Monday, March 27, 2006


Evil Smells

Sebastien-Roch Nicolas de Chamfort, Products of the Perfected Civilization. Selected Writings, tr. W.S. Merwin (New York: Macmillian, 1969), p. 192:
One could apply to Paris St. Theresa's definition of Hell: "The place that stinks and where no one loves."

On pourrait appliquer à la ville de Paris les propres termes de sainte Thérèse, pour définir l'enfer: "l'endroit où il pue et où l'on n'aime point."
There are apparently smells in hell other than the odor of fire and brimstone, if we can judge from Dante, Inferno 21.136-139 (tr. John D. Sinclair):
They wheeled round by the dike on the left; but first each pressed his tongue between his teeth at their leader for a signal and he made a trumpet of his rear.

Per l'argine sinistro volta dienno;
ma prima avea ciascun la lingua stretta
coi denti, verso lor duca, per cenno;
ed elli avea del cul fatto trombetta.
See also Dante, Inferno 28.21-24 (tr. John D. Sinclair):
No cask ever gapes by loss of end-board or stave like him I saw who was ripped from the chin to the part that breaks wind.

Già veggia, per mezzul perdere o lulla,
com'io vidi un, così non si pertugia,
rotto dal mento infin dove si trulla.
Dorothy Sayers translated "dove si trulla" as "fart-hole".

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