Roman Roads Press Blog

Author: Joe Carlson

Dante, Protestant

by Joe Carlson on Posted on

Ok, so of course I’m being provocative. Dante was not a son of the Protestant Reformation. His Comedy was published in 1320, a full 200 years before Luther said, “Here I stand…” at Worms. And yes, his epic poem is full of doctrines that make actual protestants squirm. He prays to Mary; he prays for the dead; he holds to a purgatorial state where, even if man is reconciled to God by the blood of the cross, sinful habits that remain at the end of one’s life still must be purged after death before one ascends to Heaven. So how … Continue Reading “Dante, Protestant”

An Intro to Dante, by Dante

by Joe Carlson on Posted on

This Article is an excerpt from the introduction to Inferno: Reader’s Guide. Dante Alighieri finished his Comedy (it was only called the Divine Comedy after his death) in 1320. He dedicated the final volume, Paradiso, to his friend and benefactor, the “magnificent and most victorious Lord, the Lord Can Grande della Scala.” In a famous letter written to his patron, Dante acknowledges the helpfulness of introductions. He says,  If any one, therefore, is desirous of offering any sort of introduction to part of a work, it behooves him to furnish some notion of the whole of which it is a … Continue Reading “An Intro to Dante, by Dante”

Hell is Obscene

by Joe Carlson on Posted on

For those coming to Dante’s Inferno for the first time, you might be surprised to find brief instances of vulgarity coming out of the mouth of the narrator. “This is a Christian poem…why are there bad words?!” And the question really is directed at me, as the translator. “Couldn’t you have used ‘crap’ or ‘poop’?” Well, I could have. But I didn’t, and I wanted you to know why. The primary reason is that Dante didn’t pull any punches, and so I didn’t want to either. But more than that, one of the great benefits of reading the Inferno, and … Continue Reading “Hell is Obscene”