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La Vita Nuova

Here we are in Tuscany, homeland of Dante. His collection of sonnets La Vita Nuova (new life) did much for the establishment in European culture of romantic attraction as an access to transformation. Five centuries later, here’s Pynchon.

His life had been tied to the past. He’d seen himself a point on a moving wavefront, propagating through sterile history – a known past, a projectable future. But Jessica was the breaking of the wave. Suddenly there was a beach, the unpredictable… new life. Past and future stopped at the beach: that was how he’d set it out. But he wanted to believe it too, the same way he loved her, past all words – believe that no matter how bad the time, nothing was fixed, everything could be changed and she could always deny the dark sea at his back, love it away. And (selfishly) that from a sombre youth, squarely founded on Death – along for Death’s ride – he might, with her, find his way to love and joy. He’d never told her, he avoided telling himself, but that was the measure of his faith as this seventh Christmas of the War came wheeling in another charge at his skinny, shivering flank…

from Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon

See also my sonnet “La Vita Nuova”.

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