Print

Print


Dear Venus,

Sorry, it doesn't get more befuddled; it just loses track of everything.  The 
value of years of reading is that at least one can still find it again if 
necessary.
Best,
Nancy


Date sent:      	Wed, 30 Jan 2002 11:44:58 -0500 (EST)
Send reply to:  	[log in to unmask]
From:           	Venus Freeman <[log in to unmask]>
To:             	[log in to unmask]
Subject:        	Re: Thoughts on "La Figlia che Piange"

No source, Nancy. Just my own poor memory--I wasn't remcalling my Dante
clearly, and didn't even take the time to go back to what Rick first said
about it.  A function of writing relatively late in a day that starts at 6
am.  I am hoping that my brain doesn't get too much more befuddled as I
get older.:) Venus

On Tue, 29 Jan 2002, Nancy Gish wrote:

> I think there is a confusion here.  Limbo is the first circle of Hell.
> The second circle is the circle of the lustful, in which are Paolo and
> Francesca. Both are in what you call "Inferno proper."  The prior circle
> is the vestibule which holds those who never chose.  But Dante and
> Virgil pass over Acheron from the vestibule of Hell into the first of
> nine circles before both Limbo and the Circle of the lustful.
> 
> What is the source of the claim here about a separate status of Hell
> after the first and second circles? Nancy
> 
> 
> 
> Date sent:      	Tue, 29 Jan 2002 22:38:37 -0500 (EST)
> Send reply to:  	[log in to unmask]
> From:           	Venus Freeman <[log in to unmask]>
> To:             	[log in to unmask]
> Subject:        	Re: Thoughts on "La Figlia che Piange"
> 
> Dear Rick,
> sorry I took a couple of days to get back to this.  I can't recall where
> I got this notion that Paolo and Francesca never touched--I am sure that
> one of my professors somewhere along the line passed this bit of
> information on to me.  And looking again at my Mandelbaum, I do find
> that Francesca says that "this one, who never shall be parted from me,
> while all his body trembled, kissed my mouth" (not bad  even in a
> translation)(lines 135-6). ANd this "never shall be parted from me" does
> support the reading you have offered (supported by many translators). 
> However, I am a little dubious, and only partly because I don't readily
> give up long-held convictions :). As Dante describes the torment of the
> circle at the beginning of the Canto, he says 
> 
> I reached a place where every light is muted
> which bellows like the sea beneath a tempest 
> when it is battered by opposing winds
> The hellish hurricane, which never rests,
> drives on the spirits with its violence:
> wheeling and pounding, it harasses them.
> When they come up against the ruined slope, 
> then there are cries and wailing and lament,
> and there they curse the force of the divine.  
> 
> Now, while this isn't even the Inferno proper yet (but as you note, the
> 2nd ring of Limbo), it still sounds pretty harsh to me, and clearly
> indicates that those who dwell there do so in misery.  ANd Francesca is
> clearly depicted as miserable, so much so that Dante is "moved to tears
> of sorrow and pity" (line 117)  When asked to tell her tale, she says
> "there is no greater sorrow / than thinking upon a happy time / in
> misery . . ." (121-123).  And she tells her tale "as one who weeps and
> speaks" (126). Now, perhaps it's only the romantic in me, but it seems
> to me that if one could spend eternity with the beloved, bound together,
> even in torment, then even torment would not truly be torment, and
> surely the misery would not be so great as that of which she speaks. 
> Granted, I can only infer, but the opposing winds of great force would
> seem to me not to allow the binding of these two together, though she
> does say that Paolo will never be parted from her.  Maybe I got my image
> of the two eternally blown near but never allowed to touch from the
> first translation I read, on which I can't lay hands at the moment, and
> admmittedly was quite a cheap translation by no one of any authority on
> the matter.  But I have maintained that image of their suffering very
> vividly in my imagination. And I still maintain that they are suffering
> punishment, which surely would not include being bound together.  it
> seems much more appropriate to me for them never to touch, like Tantalus
> in Greek mythology is "tantalized" by food and drink almost at his very
> lips until he reaches to consume it.  Such a punishment would seem to me
> to typify the sort of suffering dante depicts here, which does seem
> rather severe, especially for this early rung that isn't even in the
> Inferno proper (and actually the sins of some of the others, as well as
> Paolo and Francesca would seem to me, given the Catholic midset, to
> warrant something more severe than Limbo!  But perhaps once again Dante
> is playing with things a bit: is Ulysses' crime so much worse--as a
> false counselor, confined much further down, as described in Canto
> 26--so much worse than adultery and lust? hmmm.)
>  Anyway, these are my thoughts.  I am almost tempted to ask an old
> prof of mine who specializes in Dante.  I would guess he would cite the
> same sources as you, but I can't help but think that I didn't entirely
> invent such a vivid image that has stayed with me for nearly 20 years
> (yes, I am just barely old enough to have been reading dante 20 years
> ago, and NOT been a prodigy :).  Does it really make sense to you that
> such misery as Dante describes coincides with the kind of satisfaction
> you attribute to Francesca? genuinely curious, Venus 
> 
> 
> 
> 
>  On Sun, 27 Jan 2002,
> Richard Seddon wrote:
> 
> > Marcia and Venus
> > 
> > Venus: I second Marcia welcome in hearing your voice again.  You were
> > missed.
> > 
> > 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 speaking)
> > 
> >             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.
> > 
> > Rick Seddon
> > 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
> > book
> > > > that kills them. But is it really?  The problem, the reason for
> > > > their death and condemnation is because, as Mandelbaum translates
> > > > it, "they
> > read
> > > > 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
> > the
> > > > 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
> > Francesca
> > > calls the book a pander -- that is, the story of Launcelot's being
> > enthralled to
> > > love excited (to be coarse) Paolo and Francesca to their own illicit
> > > acts.
> > They
> > > resisted until their feelings were enacted in the story.  As you and
> > > Rick
> > do, I
> > > think it important that they were reading.  Compare this from
> > > Auden's "In
> > memory
> > > 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.
> > Anyway, Rick,
> > > 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
> > «quel
> > > giorno pił non vi leggemmo avante» ("that day we read no more").
> > >
> > > Marcia
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > 
> > 
> 
>