|Dante & Marilyn
by Peter Y. Chou
for Professor John Freccero's
for Professor John Freccero's
During Professor John Freccero's Dante lecture at Stanford (5-8-2001), he quoted Paradiso XV.34-36:
He then said: Here's your homework assignment. Go to the Saints Peter & Paul Church in San Francisco. You'll find on the church's facade a "gloria" quote from Dante's Paradiso. Joe DiMaggio married Marilyn Monroe there.
The online Dante Concordance
gave 22 citations of gloria:
2 in the Inferno,
A ribbon of verse from Dante's "Paradiso" spans the facade and translates:
Searching through my Allen Mandelbaum translation of Paradiso,
"La gloria di colui che tutto move per l'universo penetra, e risplende"
"The glory of the One who moves all things permeates the universe and glows"
I had bookmarked dozens of news articles on Joe DiMaggio, when he died (March 8, 1999). In the New York Times photo galleries, I learned that the baseball great married Marilyn at the San Francisco courthouse on January 14, 1954. It turns out that DiMaggio married his first wife, actress Dorothy Arnold at the Saints Peter & Paul Church on November 19, 1939. I was disappointed in learning this fact. It would have been nice to have two of the greatest stars in sports and movies marry under the banner of Dante who knew something about stars.
However, I made some wonderful discoveries about Marilyn & Dante during the Freccero treasure hunt. It turns out that there may be some link between this famous American film icon and our Florentine poet. They were both born in the sign of Gemini. Marilyn on June 1, 1926, and Dante probably on May 30, 1265.
Platonic Lambda: Soul of the Universe is the sum of the two series
Now God did not make the soul after the body, although we are speaking of them in this order; for having brought them together he would never have allowed that the elder should be ruled by the younger... First of all, he took away one part of the whole , and then he separated a second part which was double the first , and then he took away a third part which was half as much again as the second and three times as much as the first , and then he took a fourth part which was twice as much as the second , and a fifth part which was three times the third , and a sixth part which was eight times the first , and a seventh part which was twenty-seven times the first . After this he filled up the double intervals [i.e. between 1, 2, 4, 8] and the triple [i.e. between 1, 3, 9, 27] cutting off yet other portions from the mixture and placing them in the intervals (Benjamin Jowett's translation of Plato's Timaeus 35b)
Did Dante & Marilyn know about the Platonic Lambda,
Dante cites the word star (26 stella & 29 stelle) 55 times in his Commedia.
When I saw the Christie's Auction Catalog
The Personal Property of Marilyn Monroe,
What are we to make of this? In the April 29, 2001 New York Times article about Marilyn, Why No Star Shines as Bright, Bernard Weinraub says that the world's most famous starlet remains an extraordinary pop culture icon, even more so today than 40 years ago... Monroe herself pleaded with a reporter in her final interview, shortly before her death: 'I want to be a serious artist. Don't make a joke out of me.'
When Lot #55 came up at the Christie's sale, the lights were dimmed, and Marilyn's "Happy Birthday" dress with 6000 rhinestones glowed and sparkled like stars in the night, reflecting its brilliance all around the room. It's interesting that the Christie's auction catalog cover shows Marilyn behind the letters "CHRIST", but her pose speaks silently about the Platonic Lambda, the Animus Mundi, the World Soul, whose message in Dante's Paradiso 23.34-39 tells us:
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