Dante Alighieri had a very bad fiscal 1302. His mission to Pope Boniface VIII ended in a betrayal, political rivals burned down his home in Florence and he was forced to flee into exile and condemned to die if he returned, accused of the rather ordinary and un-poetic crime of skimming money off municipal road repairs in his capacity as superintendent of widening and straightening roads, one of the many mundane duties the poet performed for his beloved native city.

But Dante made the best of it. While scrounging his living, he began writing Inferno, the first part of his Divine Comedy, inventing a fiery Hell and meticulously placing his enemies — including Boniface — one by one into it. The public embraced his creation. Dante was celebrated, both in his lifetime and without pause for the next 700 years, lauded as one of most important writers of the modern world, a titan alongside Shakespeare and Cervantes.

All in all, a fair recovery.

brian patrick cork

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