I can’t even begin to tell you the amount of books I’ve looked at over the past week. It’s definitely been in the billions! Okay…maybe not that many. Although it sure feels like it! The task of choosing one book to study for my Honors Seminar turned out to be a lot more difficult than I had anticipated. The odds were already against me, seeing as how I’m one of the most indecisive people on the planet. And here I am, Friday night, the night of my first blog post, and still can’t decide what to pick!
Then…it HIT me! BOOM! I said, “Katie,” (and yes I talk to myself), “Katie, what is the most interesting book that you’ve read…that’s also really old…and has fancy shmancy text and imagery…” BOOM! There could only be one winner, and here he is in all his glory… *drum roll please*
And there he is. My baby. The “Divine Comedy,” or “Divina Commedia” in Italian, brilliantly written by Mr. Dante Alighieri sometime between 1308 and 1321 (Mulder, 2012). Old AND beautiful! I can’t believe I didn’t think of it before now…
I read this book for one of my other Honors Seminars. It describes Dante’s journey through the three realms of the afterlife—Inferno (Hell), Purgatorio (Purgatory), and Paradiso (Paradise). Along the way he meets several interesting people and witnesses many different scenarios of punishment and reward. He even includes actual historical figures! That’s one way to get back at people you don’t like in real life… just throw them in Hell when you write your book! Haha!
Aaaaanyway, back to the “book” part. There aren’t any original manuscripts known to exist, but the story was so popular that several Italian editions popped up around the 1500′s. I obviously can’t get my hands on any ultra rare copies, so I’m using the edition pictured above as sort of a guide. It is from Barnes & Noble’s Leatherbound Classics collection and is a beautifully crafted book in itself. This particular edition was published in 2008 and features Henry Wadworth Longfellow’s reproductions of Gustave Dore’s classic engravings from the 1867 edition (Barnes&Noble, 2013). I thought those would be an awesome addition. I can’t wait to show you those pictures!!! This search has truly inspired me. I’m so excited to explore how my baby has evolved over the centuries… I hope you’ll join me!
Mulder, Megan. “Divina Commedia,” 2012. http://zsr.wfu.edu/special/blog/tag/divine-comedy/
Barnes & Noble. “The Divine Comedy,” 2012. http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/barnes-noble-leatherbound-classics-the-divine-comedy-dante-alighieri/1106658809