The poet Manuel Bandeira, in his Pasargada Itinerary, says that when they called his father “good”, the answer was always: “God is good”. Bandeira made his own version of the replica commonly adopted by his father. “Well, when I hear myself call a great poet, I always want to say: Great is Dante”, wrote the Brazilian.
Author of the poem considered the most beautiful of mankind, the Italian Dante Alighieri he died 700 years ago, on September 14, 1321. The anniversary of his death serves as a reminder of his undisputed importance to literature and other art forms. Because of the 700 years of his death, The divine Comedy, written between 1304 and 1321, will be sent into space next month. The work of the “high poet”, it is worth remembering, was written long before Gutenberg’s movable type, in 1439. The invention made possible the reproduction of paper books and their consequent popularization.
Now, the epic poem divided into three parts – Ihell, Purgatory and Paradise – will be engraved on titanium and gold plates, which resist the space environment. It is precisely to heaven, where Paradise is in Dante’s poem, that the poet advances from Hell. The three parts of the epic, by the way, end with the same word: stars.
However, it is here on Earth where Dante imagined his Purgatory in the form of a towering mountain, which provides a new incentive for those who have not yet read Dante.
At 88, the poet and art critic Armindo Trevisan publishes a kind of guide that encourages the reading of the Italian poet. For A Current Reading of the Divine Comedy (Editora AGE) works almost like a manual on how, and why, to read the epic poem. In his book, Trevisan practically acts as the poet Virgílio, a character in Divine Comedy that guides Dante through the Hell and Purgatory. With Trevisan’s help, the reader can venture to reach the Paradise, which is to read the Divine Comedy more than 700 years after the work was written.
Dante’s epic poem has a reputation for being difficult. With Christian references, allegories, characters who inhabited Italy in the Middle Ages and political conflicts at the time, the book is, to say the least, challenging. However, it was written at a time when oral tradition predominated. So one of its strengths is the use of rhymes. Including verses of The divine Comedy they were sung in the city of Florence, where Dante was born, even after the poet’s death, says Trevisan in his book. Music, as we know, is a universal language. Thus, here is one of the reasons given by the critic from Rio Grande do Sul for not being intimidated by the erudition of the poem: its musicality.
It is agreed that the musicality of Divine Comedy it is best expressed in Italian, the original language of the poem. But not knowing Dante’s language should not be an impediment to reading the work.
“The reader who does not know Italian can also read the Divine Comedy. It will lose some elements of Dantesque poetics, such as the incredible sound of the original, but will enjoy other possibilities. The genius of the Florentine poet is so great that a splash of his genius will reach the reader. The reader will realize that Dante has a unique worldview of history and Christianity. Furthermore, the translations, at least the best, which are those by Cristiano Martins and Italo Eugenio Mauro, give an idea in Portuguese of what the original is”, says Trevisan to state.
The editions of Divine Comedy they usually have texts presenting the work and footnotes to help understand the references. Also a poet, Mário Quintana even joked: “I’ve been looking for this bibliographical rarity for years: an edition of Divine Comedy no comments. Rarity? I don’t think there is such a thing as such…”, he wrote.
Trevisan recalls his friend’s irony in stating that “it is essential that Dante’s poetry once again overlaps with comments”. According to the critic, “Dante should be read – above all! – as a Poet”.
In addition to Virgílio, Dante’s guide along the journey through Hell and Purgatory, another famous character in the poem is Beatriz. Both met in childhood, in Florence, and met again in early adulthood. However, Dante’s passion for Beatriz was never realized. The poet had an unhappy marriage and several extramarital affairs. Trevisan devotes a chapter to the theme, under the intriguing title Dante and Beatriz: The most beautiful enigma of human love? Or: How an eight-year-old girl fascinated the greatest Poet of the West forever.
Dantologists often seek Dante’s explanations and motivations for writing the Divine Comedy. Trevisan does not seek this answer and recommends that the reader be satisfied with the work itself. “THE Divine Comedy it will still run a lot of ink throughout history. The best thing is to read it, prove that it exists, appreciate it as a sort of ‘literary mystery’ – the greatest of human verbal creativity in the Western world”, wrote the critic.