Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dante can go to Hell...oh wait, he already did!

Time for a personal post!

That's right, dear followers (of whom there aren't many...), I am updating. Mainly to avoid some of the mountain of homework that I really must complete sometime in the near future. The weather is absolutely beautiful outside, but I'm inside sitting at my desk. At least my window is open.

As for the title of this post, I want to explain that I have nothing against Dante Alighieri, nor against his Divine Comedy. It just seemed an appropriate title because I'm taking a class on the book; thus, a research paper is in the making (writing?), per the professor's requirements. Also, remembering the circles of Hell that Dante the Pilgrim sees in the Inferno is....hell.

Sorry, that's a rather hellish pun.

So was that.

And for proof that I truly am a literature nerd, this is what I'm currently reading as my not-schoolwork-book: The Dante Club, by Matthew Pearl. Literary murder mystery, starring Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes, James Russell Lowell, and other major figures of literary fame. Did you know Longfellow was the first American to translate The Divine Comedy? I want a copy of his translation now. It's probably epic.

Before picking up this glorious novel by Matthew Pearl, I did not know much of the poetry of James Russell Lowell. Actually, I only really knew the poetry and writings of Longfellow. So, I decided to look up some writings by the other guys. I shall leave you with this poem, even though it is not yet April:


by: James Russell Lowell (1819-1891)

      AY is a pious fraud of the almanac.
      A ghastly parody of real Spring
      Shaped out of snow and breathed with eastern wind;
      Or if, o'er-confident, she trust the date,
      And, with her handful of anemones,
      Herself as shivery, steal into the sun,
      The season need but turn his hour-glass round,
      And Winter suddenly, like crazy Lear,
      Reels back, and brings the dead May in his arms,
      Her budding breasts and wan dislustred front
      With frosty streaks and drifts of his white beard
      All overblown. Then, warmly walled with books,
      While my wood-fire supplies the sun's defect,
      Whispering old forest-sagas in its dreams,
      I take my May down from the happy shelf
      Where perch the world's rare song-birds in a row,
      Waiting my choice to upen with full breast,
      And beg an alms of springtime, ne'er denied
      Indoors by vernal Chaucer, whose fresh woods
      Throb thick with merle and mavis all the years.

"May is a Pious Fraud" is reprinted from Under the Willows and Other Poems. James Russell Lowell. Boston: Fields Osgood & Co., 1869.

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