Today in 1302, we remember how the Italian poet Dante Alighieri was exiled from Florence. In exile Date wrote the celebrated work The Divine Comedy widely considered the most important poem of the Middle Ages and the greatest literary work in the Italian language. His representations of Heaven, Purgatory and Hell have had a massive influence on western culture, In todays pod we look at the history, politics and theology behind this work, and todays blog reflection below explores the pain of Exile and the creativity it can inspire.......
Reflection (Not in Podcast)
The experience of exile for many people is visceral, whether voluntary or forced as in the case of Dante. The Swiss doctor Johannes Hofer coined the term 'nostalgia' in 1688 in his dissertation to describe the anxieties displayed by mercenaries fighting away from home. One translation of the Greek 'Nostos Algos' is 'home-coming anxiety'. That dreaming of an idealised place or past can become a very powerful creative force. The Russian cultural Svetlana Boym calls this reflective nostalgia,. In her fascinating work 'The Future of Nostalgia' she distinguishes this from restorative nostalgia, where these powerful longings are 'ideologised' and harnessed by populist leaders who promise a new future based on a false understanding of the past.
Many of the earliest books in the Bible were written in exile in Babylon.