What's On Your Literary Bucket List?

Italo Calvino, A classic is a book

Both Calvino and Twain are right when they talk about the classics.


Italo Calvino, in his beautiful essay - Why Read the Classics says, "A classic is a book which with each rereading offers as much of a sense of discovery as the first reading."

Mark Twain then reminds us, "A classic is a book which people praise and don't read."

To which I plead "Guilty as Charged about Dante's Divine Comedy." So, after reading Dan Brown's fun novel - Inferno, which featured a thrilling suspense story designed around Dante's Inferno, I finally decided I had to read this classic.

Now, I am a rank amateur... hmmm... no, that's not quite right. I aspire to become a rank amateur about Dante's masterpiece. So I went looking for a few resources that would help me understand Dante.

I did a little research into what would be a good translation or two.

I decided to read Prue Shaw's, Reading Dante: From Here to Eternity to get a little orientation to the work. I settled on using Sinclair's translation, which also has the Italian in parallel columns. And so that will be one of my devotional forays for the rest of the year.

If Calvino is right, I won't ever really be able to cross Dante off my bucket list... for it will beckon me to return over and over. Well, the jury is still out on that one... but I'll let you know.

By the way, here is one of my favorite verses from Dante. It spoke to me when I was in that dark wood.

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International
BrianRice@lcileaders.org