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Monday, February 16, 2015

Un(s)even: Starring Dante

(a bit cropped)

The masterpieces of Renaissance culture, Ariosto's Orlando Furioso to Tasso's Jerusalem-poems to Michelangelo's frescoes and verses, are stuffed with quotations from the Divine Comedy. But Tasso's long poem Il Mondo Creato is probably the first occurrence in which Dante himself appears as a character -- and, not as the 'dark author of Inferno' like in 19th century literature or 21st century video games, but as the poet of Paradiso. And even more than that: Since Dante's heaven is the same as the starry universe, he is described by Tasso as an astronaut ante litteram, who saw the true shape of the Earth from above.