Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Mama Didn’t Lie

Jan Bradley
Here is a passage from “Dante: The Most Vivid Version,” a review essay by Robert Pogue Harrison (The New York Review of Books, 10/24/13) devoted to two recent translations of Dante (one of Dante’s Inferno by Mary Jo Bang and the other of The Divine Comedy by Clive James) and Dan Brown’s latest thriller Inferno : “The great metaphysical doctrine underlying The Divine Comedy is that time is engendered by motion. Like the medieval scholastic tradition in which he was steeped, Dante subscribed to Plato’s notion that time, in its cosmological determinations, is ‘a moving image of eternity.’ He subscribed furthermore to the Platonic and Aristotelian notion that the truest image of eternity in the material world is the circular motions of the heavens. Thus in Dante’s Paradiso, the heavenly spheres revolve in perfect circles around the ‘unmoved Mover,’ namely God.” In addition to being a professor of literature at Stanford, Robert Pogue Harrison, according to Wikipedia, is also a rock musician, who plays the lead guitar for a band named Glass Wave. This may explain why his locutions about time and eternity, which might be best compared to music, are so catchy. Like “Blue Moon,” or “Duke of Earl,”  you can’t get them out of your head. Here is another one by a long forgotten recording artist of the 60’s named Jan Bradley, which you may also find difficult to get out of your head. It’s called “Mama Didn’t Lie.” Listen to it.

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