Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Dorothy Sayers and The Inferno

Thoughts which make one say "Hmmmm"

"That the Inferno is a picture of human society in a state of sin and corruption, everybody will readily agree. And since we are today fairly well convinced that society is in a bad way and not necessarily evolving in the direction of perfectibility, we find it easy enough to recognise the various stages by which the deep of corruption is reached.

Futility; lack of a living faith; the drift into loose morality, greedy consumption, financial irresponsibility, and uncontrolled bad temper; a self-opinionated and obstinate individualism; violence, sterility, and lack of reverence for life and property including one's own; the exploitation of sex, the debasing of language by advertisement and propaganda, the commercialising of religion, the pandering to superstition and the conditioning of people's minds by mass-hysteria and 'spell-binding' of all kinds, venality and string-pulling in public affairs, hypocrisy, dishonesty in material things, intellectual dishonesty, the fomenting of discord (class against class, nation against nation) for what one can get out of it, the falsification and destruction of all the means of communication; the exploitation of the lowest and stupidest mass-emotions; treachery even to the fundamentals of kinship, country, the chosen friend, and the sworn allegiance: these are the all-too-recognisable stages that lead to the cold death of society and the extinguishing of all civilised relations."

Schumacher, A Guide for the Perplexed, quoting Dorothy Sayers).

I suppose one should re-read Dante.

HT: The Truth of Things, a Green Bay blogger.


Billiam said...

Hang it all Dad! Now you go and give me ANOTHER blog that I'll have to visit every day. Why? Because it makes me think!! I like to not think from time to time! THANKS!!! What a pal!

Dad29 said...


Have a cigarette and calm down.

What's up on your trip to Brew City?

Billiam said...

I'd love to have one, but after 3 days, Wouldn't that crap all over the withdrawal I've already gone through? I'm finally less cranky! Lookin' like wednesday. Will e-mail.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your comment at my blog. The first one! I thought no one would ever read anything I wrote. How did you come across it?

I've been reading your blog for about a year and like it very much, though I don't agree with everything you say. In particular I think the war in Iraq was illegal, immoral and unnecessary (the first Irag war, too). Not that I'm a pacifist (I was 20 years in the Air Force) but wars should be defensive, only.

Dad29 said...

Thanks, RJP, for keeping up the "high end" of the blogosphere.

Anonymous said...

Re: bio-terror against Chicago. Probably Aquinas would say the same thing as Newman said, 'a deliberate venial sin is a greater evil than the destruction of the whole world."

At any rate, the Soviet Union had many lethal weapons aimed at us and China probably does so today. Yet, we never launched a pre-emptive strike against either.

Also, nobody seemed to object to the war in Afghanistan, at least in terms of just war theory.

My email is: Send me a note so I have yours. Thanks.

HughettP said...


I have to say that this is an excellent evaluation of Sayers' notes on the Inferno. Extremely informative and still fairly concise, you've grasped the meaning without losing important information. I'm a freshman in college, have read the Divine Comedy once and The Inferno about four times and i must say you have an excellent grasp on it. Writing a paper/ dissertation of sorts on the structure of Dante's hell an the placement of sins according to theological and moral sense and your blog was extremely helpful can't wait to see what else you have up your sleeve.

Anonymous said...

I was considering getting Sayers' translation. Your post convinced me.