May 24, 2015

Dante in Space

The New Yorker alerted me that Dante is just about 750 years old and that the anniversary is being marked not just with a large number of celebrations but also with a special hashtag, #Dante750. The hashtag seems to be quite popular, but I haven't yet seen photographs with the cutouts of Dante as the article suggests. Open Culture actually linked to YouTube videos of the readings mentioned by The New Yorker, too.

Here's Samantha Cristoforetti, aboard the International Space Station, reciting from the Paradiso

And here's Roberto Benigni reciting the beginning of the Inferno.

Never mind that listening to Benigni calls to mind Kevin Kline in A Fish Called Wanda, that recitation makes me want more. I think I could listen to the whole Divine Comedy this way. (When I was first introduced to Dante, I read that translator John Ciardi was so moved by the poetry that he learned Italian so that he could read the work as it was written.)

An unexpected benefit of being reintroduced to Dante is that I thought to look for the Song of Myself marathon ahead of Walt Whitman's birthday next week. It's June 21 this year so I'll have plenty of time to look for a webcast or a Periscope stream.