The originality of women, Dante’s Comedy

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– ROME, AUGUST 17 – MARINA SAGONA ‘THE COMEDY OF WOMEN. The Comedy of women. Nine Women of the Divine Comedy ‘.

(Longo Editore Ravenna, 20 euro) Among the many editorial novelties sprouted in this 700/0 anniversary of Dante’s death, ‘The Comedy of Women’ by the Italian and American artist Marina Sagona deserves a special mention for the courage and originality of his Dante project. There is no certain iconography of the women met by Dante: Sagona begins his journey by depicting nine, three for each canticle, Francesca, Beatrice and Maria of course, but also the Harpies and the loose Whore. Her journey continues involving established writers (Judith Thurman, Sophie Gee, Jhumpa Lahiri, Nicole Krauss, Carol Musketeers-Dukes, Alice Sebold, Leslie Jamieson, Claire Messud and Anna Finder) who interpret her portraits giving us back the archetypal strength of the women of the Divine Comedy through personal stories, recovery of historical memory, acts of denunciation.

The result is a great self-portrait, where every woman can rediscover her own hell, purgatory or daily paradise, in a game of references in which art inspires other art and in which the story of one can become that of all. Like that of the Loose Whore, which Sagona represents us naked with four small holes in place of mouth, breasts and pubis. ‘Whores are holes’ writes Alice Selbod who precedes her narrative portrait set between the girls who sell themselves in Hunts Points, Brooklyn, and in the Tenderloin in San Francisco, from the epitaph dedicated to Jackie, a young homeless prostitute (16 / 9 / 91-8 / 8/14): ” If you are a girl and live on the street, you are raped. That’s just the way it is. ” Maria, who Sagona represents as an ethereal beauty teenager, peering at us from behind a blue veil, brings Anna Funder back to the story of an aunt who never recovered from having to give up her newborn son. After discovering that his son has become a philosopher and is sometimes interviewed by Australian National Radio, he sits in his kitchen 2000 km away, hoping to hear his voice. He is her only child and she, in her own way, is a virgin mother. Judith Thurman’s gaze on Francesca (whose clear face is the result of the space torn from black in the portrait of Marina Sagona) is also original: knowing of the decision to close Hell, she hesitates to return to the world of the living, as opposed to Paul pawing to go. A painful reflection on the passing of time, on how women experience love in the most advanced age, in old age.

The book – which uses the introduction of Column McCann and whose texts are proposed in Italian and English – is also a testimony of how much Dante is studied and loved in America.

For Martino Marazzi, professor of Italian literature who contributes to the richness of the project, the American Dante has a high female Ph and with the Commedia delle Donne one could almost speak of a Dante at the time of the me-too. The publication of the book in Italy was supported by the Ravenna Festival which thus strengthens its strong and original Dante connotation. (HANDLE).

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