Thursday, October 23, 2008

cold hell

Was listening to a podcast I'm intermittently fond of, BBC Radio 4's In Our Time. Don't know why it's called that as they are never talking about Our Time, but anyway this week they discussed Dante's Inferno. The host asked one of the scholars why--once Dante and Virgil make it past various lakes of boiling blood and pitch etc--why, at the very center of hell, the ninth and lowest circle is frozen over. This is the circle of traitors, where a three-headed Satan eats Cassius and Brutus in two mouths, and Judas with the third mouth. So I typed up what the guy said.



It is stillness--there is no life, and no movement, and no dynamism.

Now we come to something of infinite sadness there at the bottom of the pit--we come to something of infinite sadness, because everything is still, every possibility, every spiritual possibility, every--every possibility of establishing a love link--Dante speaks about a [??] vinco d'amore, a chain of love, which binds men rationally together--that has all now evaporated and been destroyed. So the first thing to say certainly about the pit there is that that horrific image of stillness -- the only movement is Satan's wings, that ensures that Hell is frozen over -- there is man's ultimate response to the creativity of God himself, and man's own energy--man's response to that, that tragic response, is caught there by Dante in nothingness, in stillness, in deadness.


John Took, Professor of Dante Studies at University College London


So is the idea that where trust is broken, where that human link is broken, all creativity and life stops? If so I really like that. In case Refraction Arts ever revives The North Project, which we should, I wonder if we could work this in.

3 comments:

mmwwah said...

J'adore *In Our Time*! I haven't listened to the Dante one yet, though -- maybe this afternoon.

mmwwah said...

I've now listened to this podcast, although I have nothing to add. Well, I have one thing: It's vinco d'amore (chainlink of love)

k said...

it SOUNDED like "vinco" but I couldn't find it online so I didn't trust myself. Editing post!