The Central New Jersey Home News from New Brunswick, New Jersey on December 1, 1974 · 59
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The Central New Jersey Home News from New Brunswick, New Jersey · 59

New Brunswick, New Jersey
Issue Date:
Sunday, December 1, 1974
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Sfcn C17 ' - aw"" v" ... XTW BRWSWICK, K.J.. STTVOAT. DEC. I. 1974 if i , . . pit ' ; : '1 f. hi -1 6-1 ,v I - , , . , I ill : II 1; ? VERIFIES DANTE Dr. John G. Demaray of Bridgtwater, left, holds photograph of Mt. Sinai between Egypt and the Holy Land which ha identifies as Mt. Purgatory of "The Divine Comedy" by Dante Aligh-ierl. His new scholarly text is on table. Dante, right, is shown standing before Mt. Purgatory i n Domeniee d) Mlchelino's fresco (ca. 1465) hanging in the Duomo, Florence. i t or 4 2f7 sr. , i . "i . Journey to Near East Author discovers Mount Purgatory A-.I Iff f t jff lylif'V- - v ' ttl ... . . .. " fit:'" . 8 fir I - i r - " r - I S4 i . ' i s K i - a! ! f A," ri- - By DORIS E. BROWN -Home News staff writer BRIDGEWATER The earthly model of the mountain of Purgatory so vividly described by the Italian poet Dante Aleghleri in "The Divine Comedy" has been discovered by Dr. John G. Demaray. The English professor at Rutgers University in Newark, who lives at Foothill Village here end also maintains an apartment In New York City Identifies ML Sinai on the embattled "southern corner of the Sinai peninsula between Egypt and the Promised Land" as the model for this way station for redemption of Christian souls graphically depicted by Dante and other medieval writers. He makes this identification in 'The Invention of Dante's Commedia," published by Yale University Press earlier this year in the United States and England and soon expected to appear in an Italian edition. The scholarly text written in such lucid language by the former New Jersey and New York newspaperman has been nominated for the Howard R. Mar-raro Prize as the best work in Italian and i Continental literature published this year. ; The award proposal cites De-maray's book "for its new and richly documented revelations about medieval conceptions of the physical world." The specialist in Renaissance literature was born in Bound Brook iri 1930 and is a graduate of Somerville High School. He was a reporter for the former Somerset Star in Somerville and editor and writer of radio and television news for the Associated Press in New York before he entered the academic field. : Recipient of a 1963 doctorate with honors from Columbia University, he has taught in this country and the Near East. While a graduate student, he was a lecturer at Hunter College and later taught English at the University of California. He also taught English at the American University in Cairo, was Fulbright-Hays professor of poetry at the University of Damascus and was assocate professor of Renaissance studies et the American University of Beirut prior to Joining the Rutgers faculty in 1970. Author of three books and a' number of academic articles. Demaray said he switched from news to scholarly writing because "I really got to the point where I wanted some things I wrote to last for a long time. That finally drove me into writing books. Books stay around." Demaray's early news training stands him in good stead as a scholar. "I try to write books that read well," he said. He digs as diligently and fervently as a reporter for his historical finds. Witness, the research for "The Invention of Dante's Commedia," that included more than five years in the Near East investigating medieval manuscripts, following forgotten pilgrimage sand tracks - and living in ancient monasteries on the Egyptian and Arabian deserts. "My wife and I spent a lot of time in medieval monasteries, including Mt. Sinai, a desolate place with 12 monks dressed like angels," he related. His wife is Dr. Hannah Disinger Demaray, assistant professor of English at Briarcliff College and an author and painter. She helped her husband in his research. He also credits her with fulfilling his. mission when illness prevented him from reaching the summit of Mt. Sinai. "Because I fell ill on the purgatorial mountain of the Exodus pilgrimage in that 'land beyond the sea,' it was she who ascended the full length of the mountain's ancient stone stairs, passed through a gate of confession and came to that summit where the pilgrims believed earth was joined to Heaven." His exhaustive study of neglected medieval manuscripts and maps in Near Eastern end European libraries and his personal examination of the 52 Stations of the Exodus (forerunner of the Stations of the Cross) on ancient pilgrimage routes convinced him that Dante mirrored the actual great circle pilgrimage of Christians to the Holy Land and Rome during the Roman Catholic Church's first Jubilee Year of 1300. "Once I found that Dante knew the stations," he said, "I knew I had to write about it." Demaray noted, "In 197S the Roman Catholic Church has proclaimed a pilgrimage to Rome. Over 20 million pilgrims . are expected to visit Rome and to venerate many of the holy places known to Dante and the medieval pilgrims. My book tells of the first pilgrimage in 1300 to Egypt to Jerusalem to Rome." Mt. Sinai on the pilgrimage, which Demaray identifies as Dante's Mt. Purgatory, long has been venerated in the Judeo-Christian world. He notes, "It was on Mt. Sinai that Moses received the Law, Elijah saw God and 'heavenly angels' descended." Demaray continues: " 'People of rank from the most distant parts of the world climbed Mt. Sinai to its summit using paths alternating with about three thousand four hundred stone steps set or carved into the mountain; the paths and steps are still in use today. In two places the steps pass beneath stone arches, also still in existence, constructed at the end of narrow, rock passageways." "Just as a guardian sat at the gate to Mt. Purgatory to receive penitent souls," he hotes, "so too at various times beginning at least in the sixth century monks sat at the archways, now called the Gates of Confession and St. Steven, refusing pilgrims permission to ascend until they had confessed their sins." Dante in the "Commedia," concludes the author, "unforgettably recaptures in figura the 'rear pilgrimage world once known to myriads of forgotten Christians who long ago roamed the earth's most blessed regions, whose footsteps over the centuries have worn hollows into Mt. Sinai's ancient, stone stairs." "Writing this kind of book was truly different." according to Demaray. "Often I was the only person working in the libraries of the desert monasteries or in the Oriental halls of the French Institute and the old British Cartographical Center, both in Cairo." Scholarship had its hazards, too. "Once In another Near Eastern city our house came under fire during a rveolution, and we had to lie on the floor," he said. "But things were peaceful in the monasteries, and the monks were always kind to my wife. A number of them asked to have their pictures taken with her." Franklin librarian-artist to have show in Douglass College series By DORIS E. BROWN Home News staff writer NEW BRUNSWICK - Byelc-russian-born artist Halina Ru-sk of Franklin, who takes her Inspiration "from the folk tradition of my native country," is exhibiting her unique paintings at Douglass College Library through Friday. Mrs. Rusak. who Is a librarian at Douglass is the fourth exhibitor in the "Women Artists Series Year Four" at the library. She 'described her art as "a visual statement of opinion based on non man-made ingredients of land composition." "The ideas incorporated in this presentation." she said, "stem from a belief that positive human values come front things that are 'wild and free. Mrs. Rusak feels, "it is time to redirect the arti'tic attention from negativistlc expression of man's environment, and to draw fresh inspiration in a new way from our natural surroundings." Her hard edge, stylized floral Images, which look as though they might grace a strange world in outer space, she said are "not a sentimental statement about flowers, but rather a symbolic interpretation of life forms." Although her "symbobsm and stylization derive from the folk 'tradition" of Byelorussia, which she left in her early teens during World War II, the artist revealed her "inspiration to use folk motifs came from my study of the svmbolic arts of a different culture: The North American Indians." Mrs. Rusak explained at the time of her first New York shew in SoHo 20 last March: "1 thick actually my art stems from my childhood, because I grew up in the country, I had the benefit and magic of the country." The unique style that has characterized her paintings in the past two years was sparked by interest "in American Indian art. I realized the American Indians represent nature in symbolic and stylized art." She said, "I just changed countries, decided why not go back to my folk art also very rich in tradition." Daughter of a Byelorussian school teacher who fled with his family to Germany in World War II, she worked In a German forced labor camp during the war and immigrated to this country with her parents in 1949. She is married to a Byelorussian compatriot, a mechani-- c-al engineer. r COLOR M Qp9 J AFC push-button locks in fine tuning for each channel. 95 solid-state for high performance and reliability,' Telescoping dipole VHF, bowtie UHF antennas. Model CX4160 MINIMUM FAIR TRADE PRICE 0 rx Tx OA LTU BORUP'8BBD MRS. G WEBER'S TV BETTER LIVINGBBD APPLIANCE CENTER 2960 Brunswick Pike & APPLIANCE 77 East Railroad Avenue 970 Amboy Avenue Trenton 882-1465 Georges Road Jamesburg Edison 2180 Nottingham Way Deans 826-1212 Trenton 883-6949 297-2110 B0RO TELEVISION COMPANY 286 Washington Road Sayreville CL 7-0848 DERBY APPLIANCEBED 1599 Lincoln Highway Edison 572-1212 GABOWITZ RADIO & APPLIANCE CENTERBBD Highway 18 East Brunswick CL 4-41 61 t.

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