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Dante’s Divine Comedy to float among stars


ROME: Italian epic poet Dante is going to heaven - again.

Dante, Italy’s greatest poet, divided his monumental Divine Comedy into three parts - Hell, Purgatory and Paradise. The allegory representing a soul’s journey to God is one of the world’s most influential works of literature.

Now, a copy of the entire Divine Comedy, micro-inscribed on sheets of a titanium and gold alloy, will be sent up into space and left there to float in the heavens among the stars that Dante wrote about.

The last word in each of the three parts is “stelle” (stars), including the famous final line which defines God as “The love that moves the sun and the other stars”.

“We knew there would be many special editions of the Divine Comedy coming out for this year’ 700th anniversary of his death and we wanted to do something totally different,” said Giorgio Amaroli, head of Scripta Maneant, a high-end art publishing house based in Bologna.

Dante Alighieri, often referred to as the “Supreme Poet”, lived in the Republic of Florence and his writings helped establish Tuscan as the standardised Italian language. He was exiled for political reasons and died in Ravenna in 1321.

For the space project, two sheets measuring about 29 cm by 43 cm and folded in four, accordion style, will each be inscribed with the entire poem of some 14,200 lines containing about 32,000 words. They will be sent up on a Soyuz mission from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station in the autumn. One will be released in space. The other will be signed by the astronauts and returned to earth in 2022. — Reuters

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