Monday, August 22, 2011

The Dante Marathon ...

... and more: Elif Batuman in Hell and Paradise | The Book Haven. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Elif’s saga takes her through Florence, to Pisa, where she meets the forensic paleontologist Francesco Mallegni, who has reconstructed a facial likeness of Dante based on a “bootleg model” of the poet’s skull when the skeleton was exhumed in 1921. Mallegni also found and studied the body of the Inferno‘s imprisoned Count Ugolino, presumed cannibal who devoured the bodies of his own children in hunger. His conclusion? “The septuagenarian count, not having a tooth in his head, couldn’t possibly have eaten a child, let alone four grown men,” Elif writes.

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