Monday, September 21, 2009

The land of Honey and Cheese or Daniele Simoni's blog post

Due to laziness and a desire to widen the scope of my world view, I will start to have guest bloggers. And yes, I did steal the idea from DO.

The intention is to widen the scope of this blog, to bring in different ideas other than my own idiosyncratic view. It is to look at the familiar with a different set of eyes and to see something new in the staleness.

First to post is Daniele Simioni and his blog about Dante’s Inferno. Dan is Italian, about five foot odd and a former flat mate of mine.

Also, in other news it is my Polish Name Day so everybody sing ‘Sto Lat’.


Being Italian the word “poem” soon recalls La Divina Commedia by Dante Alighieri. Some info: The Comedy is one of the greatest epic poems of the Medieval Literature and it describes the journey of the protagonist through the afterlife, this intended in the Roman Catholic terms of Hell, Purgatory and Heaven, or as we say in Italian: “Inferno”, “Purgatorio” and “Paradiso”.

As a student, and an adult, I have always found the Inferno to be the most interesting of the three: this is because of the humanity which it expresses. All of the sufferings and the stories told are genuinely part of the universal human experience. The first place Dante walks through is the Limbo, where all the people who died un-baptized are. This is not a place of sufferings but it is a place of sighs, where neither happiness nor sadness is really known. Souls live in the constant hope of being saved by God. This is the place where the major figures of Poetry and Philosophy of the pre-Christian era can be found from Homer, Aristotle, Plato, Ovid and Seneca and many others.

Regardless, what are the moral implications of this stage of the Inferno? I believe that the Limbo stage is a paradigm of our society. We live in the society of knowledge, where science and technology replaced literature and philosophy. What does this mean? We are still looking for the truth, whatever the shape of it can be. We are still pushing our boundaries towards places where we hope we will find the light that can lead us all. In the final instance the need that few of us have of writing Poetry is an expression of it; this is the need that gives us the opportunity to discover ourselves and to be who we are meant to be. It is a constant tension towards the unknown.

We don’t accept any given answer: believing in God as it is described by Religions is a comfort zone, let’s get out of it.

In this respect, does it make sense to profess ourselves Atheist, Christian or anything else? And most importantly why every time I am with Matt watching Burnley play I assist to a massacre?


  1. Limbo is my favourite Circle....people aren't allowed in heaven because they were born before Jebus!!! It's fantastic!

  2. I have just spent the last half hour trying to publish that comment!!! Wish I'd written more now!

  3. Nice idea - and an interesting post - love that line "It is a constant tension towards the unknown."

    Belated Sto Lat!!

  4. hmmm, brain hurts. I love honey and cheese does that count? Is this Dan of the nighthawks evening variety?

  5. Niamh - it is a fantastic turn of phrase isn't it? It is probably due to the fact that Italian is quite a poetic language or that my mate is a 'coeur sensible'.

    Beedlemama - Honey and Cheese is something I saw for the first time ever in an Italian bistro, so it is wraps it up nicely. And yes, it is Dan from Nighthawks evening variety - £10 imaginery pounds to you

  6. Always feel free to steal my ideas - chances are I stole them from someone else!

    V interesting post... I read Dante's Inferno and was deeply depressed by the Limbo (more Lilt please) circle. Condemned because they were born before Jesus - unlucky. Sure, there's probably some deep message in there somewhere, but my puny brain just got stuck ont he image of Homer and co., stuck in some sort of doctors waiting room for eternity, never being called in to see Dr God...

  7. If you think about it, they must have been millions of people - who weren't scum (and some that were) - that were born, lived, loved and died before Jebus. So 'Limbo' would have to be more crowded than Paradise or Hell. And Dr's waiting rooms have no magazines so they'll be fights over the Marie Claire and Heat magazines

  8. 'This is not a place of sufferings but it is a place of sighs, where neither happiness nor sadness is really known.'
    Limbo sounds awfully familiar, I'm sure I've been there,does Dante mention Carlow at all?