I’ve been reading the Divine Comedy recently. It continues to astonish me. I remember reading it in college, as a freshman, and feeling quite certain that Purgatorio was better than the Inferno, and Paradiso was best of all. As time has gone on I have become only more aware that this is most emphatically a minority position; and I may attempt to put together an essay of my thoughts on this as I spend more time with the poet.
I took a look at my essay on Helen Luke’s reading of Dante – and she is one of the best commentators – and not surprisingly, her focus is on Purgatorio and Paradiso. This is where you will find the most sustained relevance, in Dante’s writings, to how we should live. And that is ultimately the most interesting question.