Thursday, November 15, 2007

More on the Hollander Paradiso

A recent New York Times review of the Hollander version of the Paradiso can be found here. A snippet:

From that time on my power of sight exceeded
that of speech, which fails at such a vision,
as memory fails at such abundance.
Just as the dreamer, after he awakens,
still stirred by feelings that the dream evoked,
cannot bring the rest of it to mind,
such am I, my vision almost faded from my mind,
while in my heart there still endures
the sweetness that was born of it.
Thus the sun unseals an imprint in the snow.
Thus the Sibyl’s oracles, on weightless leaves,
lifted by the wind, were swept away.

Here, remarkably, Dante offers three similes in a row: he can express the inexpressible only by descending repeatedly into the physical world — the world where dreamers awaken, where snow melts in sunlight, where the Sibyl’s prophecies are scattered by wind.

No comments: