In a message dated 2/11/03 9:46:34 PM EST, [log in to unmask] writes:
> The translation that Eliot was probably most familiar
> with goes:
> How icy chill and hoarse I then became,
> ask not, O Reader!
> for I write it not, because all speech
> would fail to tell.
> I did not die, and did not remain alive:
> now think for thyself,
> if thou hast any grain of ingenuity,
> what I became, deprived
> of both death and life.
> That is how he is indeed as he sees the infernal one,
> but it is also his final state of spiritual devolution
> before he exits hell to go on to purgation. That suits
> the condition of the fisher king before the resolution
> of the grail quest. [Also sounds an
> awful lot like the hollow men.]
It's not just that Saha pointed out what looks like an allusion to Inferno in
the hyacinth garden -- he also pointed out these other apparent Dante
allusions in the hyacinth garden:
The terrifying vision at the end of Inferno ("I did not die, and did not
remain alive") is then contrasted by Eliot to the luminous vision at the end
". . . ficcar lo viso per la Luce
eterna, / tanto che la veduta vi consunsi!"
(Paradiso, XXXIII, 83-84).
["I fixed my gaze on the eternal light so deeply that my entire vision was
consumed in it."]
"Looking into the heart of light", Saha claims, is the equivalent of Dante's
vision of being consumed in the eternal light, and the overall notion of
suspended being in "I could not / Speak, and my eyes failed" is the
"Cosi la mente mia tutta sospesa, / mirava fissa, immobile ed attenta . . . "
(Paradiso, XXXIII, 97-98) ["Thus with wholly suspended mind, I stared
fixedly, motionless and intent . . . "]
So Saha's point is that the structure of the lines in the hyacinth garden
section parallel the overall scheme of the Commedia itself, namely, a
combination of the vision at the end of Inferno, representing the ultimate
failure of love as personified by Lucifer, and the vision at the end of
Paradiso, focusing on the redemptive power of love.
It's the COMBINATION of overwhelming terror and overwhelming love,
experienced **simultaneously**, that needs to be explained in the hyacinth
-- Steve --