is there any chance that purgatory is not completely horrible?

(101 Posts)
Mitchy1nge Thu 21-Mar-13 14:43:49

I imagine it is exactly like hell, all fiery torment etc but temporal, with possibility of release at some point, instead of eternal. Please can I be wrong about this?

sieglinde Mon 25-Mar-13 08:06:50

Which is more than Mantel did. Thanks!! blush

Oh, I like that.

You make him come alive.

sieglinde Sun 24-Mar-13 14:19:52

More? You have to read the securely attributed works. He was funny. Very rude. Dry, ironic. Loved Lucian's Dialogues. Got it about the Greeks. So not a prude, not a goodyguy. Smart as paint, but quick whiplash smart. Probably spoke w/ a not-RP accent - didn't sound posh. Utopia is a brilliant Carollian puzzle game for smart boys.

Oh, sure, I know. It's the constant 'argh' issue with anything Norse, all of it and not just Snorri. But still ...

What was he like, then? Go on! (Maybe we need a separate thread but I want to know and I bet others do too).

sieglinde Sun 24-Mar-13 13:51:04

Love the ON connections, but what makes it blurry is that Snorri WAS a Christian - so Norse myth as we have it is most likely influenced by RC thought.

Agree that there was nothing liberal about More - the Bolt play is about Mccarthyism - but he wasn't like Mantel's portrait either.

YY I love Sayers. Proppa Dante people don't like her, but it's really readable and not wrong. I love all the diagrams, too.

More is quite patronizing to his wife in the TV version of Man for All Seasons.

I do still have a tiny More-crush, though. blush

I was chatting to my mate who does Old Norse stuff today, and she was saying that the ON ideas about what happened when you die sort of map onto Purgatory, too. There's an idea that different kinds of people go to different places, and some are better than others. I wonder how much the pre-Christian beliefs influenced ideas about Purgatory? Because if it was only formalized as doctrine as late as the Council of Florence, there might have been a lot of room for interpretation, mightn't there?

TunipTheVegedude Sat 23-Mar-13 16:07:14

I love that point about Wolf Hall too. I never saw it in those terms before but I was getting irritated by how nearly all the novels I've seen about this period are from the point of view of the Protestants laughing at the funny superstitious Catholics with their relics. It felt somehow too easy for us to do it that way all the time.
I have to confess though, one of the things for which I am most grateful to Mantel is that Wolf Hall cured me of my 25 year old crush on Thomas More blush I re-read A Man For All Seasons after that and the way More is basically a 1960s free thinker suddenly seemed pretty absurd.

You're not being a crank! grin

And besides, isn't that half the fun, being cranky and critical? I like that point about the differences between 'what would be like' and 'what would it be like for me'. But isn't Dante also culpable of this one? It's not 'what would purgatory be like' but 'OMG, I'm, like, sooo down with the purgatoriads! But, you know, a little bit better really ...'.

Interesting what you say about the Booker judge. One of my old supervisors was on the committee recently and I would really have loved to know what his views on each book was, because I remember him having, ahem, decided opinions. It's so easy to forget the comittee won't have been unanimous (or it is for me).

mad - I heard someone claim Sayers translations are in some ways the best version. Are they good? I've only just got into her books but I'm enjoying them. smile

My copy of Purgatorio has died. I dug it out yesterday and it fell to bits in my hands. sad Feel free to tell me which new version I would buy, were I to spend my not-existant cash. Parallel text would be ideal because my Italian isn't up to it.

GetOeuf Sat 23-Mar-13 12:19:02

What a fascinating thread. I love mumsnet for stuff like this, I have got lots to read.

MadHairDay Sat 23-Mar-13 11:59:03

Well, this thread has taught me something new too. Love MN smile I've found the Dorothy L Sayers introduction to Dante's Purgatory, and found it very interesting - didn't realise that something of the idea of purgatory went back as far as Origen for example. Certainly not a mediaeval idea in fullness.

As for Wolf Hall, I also gave up a third of the way through and was annoyed at the lack of naming attrition, dh however got through it and said it was worth it in the end. Not sure...

sieglinde Sat 23-Mar-13 11:47:29

Pan, I hope you love Mantel. Lots do. Though I had a long cosy chat with a former Booker judge who is ABSOLUTELY NOT RC and she turned out to loathe it even more than I did. Can't out here, but let's say she really questioned the choice of it.

I just think she/Mantel is pandering to the totally, drearily normal use of historical fiction to ask NOT 'what would it be like to live in the sixteenth century?' but 'what would it be like for ME, wonderful modern ME, to live in the sixteenth century?' IIRC, James Wood said this about Mantel. It could be said about many.

But don't mind me, LRD and others. I'm a widely known crank.... grin

On purgatory, I was thinking the other way around... purgatory is the incredibly stupid boring valueless bits of THIS life we somehow can't let go of, like the internet, especially Twitter, and TV we KNOW is stupid, and toxic people, and dull jobs, and the grease behind the cooker... but forever, until we can/do let it all go.

Pan Fri 22-Mar-13 19:36:08

<realises this is wandering well away from Mitche's OP>

Pan Fri 22-Mar-13 19:33:33

I've got two days in a hotel on my own coming next week for a worky thing in far far away land (well, Boston Lincs actually) - I'll take Hilary with me.

Isn't there LOTS of material in the Bible that directly addresses the immediate conduct, and translates as 'you as God?'. Which is the basis of 'ethics'.

Later developments, such as 'confession' (bearing witness to yourself) and actual 'prayer' are tools to bring you closer to the 'better you' i.e. the ethical you.

It's not lightweight. (It's interesting to compare to the turn the thread on spelling's taken, about what we're conditioned to read, if anyone else is on both).

I wondered if she was doing it because that's how a lot of books then are, too? I'd love to say I like it because I'm used to medieval books not marking speech, but it's actually because I have the concentration span of a gnat and I'm very accustomed to losing my thread in books anyway.

TunipTheVegedude Fri 22-Mar-13 19:06:25

The trick is, Pan, that if you don't know who it is that's speaking, it's Cromwell.
Hope you enjoy it! It took me two goes but the second time I really got into it and loved it.

Pan Fri 22-Mar-13 19:01:54

A friend of mine bought me Wolf Hall, as she thought I'd like it. but I couldn't get past the lack of speaker ascribing. Light weight that I am. Time to girdle my reading loins and have another go.
<learning much but not getting past the 'purgatory is in the here-and-now' thing. It's like 'judgement day'. That's now and how you behave here. Judgement Day is every day. Nice thought.grin>

(Not to imply it shouldn't, btw, it's just I love it.)

Non-Biblical teachings aren't 'snuck in', it's just that being keen on keeping only to teachings that are in the Bible is not so important in pre-Reformation Christian denominations.

pan - know what you mean! If nothing else I've got to re-read Wolf Hall and see why it annoys sieg so much!

Chocolateporridge Fri 22-Mar-13 18:45:50

Happy to confirm that Purgatory and Hell are not actually Bible teachings, they're teachings that have snuck in through the back door over the ages. There are no scriptures that mention them. Sometimes the word "Hell" is used in some Bible translations but it comes from the translation of the words "Sheol" which is the common grave, or "Gehenna" which in Israelite times was the dumping area outside of the city. The Bible teaches that we "go back to the dust" when we die and that we will be "conscious of nothing" . smile

Pan Fri 22-Mar-13 18:38:22

Isn't this just a great thing about MN? I have just read loads and been massively informed by other posters with knowledge and 'conceptual insight' about this stuff. By just logging on here.

As you were...

No, sorry - I've not read that, only Stripping the Altars and Marking the Hours. I think they're lovely books and I love his enthusiasm about it all. It's just I know how some people view those books.

It is hard to estimate lay devotion ... but that's what makes it fun! grin I love how what we think about the past is influenced by what we believe now, and what we believe now is influenced by what we think about the past.

I don't share your views on Mantel, but I can see her books get at you!

sieglinde Fri 22-Mar-13 18:04:14

Oh, good. I thought you must be thinking of Fires of faith.

It's kinda impossible justly to estimate lay devotion in ANY period, but what great about TSOTA and indeed the Voices of Morebath is that he's pushing back at the previous consensus, which was utterly Whiggish and just assumed the laity didn't understand a word and were all closet Lollards. But then others like Shagan have pushed back at Duffy...

I'd actually incline to the view that everyone's beliefs motivate their work. But Mantel isn't then restrained by a wish to get at a complex truth. She's quite keen to make it simple.

Oh, goodness, I don't think he's vindictive at all. I think he presents a rather over-sugary version of late-medieval Catholicism, is all. Lots of people would take issue with how active and engaged in religion he thinks laypeople were.

I meant to suggest there are people on both sides of any debate, whose personal beliefs get into their work.

sieglinde Fri 22-Mar-13 17:47:01

Duffy is RC, but I don't think he's as vindictive in The Stripping of the Altars as he later becomes in Fires of Faith, and even then he's not as vindictive as Mantel. grin And C Haigh has no agenda of this sort.

Oh, that's a pity. sad I didn't know.

I love the kind of historical fiction where there's a note at the back telling you all the bits where the author played around with the facts, that sort of thing.

But, then, doesn't Eamon Duffy (sorry to keep going on at him, I do love his books) have an equally explicit agenda? And he's not writing fiction, either.

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