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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Un(s)even: Another Day in Paradise

(cropped)

During the Middle Ages, the Earthly Paradise was 'described' in fictional adventures, including Dante's Purgatorio, or Biblical commentaries, rather than actually looked for. Renaissance explorations seemed to offer the thrilling opportunity to discover the true Eden. It was identified either with central Africa at the sources of the Nile (see Ariosto's Orlando Furioso), or with certain islands in the Atlantic Ocean, especially the Canary, or with America itself, or -- in the opposite direction, as Vasco Da Gama does in Camões' poem The Lusiads -- India. In Il Mondo Creato, Tasso lists some further hypotheses about the place of Eden: Does it simply mean the whole Earth? Or, was it that "third heaven" to which St. Paul was 'abducted'? Or, the Moon? Only Milton, in Paradise Lost, maintains that Paradise is lost forever, and for a long time now, having been destroyed by the Flood.