A few months ago I wrote the following review of The Divine Comedy by Dante:
I’m currently reading – only a few cantos left of Paradiso – part of The Divine Comedyby Dante which I read a few years ago in Oman but it all went way over my head. I have read it again these past few weeks aided by a decent translation with insightful introductions and commentaries and have discovered a theology that has stood, more or less, the test of time. Over seven hundred years in fact. Not bad considering the poet dealt with philosophy, science, theology, politics, culture, society, myths, The Greeks, The Romans, love and God. And all of it in a Tuscan vernacular verse that became the standard Italian which Italians speak today. Dante broke new ground and remains a beacon of light for atheists and agnostics alike. If you fall into one of these unfortunate self-inflicted categories it might prove wise to switch off the television, radio, computer, Ipad, Iphone, mobile telephone; stop reading the newspapers; and read a book that offers the reader an eternal choice. It has been said that rational knowledge is not the ultimate purpose of human existence and after reading Dante I must agree.
I recommend reading Dante twice over. Read the Penguin edition for the introduction, notes and commentary and is published in three parts: inferno, purgatory, paradiso. The edition printed by OUP, however, is said to be the best translation available. Dante not only expands the mind but is contrary to the corrosive effects of modernism. The books listed below are highly recommended and a fantastic antidote to a world infiltrated by atheistic secular humanism:
1.The Divine Comedy by Dante (Penguin edition for excellent notes & commentary)
2. The Gulag Archipelago by Alexandr Solzhenitsyn
3. Saint Augustine’s Confessions (Penguin edition)
4. The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila by Herself.
5. Diary by Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska
6. Edmund Campion: A life by Evelyn Waugh.
7. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
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