“The concept of Beatitude in early Italian poetry?” That was the titel I intended for this post. I changed my mind though. The more reflective side on the writings of Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), Ludovico Ariosto (1474-1533), Torquato Tasso (1544-95) and their friends is for another day. I could say “for a rainy day”, but, that could be today so I won’t.
After having longed for many years to dive in to the writings of some of the greatest Italian Renaissance poets I have finally started. Slowly. It takes time. To say the least. After having read the compulsory writings of Machiavelli (the fascinating Il Principe, the never-ending Discorsi and the hilarious Mandragola) and some other basic writing for a classical education (whatever that means) I can finally delve in to books like Gerusalemme Liberata and Orlando Furioso without being tested on their content and having unnecesary questions on contextual analysis asked. Yes, I had a great time specializing in History and Art History of the Renaissance at university, but, nothing can compare with finding your own pace and inspiration when it comes to a subject you love. Agree? Like people who loves to cook and then thinks working at a reastaurant must be the best thing in the world. Not necessarily. When a hobby or a leisurely interest becomes work it just isn’t as fun any more.
That is what I think about when I go to a museum, read a book on art history or read Italian medieval or renaissance poetry. I could have been a researcher or curator but didn’t go down that route. Now I can just enjoy it for what it is, what it means to me. I can read and write what I want because I don’t need to jump through hoops to fit in. I love it. Just like Machiavelli’s Prince I can take advantage of the situation I’m in without having to think about the result for anyone else but me. Selfish? Not necessarily. When it comes to self-indulgent reading I find reading what you once had to read because it was on a reading list whenever you choose is the best feeling ever. It’s like you’ve broken loose from the shackles of Education and become friends with Learning. You have become friends with enlightened, voluntary learning and are able to enjoy it, able to sip every last drop of nectar out of the Cup of Knowledge. If that isn’t a great feeling, what is?