sábado, 7 de noviembre de 2009

Dante, Boccaccio...Burckhardt?




As anybody who has ever seen a Tuesday Teasers post can attest, there is indeed such a thing as too much information in the book blog world.  That being said, I guess this is still as good a place as any to state my intention to read all of Dante's Divine Comedy, Boccaccio's The Decameron, and even Jacob Burckhardt's The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy in the three months ahead.  All of my other reading in English, with the exception of Georges Perec's Life A User's Manual, Petronius' Satyricon, and books two and three from Sigrid Undset's Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy, will have to take a back seat to this project until it's finished.  No more excuses!  A presto, amici!

12 comentarios:

  1. I love love love love the Divine Comedy. So good! Especially Inferno.

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  2. Well, it's not exactly painful reading. Except perhaps parts of Paradiso. What great books, what great reading. Good luck.

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  3. I took an entire class on Inferno. Purgatorio we would read at the end of that class and the beginning of the next, followed by Paradiso. Unfortunately, I couldn't take the following course, so I've only read about half of Purgatorio. I've been meaning to read the rest - for about two years now.

    I've skipped around The Decameron. More than any other centuries-old book I've read, this one definitely proves that human nature has not changed.

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  4. Good luck! I think you're insanely ambitious — more power to you! (Do you mean to say you will continue to read non-English books while taking these on?)

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  5. Good luck!!!
    I love those books, I'm ashamed that even though I am Italian I haven't read them from the beginning to the end. I guess that studying them at school kills the intention to read them afterwards. "Dante's Inferno" is a difficult book, you need an edition with a lot of notes to really understand the meaning of each reference. "The Decameron" is easier to tackle, some of the stories are just hilarious! And yes, humanity hasn't changed much since the book was written, strange but true.

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  6. *Lu: Of the three titles within the Comedy, I've only read the Inferno in its entirety so far. I expect I'll feel the same as you when I'm done, but I could kick myself for putting this off for so long. Grrr.

    *Amateur Reader: The challenge, such as it is, is for me to finally come to grips with these works in their complete states rather than in the partial versions I've experienced in the past. I don't expect any particularly painful reading as a result, but I do look forward to meeting these works on my own much-delayed and hence necessarily somewhat guilt-ridden terms! Thanks for the encouragement.

    *E.L. Fay: I envy you that class on Inferno! I've read that part of the poem at least twice before with great enjoyment, but I've always stalled out somewhere in the middle of Purgatorio for some reason whenever trying to read the work in sequential order. Weird. Thucydides' history of The Peloponnesian War is my main centuries old go-to book for proving that human nature hasn't changed, but I imagine The Decameron will illustrate some of those same truths in a less depressing way!

    *Isabella: You wouldn't think I was insanely ambitious if you only knew how long I'd postponed reading these works in their entirety, but thanks for the well wishes nonetheless! As to your question about non-English reading, yes, I have the usual slate of fine Spanish and Latin American novelists that I'm dying to read lined up for my reading pleasure throughout the length of this project. Also hope to brush up on another language or two as time allows, but just trying to read a nouvelle in 19th-century French lately has made me realize how much my skills in that have declined of late. However, I will persist. In the meantime, happy reading!

    *Stefania: Isn't it funny how you can love a work and still somehow put off reading it through until the end? I don't have that one figured out at all, but maybe what you say about having to read things for school helps explain the situation. In any event, thanks for the "good luck" and the advice about Inferno--I'll be doing some supplementary reading on Dante as I move along, but I'm more interested in enjoying the process than understanding everything at this point (both things would be great, of course). Ciao!

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  7. This is so bizarre - between this post of yours and my post on Augustine, it's a heavy-duty revisiting of that seminar I was talking about! We read Burckhardt in it - I actually quite enjoyed him. History from such a different era, in which is was acceptable to make HUGE sweeping generalizations about the collective "character" and personality of huge groups of people (Venetian, Florentine). It struck me as both naive by modern standards, and also kind of freeing - like, if only history were so simple, things would be a lot easier. I don't know if you've read Thomas More's Utopia, but Burckhardt speaks to that book in really interesting ways.

    Anyway, good luck with your project!

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  8. While that's a great anecdote, Emily, I have to cop to being at least half-inspired by your Penguin Great Ideas series to want to take on something similar of my own project-wise at some point. In this case, though, I initially was only shooting to finally finish reading The Decameron (a formal "plan" delayed from the very beginning of the year). However, I then started thinking that it wouldn't quite be right to read that without first (or at least concurrently) also finally finishing Boccaccio's hero Dante's Divine Comedy. Burckhardt, whom I've only read in fragments before, then seemed like a logical addition to those two since he writes about both B & D (pardon the abbreviations!) as part of his history. Immediately, a rather half-assed reading project was born! I don't know if this helps explain some of the parallels with your seminar and recent Augustine post or not, but it's funny what you say about Burckhardt since the guy who wrote the introduction to the text levels many of the same criticisms (and praise) of him as you do. Anyway, thanks for your tip on what to expect from Burckhardt and the info on More. Cheers!

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  9. Good luck, Richard! Have not read any one of those, although have been meaning to read Dante for years. Will follow your progress..

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  10. I've been meaning to finish reading the Divine Comedy for years, Claire, so I know how you feel. Thanks for the support!

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  11. What great reading you have ahead of you! Enjoy!

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  12. Thanks, Rebecca--looking forward to it! Cheers!

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