Marcia and Venus
Venus: I second Marcia welcome in hearing your voice again. You were
I was careless in my remarks about the book. A not unusual occurrence.
One of the major themes of the Divine Comedy is that admittance and
repentance is what defines whether a soul is assigned to hell or purgatory.
If the soul admits to their sin and repents it is assigned to purgatory
regardless of the sin. If the soul does not admit and repent then it is
assigned to a circle of hell dependent upon the sin.
Francesca blames the book for getting her involved in sin. She never has
admitted or repented of the sin itself. She does not repent therefore she
is in hell.
Venus: I find no mention in any of the translations I have that Francesca
and Paolo can't touch. I do find that they are together being blown around
in the noise and winds along with the souls of Dido and others. I cannot
find separation as a condition of their punishment anywhere. What Pinsky
translates as "those two who move together" the temple classics gives as
"those two that go together", Ciardi gives it as "with those two swept
together" and in fact Dorothy Sayers says "And hand in hand on the dark wind
drifting go". Furthermore, Ciardi translates line 100-102 as (Francesca is
Love, which permits no loved one not to love
took me so strongly with delight in him
that we are one in hell, as we were above.
McIntosh, NM, USA
----- Original Message -----
From: "Marcia Karp" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sunday, January 27, 2002 11:09 AM
Subject: Re: Thoughts on "La Figlia che Piange"
> Venus Freeman wrote:
> > I also appreciate the
> > point (whoever made it first--forgive me for forgetting and thus being
> > unable to give credit where it's due (was it Marcia?)) that it is the
> > that kills them. But is it really? The problem, the reason for their
> > death and condemnation is because, as Mandelbaum translates it, "they
> > no more that day." I do see the point that it was the reading together
> > that brought them to the moment of their sin. And I have always loved
> > perfect understatement of the line: it conveys a great deal by simply
> > telling us they put the book down.
> Dear Venus,
> How nice to hear your voice again.
> I didn't say that the book killed them, I think Rick S did, but that
> calls the book a pander -- that is, the story of Launcelot's being
> love excited (to be coarse) Paolo and Francesca to their own illicit acts.
> resisted until their feelings were enacted in the story. As you and Rick
> think it important that they were reading. Compare this from Auden's "In
> of W. B. Yeats":
> For poetry makes nothing happen: it survives
> In the valley of its saying where executives
> Would never want to tamper; it flows south
> From ranches of isolation and the busy griefs,
> Raw towns that we believe and die in; it survives,
> A way of happening, a mouth.
> I like the happy coincidence of Auden's mouth with the fatal kiss.
> here's a paper waiting for you to write in your semester's leave.
> You make a nice point in your observation on the tact and power of
> giorno pił non vi leggemmo avante» ("that day we read no more").