Saturday, 8 June 2013

What Did Dante Invent?

Michael Lista tallies it up:
He invented conceptualism; the idea of his book, and how it’s executed, is so brilliant that it predates by some 700 years Kenneth Goldsmith’s formulation that the best books are so good you don’t need to read them. The Divine Comedy is unlike any other poem in that its architecture alone is enough to make it famous; three books, or canticles, in the three realms of the afterlife, each containing 33 poems, each poem of which is composed of interlocking three-line stanzas, all pointing to the perfection of the triune god’s design. He prefigures the defining feature of post-modernism, the comingling of the high and low. For centuries scandalized commentators didn’t know what to do with Dante, who could marry the classical and the contemporary, who would dare debase the epic form by writing it in a vulgar vernacular, and pay equal attention to the afterlives of both the Virgin Mary and his political enemies. He revels in gossip, the come-back imagined too late, High Fidelity curatorial taste-making, and the essential, divine judgment of The Voice and The Bachelorette.

No comments: