Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Moral Therapeutic Dante

The Southern Bookman writes about the upcoming Divine Comedy self-help book. Excerpt:

Conservative writer Rod Dreher is cutting his way into the self-pity-therapeutic literature market staked out on the left by Anne Lamott. Dreher, who wore his heart on both sleeves, pants legs and shirt collars in his memoir of his late sister, Ruthie Leming, recently discussed his further bouts of depression and how he's cured himself by reading Dante. His account of his continual self-actualization appeared on the front page of the Wall Street Journal's Review section on Easter Saturday.

Dante's great poetic work is really a self-help book, Dreher says. Why, one of Dreher's correspondents even quit smoking by reading Dante. Somehow, I missed the canto about the Marlboro Man in one of Dante's circles of hell.

Dreher's "The Little Way of Ruthie Leming," tells the story of Dreher moving back to his hometown of St. Francisville, La., and rediscovering the importance of community from the support given his family through the illness and death of his beloved sister, Ruthie. He moved back home after a dispiriting stint in New York and Washington as a budding conservative pundit. Dreher's book gives a memorable portrait of his sister and delivers an in-depth examination of small-town life, but his emotional extremes ruined the book for me at the end.

My shelf is devoid of anything by Anne Lamott, but I do have some for Dummies books. But there's no Dante for Dummies book yet. So I was thinking that maybe Dreher is writing for that imprint, a division of Wiley. Or even better he could start a whole new brand of Can Save Your Life books. If that happens, I want to sign the contract to do How Blessed Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius Can Save Your Life just for the Trivial Pursuit card.

Do people still play Trivial Pursuit?

1 comment:

  1. I'm afraid Trivial Pursuit is about to become an answer of one of its own questions . . .