of the dark event at the heart of all myths, unable to contain his own rage as he screams out to give Hell itself its most violent of compositions. It should be noted that, in marked departure from such imagery, Milton’s Paradise Lost moved away from a spatial arrangement, with Satan instead proudly boasting of his freedom from the confines of his incarceration: 'The mind is its own place, and in it self / Can make a Heav’n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n.'" [Book I, Lines 254-255]

See Dante, "On World Government" from De Monarchia in Gateway to the Great Books (10 Vol., 1963) volume 7, and The Divine Comedy in Great Books of the Western World (first edition, 52 Vol., 1952) volume 21, (second edition, 60 Vol., 1990) volume 19.

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