“On the Road with Dante”

“While The Divine Comedy most clearly reflects the Catholic faith of the poet and his medieval world, it hints at some principles the Reformation would bring to bear on the church two centuries later. Dante purposely wrote in a low style that would have popular appeal despite its highly spiritual subject matter. While the church produced works in Latin, Dante wrote in the vernacular. His choice was revolutionary, ensuring the work could and would be read by common men as well as by women and children (who still study the work extensively in Italian schools today).

“Despite its loftiness, The Divine Comedy is firmly grounded in the gritty and the mundane. In fact, Dante didn’t use the word divine in his title. He simply titled it Commedia, which at the time meant a work with a happy ending as opposed to a tragic one. (The word ‘divine’ was added by a later editor and has stuck through the years.) In casting a fictional version of himself as the central figure, The Divine Comedy is prophetically personal, confessional, and autobiographical. In this way it emphasizes a surprisingly modern sense of self-determination, one that foreshadows the famous ‘Protestant work ethic.’ Moreover, in its accent on the salvation and purification of the individual soul, this work of the Catholic Dante anticipates the spiritual autobiographies of Puritans such as John Bunyan. The Divine Comedy is a story of someone seeking salvation. In Dante’s own words, the poem’s purpose is to lead readers from ‘a state of wretchedness to a state of happiness.’ And while depicting salvation in the afterlife, it’s clear Dante intends readers to find abundant life in the here and now.” [. . .]    –Karen Swallow Prior, The Gospel Coalition, October 21, 2015.

Draco’s Marriage Pact: The Dante Inferno (2020) by Day Leclaire

The Dante Inferno: Draco’s Marriage Pact was written by Day Leclaire and will be published by DLI Publishing on April 17th, 2020.

“When Draco Dante experiences The Inferno with Dante family rival, Shayla Charleston, he isn’t the least opposed. In fact, he sweeps her off her feet and straight into his bed. What he doesn’t expect is for her to disappear after their one night of passion. Unwilling to let her go and with The Inferno burning in his veins, he spends months searching for her … only to discover Shayla is expecting his baby. Like, now!

“On the eve of her twenty-fifth birthday, Shayla Charleston has three goals. 1. Make sure her grandmother is taken care of. 2. Take off for Europe with her new boss. 3. Experience a one-night stand. Instead, she ends up in bed with the one man she should avoid at all costs … a Dante, her grandmother’s nemesis. [. . .]

Draco’s Marriage Pact is Book #7 in The Dante Inferno: the Dante Dynasty Series, a contemporary romance series by USA Today bestselling author and eleven-time RITA© (Romance Writers of America) finalist, Day Leclaire. This story features passionate Italian-American heroes, the scorching connection of The Inferno, and a sizzling romance between soul mates.”    —Amazon

The Dante Conspiracy (2018) by James Becker

The Dante Conspiracy was written by James Becker and published by Canelo Adventure May 28th, 2018.

“When the body of a poetry professor is found tortured in a deserted barn outside Florence, Inspector Perini is assigned to the case.

“No murder of passion, it is clearly a professional job. When, hours later, thieves break into Dante’s cenotaph, it seems the two crimes may be connected by some missing verses from the Divine Comedy.

“They could contain a code so valuable someone is willing to murder for it. But who? And why? As the bodies pile up, Perini is in a deadly race to find the secret before the killers. The truth will prove more shocking than he could have possibly imagined…” [. . .]    —Amazon

Dante’s Road: The Journey Home for the Modern Soul (2019) by Marc Thomas Shaw

“This spiritual guidebook follows in the footsteps of Dante on his journey through the Divine Comedy. A fresh, modern take on this path, the book invites us to explore these questions: what is my hell and how do I move through it? What is my purgatory and what lesson do I need to take away? What is my paradise; how do I get there and how do I stay there? With wisdom distilled from the great myths, scriptures, and the world’s mystics, this book is an invitation to ever-greater awakening and wholeness” [. . .]    —Amazon

Dante’s Road was written by Marc Thomas Shaw and published by Amanchara Books on February 27th, 2019.

Spiritual Direction from Dante: Avoiding the Inferno (2019) by Fr. Paul Pearson

“Hell and how to avoid it are perennial topics of interest for believing Christians and others. With good reason. Entire libraries have been written on the subject. Most people, even those familiar with his classic, do not realize that Dante Aligheri’s Divine Comedy, chock-full as it is of history and politics, is a masterpiece of spiritual writing. The most famous of his three volumes is the Inferno, an account of Dante’s journey through the underworld, where he sees the horror of sin firsthand. [. . .]

“A reading experience like no other, Spiritual Direction from Dante, will educate and entertain you, but most importantly, will help you avoid the inferno!”    —Amazon

Spiritual Direction from Dante was written by Father Paul Pearson and published by TAN Books February 4th, 2019.

Inferno at San Francisco’s Gray Area Festival

“I’m in the middle of the dance floor. The strobe lights above me are popping in time with the thundering kick drums and violent synth-bass rolling out of the speakers at 110 beats per minute. I’m shuffling to the rhythms, but I’m only able to control the lower half of my body. All of my movements from the waist up are being dictated by an exoskeleton strapped onto my trunk like a jacket.

“My arms jerk up and down and twist from side to side with the beat, but my own muscles aren’t doing the work; my flesh is being pushed around in space by the 45 pounds of metal, cable, and hydraulic cylinders running across my shoulders and down my arms. A robot is making me dance.” [. . .]

“The dance show, titled Inferno, is meant to be an experiential representation of hell, and I suppose it is, just maybe more fun. Inferno has been touring the world for a couple of years, and it made its US premiere in San Francisco this past weekend at the Gray Area Festival.” [. . .]    –Michael Calore, Wired, July 30, 2019.

Read more about Inferno and the Gray Area Festival on Wired.

 

La Divina Commedia Opera Musical a Torino nel 2020

“Prodotta da Music International Company, ‘La Divina Commedia Opera Musical’ può vantare un team creativo d’eccezione con 24 cantanti-attori e ballerini-acrobati, più di 50 professionisti eoltre 200 costumi utilizzati dal cast. Ad arricchire questa grande squadra ci sono poi gli oltre 50 scenari che si susseguono sul palco a ritmo serrato e tengono alta l’attenzione del pubblico di ogni età. Uno spettacolo assolutamente da non perdere che andrà in scena a Torino dal 24 al 29 marzo 2020.” [. . .]    —Guida Torino, 2019.

Contributed by Silvia Byer (Park University)

“Visions of Hell: Dark Souls cultural heritage”

“It’s hard to place a finger on the most recognizable reference to Gustave Doré’s incredible illustrations in the Dark Souls series. The artist, who in a short 50 year life span produced over 100,000 pieces, and illustrated many of the great works of world literature, haunts many a crooked corner of Lordran, Drangleic, and Lothric. Flicking through his illustrations for Dante Alighieri’s great masterwork The Divine Comedy (1320), it is impossible not to be reminded of the landscapes and demons of Dark Souls. On top of a sheer rock wall we see a clutch of figures, huddled like the Deacons of the Dark. In a shallow pool lie piles of corpses, twisted into an inseparable mess, like the horrible sights that await in the drained ruins of New Londo. The great king Nimrod chained, now a giant and no longer a man, echoes the lost ruler of Drangleic. It is no surprise that it is the first book of The Divine Comedy, Inferno, depicting Dante’s journey through hell, that brings us these images. Doré’s bleak, stony, and understated depictions of Satan’s kingdom so strongly contrasted with decades of medieval hellfire that had gone before. They are powerfully mythic images, ones that have been reached for again and again by artists in search of the power of the dark.

“Though iconic now, the success of Inferno was never assured. Many of Doré’s supporters called it too ambitious and too expensive a project, and so, in 1861, driven by his passion for the source material he funded its publication himself. His risk paid off, and the volume and its subsequent sister volumes Purgatorio and Paradiso, depicting purgatory and Heaven respectively, became his most notable works. A critic at the time of its publication wrote that the illustrations were so powerful that both Dante and Doré must have been ‘communicating by occult and solemn conversations the secret of this Hell plowed by their souls, traveled, explored by them in every sense.’ This plumbing of the depths of despair in search of beauty is the true thematic link between these illustrations and Dark Souls art. Like the monsters of Kuniyoshi, in Doré we don’t just see the aesthetic roots of Dark Souls, we see its themes—the concepts of loss, despair, and the allure of the occult sketched out in chiaroscuro black-and-white.” [. . .]    –Gareth Damian Martin, Kill Screen, May 11, 2016.

“Synetic Theatre takes us all to hell”

“Pushing a performer’s body to its limits has always been a Synetic hallmark, along with an eagerness to incorporate elements of whatever other art forms can help to embroider an evening’s subject. Classic mime, movie horror, military formation all come into play in Synetic’s interpretation of the “Inferno” portion of Dante Alighieri’s allegorical epic poem the Divine Comedy. (The production’s title has been changed from the original ‘Dante’ and then later, ‘Dante’s Divine Comedy.’)

“What remains is a narrative that skims the surface of the poem, as Dante himself, in the guise of the Tsikurishvilis’ red-cloaked gymnast son, Vato, ventures through the circles of hell with Virgil (Alex Mills). In Synetic’s version, Dante, suffering from writer’s block, is in pursuit of an afterlife reunion with his love and muse, Beatrice (an angelic Tori Bertocci).

“The story provides the Tsikurishvilis and their longtime collaborators, set and costume designer Anastasia Simes and soundscape composer Konstantine Lortkipanidze, with a canvas for some ghoulishly sinister stuff — another popular Synetic motif. Simes’s hell is decked out like some really durable parlor of sadomasochism, with demons in studs and leather and Lucifer (Philip Fletcher) looking like a sexy roadie for Marilyn Manson.” [. . .]    –Peter Marks, The Washington Post, October 5, 2016.

You can read more about Synetic Theatre and get tickets for their current season here.

La Divina Avventura

La Divina Avventura è un libro illustrato, in versi, che potete trovare nella vostra libreria di fiducia in tutta Italia.

La Divina Avventura è la Divina Commedia vista con gli occhi dei bambini e delle bambine, con gli occhi dei ragazzi e delle ragazze.

“Anzi, meglio ancora, ascoltata con le orecchie dei più piccoli perché il testo in versi è scritto per essere letto ad alta voce da mamme, papà, nonne, nonni, zii e da chiunque altro voglia tuffarsi nelle incredibili avventure vissute da Dante Alighieri attraverso i tre regni magici.” [. . .]    —La Divina Avventura website, 2019.

You can purchase a copy of La Divina Avventura by Enrico Cerni, Francesca Gambino, and Maria Distefano here.

Contributed by Enrico Cerni.