Title: Among the Lost (In Dante’s Wake: Book 2)
Author: Seth Steinzor
Date Publish: September 3rd 2016
Goodreads Rating: 3.5
Among the Lost, set in the modern American rust belt, is a meditation drawn from Dante’s Purgatorio. To Dante, Purgatory was the mountain where souls not damned went after death to cleanse themselves of sin in preparation for entering Paradise. What, Steinzor asks, are we preparing ourselves for, having lost the fear of hell and the hope of heaven, in the course of our daily urban existence? And whatever that is, how do we go about preparing for it?
How are you all doing?
Today’s post is a guest post from the amazing author of Among the Lost.
If you peeps don’t know about the story of the book, it’s a modern retelling of Dante’s adventure in the purgatory. Mr. Steinzor will be talking about heaven and hell. Let’s start!
What would a modern, non-religious American find inspiring in medieval Catholic ideas about heaven purgatory and hell? Let’s make the question harder – this American is not only non-religious, he was brought up outside the Christian tradition, the child of atheist Jews; and even if his parents had been religiously minded, concerns about the afterlife are far from central to the here-and-now focus of most Judaism. And in any event, among the various choices presented for this particular American’s delectation by his country’s vast religious smorgasbord, he is most attracted to the Buddhist flavors. What possible relevance would Dantean concepts of the afterlife hold for him?
A lot. Dante’s sprawling Commedia, a work that manages to ramify about as broadly, deeply and complicatedly into every aspect of human life as may be possible for a work of literature, is driven by a surprisingly simple if obsessively powerful mainspring: the relationship of morality to choice in a universe ruled by power beyond human comprehension. Tell me that’s not something every thinking person wrestles with, even today!
The question manifests itself differently depending upon which aspect of the moral world we are talking about. Regarding hell, Dante was concerned with explaining and illustrating how free will, animated by a loving creator, could be perverted to evil. These ideas are recognizable even to those of us who are not medieval Catholics. My vision of the inferno considers what difference it makes to remove the “creator” from the equation. In Purgatorio, Dante depicted the process of purification that souls not damned by their imperfections had to go through in order to gain heaven. My vision removes “heaven” from the equation. Finally, Dante showed us, in Paradiso, what souls look like whose will is congruent with that of god. My vision… well, you get the idea.
Thank you so much Mr. Seth Steinzor for your time!
Be sure to check out the book!
About the Author…
Seth Steinzor protested the Vietnam War during his high school years near Buffalo, New York, and his years at Middlebury College, advocated Native American causes after law school, and has made a career as a civil rights attorney, criminal prosecutor, and welfare attorney for the State of Vermont. Throughout he has written poetry. In early 1980s Boston he edited a small literary journal. His first, highly praised book, To Join the Lost, was published in 2010.
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