Mid-Life Crisis: A Guidebook

For centuries, all kinds of people have testified that Dante and his epic poem changed their life.

Midway along the journey of our life
I woke to find myself in a dark wood,
for I had wandered off from the straight path.

A 700-year-old epic poem may not be the first place you’d think to turn when life gets messy, painful, or confusing. But across times, cultures, and different walks of life, people say that reading The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri changed – or even saved! – their life. What is it that they find in this strange old book? 

In this episode of Life & Faith, Simon and Natasha hear from a scholar and also a few recent – and enthusiastic – readers of Dante about what this story of one man’s imagined journey through the afterlife (hell, purgatory, paradise) has meant to them. 

“Dante finds us in hard times,” says Professor Jane Kim from Biola University, who found herself returning to the poem during the peak of the pandemic. “I think for those of us who may be experiencing the proverbial midlife crisis or who may be feeling lost or stranded, Dante is reminding us that the midway point is the beginning of the epic, the middle is always the beginning of a new adventure.”

Explore: One Hundred Days of Dante