Why is Dante hot?

Arts, entertainment, and more.
March 26 2003 1:25 PM

A 21st-Century Man

Why is Dante hot all of a sudden?

(Continued from Page 1)

For both these reasons, however, it is doubtful that the Purgatorio will strike a chord in readers the way the Inferno has. In this second part of the trilogy, Dante journeys to the Mountain of Purgatory, where the souls of the dead work off their sins so they can eventually rise into Paradise. This time, however, the pains are not tortures but penances: The souls in Purgatory actively want to suffer, because they know it is God's will. This is an understanding of God that even devout Christians would find hard to accept today. What's more, the Purgatorio is filled with long discourses on love, sin, and the soul, on embryology and astronomy. It is not less marvelous than the Inferno, but it is more exacting and requires greater imaginative submission to the Dantean universe. Dante's purgatory and his heaven are magnificent, but they remain essentially foreign. Only his hell seems less like fiction than history.

Adam Kirsch is a senior editor at the New Republic.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

Medical Examiner

Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?

Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The World’s Human Rights Violators Are Signatories on the World’s Human Rights Treaties

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 11:40 AM The U.S. Has Spent $7 Billion Fighting the War on Drugs in Afghanistan. It Hasn’t Worked. 
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 1:12 PM George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Right of Free Speech
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Behold
Oct. 21 2014 12:05 PM Same-Sex Couples at Home With Themselves in 1980s America
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 21 2014 4:14 PM Planet Money Uncovers One Surprising Reason the Internet Is Sexist
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.