It has been a while since I have written about poetry. I’m exploring lots of different things at the moment. I am working on a few different projects that I will be able to mention soon so I have not been watching or reading certain things as frequently as I used to.
I’m thinking about following a less structured approach and writing about what I gravitate towards rather than feeling like I have to watch something or read something specific.
I will still discuss movies, books, plays, poems, and short stories, but I also want to discuss writers, writing styles, picturebooks, music and so much more so I feel like I’m going to choose my topics more spontaneously for a while.
I have been to London and I am just home from Italy, as you will know if you keep up to date on my Instagram page @katelovesliterature.
In London I went to Shakespeare’s Globe and I bought some beautiful books, so lately I’ve been reading lots of Shakespeare and I would love to discuss his works in more detail. Stay tuned for that.
In Italy, we went to Florence and we visited the House of Dante. If you have not read my piece all about the trip then you should and you can if you click the link below.
That link will take you to my piece entitled Italy 2022 – Four Cities, Six Days.
In that piece, I spoke about our entire trip to Italy, including the day we spent in Florence.
My boyfriend and I both love Dante. We’ve both studied his work at different times in our lives so going to visit the House of Dante was a stop that we were both really looking forward to.
I would highly recommend it. I believe the entry fee was €8 each. It was beautiful. We really enjoyed walking around the house and seeing all of the history being displayed. Dante’s life and his contribution to literature was being celebrated.
Dante was one of the most influential poets. His work The Divine Comedy is an epic poem and it is considered to be one of the greatest and most important pieces in the Italian language.
Dante’s work was influential in many ways. Dante’s depictions of Heaven and Hell in The Divine Comedy have had a huge impact on how society today pictures Heaven and Hell because his work heavily influenced Western art. Dante’s work has been interpreted countless times.
It truly is amazing when you think about how Dante wrote this poem in the 14th century and yet the poem’s themes will always be relevant. The work asks questions such as what is evil?
I think about this question often in 2022. What is evil? One could look at the news and come up with a hundred different answers or more. People have clashing opinions about what is and is not evil.
I take this question, a question that Dante put forward in the 14th century, and I bring it into context in 2022, and I think about what literature does with that question today. I feel that this question has been expanded. Now, we don’t just ask what is evil? We ask how does something or someone become evil? We ask, is evil born or is it made? We think about concepts like nature vs nurture.
The questions and themes that exist in Dante’s work may have changed and evolved over time but the questions still stand. Dante could easily be studied alongside a contemporary work as I think it would be really interesting to examine how works from extremely different times tackle very similar questions.
Dante is also highly influential because he insisted on writing his works in Italian rather than in Latin. While The Divine Comedy is indeed an epic poem that tackles complex questions and portrays a man’s physical and emotional journey to Hell before he finds divine love, the poem is written in an easy-to-understand style. When Dante was writing this work, Italian was the language of the people. At this time, most poetry was written in Latin, however only the most educated readers would be able to read Latin and Dante wanted his work to be more accessible so he wrote in Italian and by doing so, he established using vernacular and colloquialisms. He even uses cheeky, dirty humour in his poems.
I think this is brilliant because even today, the arts being accessible to all is still a relevant topic. Tickets can be very expensive, academic journals can require a subscription, sometimes things are written in a style that is just too complex which means that not everyone can follow. Places are not always accessible to everyone. Being able to afford experiences and being able to attend these experiences is really important.
It is so important to acknowledge history. There was a time when only the rich could read.
Thankfully, over time, things continue to evolve. I have written about how I really loved the fact that theatre was live streamed during the pandemic so that theatre could be enjoyed from home and while I am delighted to be able to attend shows again, it is important to remember that not everyone can and we should not abandon other options just because we can be in an audience again. The arts being accessible is really important and shows were just one example of this.
I think it is pretty cool that we see things written in easy, straightforward, everyday language, we can nod to Dante because he felt that was important all the way back in the 14th century and it just demonstrates the impact that someone can have.
In the House of Dante, I bought a beautiful illustrated edition of Inferno.
I think my plan is to read it and then write about it in sections as it is a big work.
I look forward to writing more about it.
Have you read any of Dante’s works? Let me know.