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What I learned on my vacation

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | Jul 30, 2003

In case anyone was wondering why I disappeared from this space last week, I was on vacation: a great, restful, sun-soaked week on the shore with my family.

And it gets better.

First, a confession: Up until last week, I had never read Dante.

So for my vacation reading, I took along the Diviine Comedy, in the Dorothy Sayers translation-- which provides wonderful explanatory notes to help a new reader understand the depth of Dante's artistry.

What a treasure! What a discovery! What a beautiful, insightful, rich work of art!

How did I live this long without ever making Dante's acquaintance? Why didn't somebody tell me?

Well, now I'm telling you. If you haven't read the Divine Comedy, you're cheating yourself. Don't be like me; don't wait. Start now.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Aug. 03, 2003 10:48 PM ET USA

    I would have told you sooner, but you never asked! Actually, I am about to soon read Anthony Esolen's new translation of Inferno-- he is a Professor of English at Providence College, RI who also has translations of Lucretius' De rerum natura and Torquato Tasso's Gerusalemme liberata. TS Eliot said that Dante and Shakespeare divide literature. There is no third. ps -- Ask about Greek Classics -- Homer's Iliad and Odyssey by Robert Fagles, etc.