I am so in love with my decision to take a class on The Inferno of Dante (Robert Pinsky translation) through the NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies. Instructor Eva Gold Bovi is terrific, so compelling in her manner and knowledge of Dante and the Italian language.
We have had two classes and read the first five Cantos and I am fascinated by so much. Dante has banished those who don’t take a stand, the neutrals, to Hell with the murderers. The virtuous pagans are in limbo because they had the misfortune to be born before Christianity existed. Of course, they also reside with the un-baptized. The push-pull between intellect and will is near constant.
I am learning about courtly love and how it elevates the hero, but it comes with an object of desire that is unattainable. Canto V, the most famous, is about lust and carnal sins and it is here that we meet lovers Francesca and Paolo, ordinary citizens placed among the likes of Cleopatra and Helen of Troy in Hell.
Sitting in a classroom across from Bryant Park, I am transported into “the hurricane of Hell in perpetual motion” for two hours each week. Take me away.