mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli

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Come Armageddon! (50)

Dante's Divine Comedy by Seymour Chwast.

Cadis & Ganges,
perpendicular to Hell,
free human cities.

I think this book & The Unwritten are probably behind my strange genderflipped Frankenstein dream last night. I have to admit, I don't have a prior relationship with Seymour Chwast-- to me his artwork reminds me of the Fletcher Hanks comics in I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets & You Shall Die By Your Own Evil Creation!. Chwast retells the Divine Comedy with a sort of Dick Tracy Noir Dante & Oliver Hardy look-alike Virgil. For me, hands down, the best parts are the map of the the world prefaceing "The Inferno" & the map of the heavens before "Paradise" (10, 94). That is the sort of stuff I've got notebooks full of. I'm also charmed by how Chwast doesn't gloss over the heavy political message of The Divine Comedy-- he doesn't just focus on the devils, or the journey, but also the petty political bickering that underlies the whole saga. Not to mention Dante's condemnation of usury-- like the Bible, Dante pretty clearly condemns the entire underlying mechanisms of modern capitalism (30, 36). There are a few pages I'm almost inclined to want a print of; for instance, the alchemists in the tenth pit of the Eighth Circle of Hell (50). There are little artistic flourishes that really catch my eye as well-- the way Chwast draws Geryon makes him look like me, if I had a mustache (35, 36). I liked the details on the angels, too-- the flaming sword outside of Purgatory & Gabriel's pilot garb were cute (72, 125). It had been a while since I'd read The Divine Comedy, so I was pleasantly surprised by the rose in Paradise, with the angels buzzing like bees-- it reminded me of Stephen King's Dark Tower series, but also is just a beautiful imagine in & of itself (124).
Tags: books, chwast, haiku

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