Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Dante for dummies

A few weeks ago, Xtina and I joined her sister and assorted Perugini for a cultural night out, Dante's Divine Comedy in the 14th-century chapel of Sant'Agostino in nearby Corciano. The last time I was in that chapel, Xtina and I tied the knot. This time, we were treated to Dante's bleak description of hell. The irony was not lost on me.

Afterwards, we stepped out a bit dizzy, feeling completely thick for having struggled through so much of it. I picked up a measly few lines here and there, much less than my high school days. Xtina, of course, was the exception. She enthusiastically would whisper the upcoming scenes and what was left out of the modern-day version.

Today, I don't feel so quite thick, reading about the difficulty of translating Dante into verse in English. This is from the New Yorker:

To reproduce the Comedy in English terza rima, it has been calculated, approximately forty-five hundred triple rhymes are needed.

Ok, I feel less thick.

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