I am excited to announce the first reading of The Purgatorio (Cantos 1-12) at the Plymouth Library on Sunday January 31 at 1:00 pm.

 We had a wonderful reading of The Inferno last year and we will reread the last Canto of The Inferno before we start the reading. You are encouraged to come to this reading even if you did not read The Inferno with us, the second canticle very much stands on its own. In fact in Canto I of The Purgatorio, if I remember correctly, Dante’s face gets washed of the grime and mists from travelling through “Hell” so that he can make a fresh start.

The Purgatorio is definitely my favorite Canticle among the three. Although very little can outdo The Inferno for sheer vividness of description and The Paradiso for its incredible attempt to describe a dream like vision of transhuman wonder, The Purgatorio is steeped in capturing the quality of being human.

W.S Merwin captures this very eloquently in the foreword of his translation of  The Purgatorio:

“In the years of my reading Dante, after the first overwhelming, reverberating spell of the Inferno, which I think never leaves one afterward, it was the Purgatorio that I had found myself returning to with a different, deepening attachment, until I reached a point when it was never far from me . . . Of the three sections of The Divine Comedy, only Purgatory happens on the earth, as our lives do, with our feet on the ground, crossing a beach, climbing a mountain. All three parts of the poem are images of our lives, but there is an intimacy peculiar to the Purgatorio. Here the times of day recur with all the sensations and associations that the hours bring with them, the hours of the world we are living in as we read the poem.”

I hope you can join us in our journey through The Purgatorio.

Prashant Andrade (fea_123@yahoo.com)