(Da) Homer, Dante, Joyce: Ontology, Heroes, and Hell

Novels require protagonists who grow from this to that. The development of the novel from epic poetry also required a “becoming.’ The epic hero conforms to customs and rituals to overcome obstacles; the modern hero develops new standards of ethics and behavior. This is the essential difference between Homer’s Odysseus and Joyce’s Bloom. In theContinue reading “(Da) Homer, Dante, Joyce: Ontology, Heroes, and Hell”

(Da) Virag’s Suicide: Tears Bloom

6 Not apple-trees were there, but thorns with poison. 7 Such tangled thickets have not, nor so dense,  8 Those savage wild beasts, that in hatred hold  9 ‘Twixt Cecina and Corneto the tilled places. (Longfellow, canto xiii)   In Dante’s Inferno, the poet gives his greatest attention to suicides who are violent due toContinue reading “(Da) Virag’s Suicide: Tears Bloom”

(Da) Guides through the Afterlife in The Divine Comedy and Ulysses

James Joyce acknowledged his debt to Dante (The Divine Comedy) when crafting Ulysses. The two masterpieces and the Odyssey and Aeneid that preceded them, each include the device of a guide (or guides through the afterlife). In Inferno, that guide is Virgil; in Ulysses, Mr. Leopold Bloom mentors the underripe Stephen Dedalus. Over the comingContinue reading “(Da) Guides through the Afterlife in The Divine Comedy and Ulysses”

(Da) Virgil, Bloom, and Dante’s Hillside Predators

—O, there you are, Mr Bloom said, turning from the fire. (“Calypso”)   When asked his status, Leopold Bloom might give Virgil’s answer: “Not man; man once I was” (Dante Canto i l. 67). Bloom lost his way by middle life, buffeted among three carnivorous beasts, becoming more peculiar in his ways. The catalysts forContinue reading “(Da) Virgil, Bloom, and Dante’s Hillside Predators”

(Da) Modern Bloom and Dante’s Medieval Virgil

Odyssey to Aeneid, Aeneid into Inferno, Inferno becomes Ulysses. A cavalcade of mentors leads pilgrims through Hell in these epics of Western Literature. In each case, it’s an otherworldly trek where above-ground physics stands on its head in simoniac fashion. Time is the first natural law to be violated. Early in Inferno, Canto I (Longfellow’s translation), we find… 37 The time was the beginning ofContinue reading “(Da) Modern Bloom and Dante’s Medieval Virgil”

(Da) Dante and Dedalus; Virgil and Virag

James Joyce, Flannery O’Connor, William Kennedy of Albany, and other writers have mined Dante’s philosophy and poetry for substructures to underpin their fiction. During the coming months, The James Joyce Reading Circle will post a series of essays to explore the connections between Ulysses and the Divine Comedy. Other connections may also be explored inContinue reading “(Da) Dante and Dedalus; Virgil and Virag”

(Da) about Angela Alaimo O’Donnell’s “Talking Back to Dante”: a Set of Verses Inspired by the Divine Comedy

I might have posted here that I wrote something comparing James Joyce’s story “Grace” to O’Connor’s “The River.” Both stories use Dante’s Inferno as a sub-structure. Last night we eavesdropped on Angela Alaimo O’Donnell’s reading “Talking Back to Dante,” poems written for– about–of– Dante’s Divine Comedy. The professor has done it again. In Andalusian Hours, AngelaContinue reading “(Da) about Angela Alaimo O’Donnell’s “Talking Back to Dante”: a Set of Verses Inspired by the Divine Comedy”

(GJ) Canto IXXX (p. 11, ll. 1-9).

From Joyce’s Giacomo Joyce: Tie My girdle for me and bind up this hair in any simple knot. An Original Haiku: Her authority/ Running kitchen and manor/ Swings pendulum-like/ About Giacomo Joyce XXIX: If you have been reading this blog, you may remember another mention of Beatrice Cenci by Dante in The Divine Comedy. In thisContinue reading “(GJ) Canto IXXX (p. 11, ll. 1-9).”

(GJ) Cantos VIII-IX (p.3, ll. 8-31).

From Joyce’s Giacomo Joyce: Mine eyes fail in darkness, mine eyes fail,/Mine eyes fail in darkness, love./ An Original Haiku: His mantra is forg’d/ “silence, cunning, and exile”/ of Padovan greats./ About Giacomo Joyce VIII-IX: During the 20th Century, Trieste’s flag shimmered iridescent from Austro-Hungarian to Italian, became an independent city-state’s banner, emerged Italian again.Continue reading “(GJ) Cantos VIII-IX (p.3, ll. 8-31).”