Elizabeth Coggeshall, “Bad Apples and Sour Trees”

“Among the Times photographs, there is an image of a Black protester in Atlanta, cutting through the smoke, his open palms raised. He cries out, a vox clamantis in deserto, in righteous rage against the injustice that killed George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, and countless other Black Americans. His defiant approach is a picture of the words Virgil uses to describe his charge at the entrance to Purgatory: ‘He goes seeking freedom, which is so precious, as one knows who gives up his life for its sake.’

Par. 28, Arielle Saiber and Guy Raffa for “Canto per Canto: Conversations with Dante in Our Time”

“Angels are like technology. Dante has to create a new language to describe the indescribable. What is extraordinary in the natural world is a tool to represent what is itself beyond representation. These are only some of the themes that [Dante Today founder] Arielle Saiber and Guy Raffa discuss in their conversation on Paradiso 28, a canto that is, in many respects, a canto of transitions – from material to immaterial, from looking down to looking up and forward.” -Leonardo Chiarantini

Canto per Canto: Conversations with Dante in Our Time is a collaborative initiative between New York University’s Department of Italian Studies and Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, and the Dante Society of America. The aim is to produce podcast conversations about all 100 cantos of the Divine Comedy, to be completed within the seventh centenary of Dante’s death in 2021.

Audinate’s DANTE (Digital Audio Network Through Ethernet)

“While Australia-based Audinate’s Dante is one of several competing protocols for communicating multiple audio channels over standard Ethernet and IP networks, it has led the industry in media attention, awards and licensing agreements with an impressive list of partners. With applications in live sound, recording and conferencing, Shure jumped on board in 2012 and joined the ranks of Allen & Heath, Yamaha, and many, many others. Dante represented an opportunity to bring a high performance plug-and-play experience to users of Shure’s ULX-D digital wireless system, SCM820 Automatic Mixer and Microflex Wireless.

“In this post, we’ll address a few of the basics, so that the next time Dante comes up in conversation, you won’t be thinking of the Middle Ages poet who wrote the Divine Comedy [. . .].”   –Gino Sigismondi (Senior Manager, Shure Systems Support), “What You Need To Know About Dante,” shure.com

Contributed by Pete Maiers

Glensound’s Inferno

“Inferno is a commentary system for a single user, or for a large multi commentator system. Connections use network audio cabling, either directly to the GSI-DARK88 break out box, or across a structured network. The Dante audio protocol is used to transport the audio, making the system flexible and programmable as part of a larger Dante system.”   –“Inferno” info sheet, Glensound

Glensound is a UK-based manufacturer specializing in audio hardware for live sound, studio, and broadcast. Besides Inferno, their products include units called Beatrice, Virgil, Styx, and Divine, all of which integrate with Dante-based systems.

DANTE is a digital media networking technology produced by Audinate. The acronym stands for Digital Audio Network Through Ethernet.

Contributed by Pete Maiers

RuPaul’s Drag Race: Vegas Revue S01E02

“On Season 1 Episode 2 of Rupaul’s Drag Race: Vegas Revue, Yvie Oddly claims that she is ‘in the seventh circle of hell’ when describing the chaos backstage of a live performance.”   –Contributor Ellie Marvin

Watch the full episode, which aired August 28, 2020, on VH1.

Contributed by Ellie Marvin (Florida State University MA ’21)

“Dante’s Inferno has always been so funny to me…”


“Dante’s Inferno has always been so funny to me because its this really important classic that is constantly referenced, but at the same time it’s really just a burn book. Dante Alighieri is Regina George and he wrote an entire book about a bunch of people he hates and why he hates them. Dante took out his pink gel pen and wrote out in big cursive letters: Achilles is a slut.”   —aphrodarling on tumblr (April 24, 2019)

Regina George is the antagonist of the 2004 film Mean Girls.

Contributed by Kate McKee (Bowdoin College ’22)

Guy Raffa, “There’s a Special Place in Dante’s Inferno for Wafflers and Neutral Souls”

“Dante’s Divine Comedy, an epic poem recounting the Florentine’s journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise, remains the go-to guide to the afterlife, the world’s most famous travelogue for the great beyond. But Dante matters more than that. Dante’s encounters with the dead offer enduring lessons for the living, including one that speaks with vital urgency to us today.

“Consider California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s press conference on June 5, 2020, as a Dantean case study. The governor insisted that ‘we’—institutions and the community at large—must change to combat systemic anti-Black racism. Urging individuals to ‘take a stand,’ he quoted the medieval Italian poet: ‘Dante infamously said that the hottest place in hell is reserved for those in a time of moral crisis that maintain their neutrality.’ The lesson drawn by Gov. Newsom? ‘This is not the time to be neutral.’

“This might be the place for me to stop, tear out my hair (or what’s left of it), and object, ‘Dante never said those words! They imply that neutrality is the worst sin for Dante, but treachery is, and the punishment for that sin isn’t fire but ice!’ But I won’t do that, because the complicated life of this fictitious quotation is so deeply embedded in U.S. history that the correction is pointless.”   –Guy P. Raffa, “There’s a Special Place in Dante’s Inferno for Wafflers and Neutral Souls,” Zócalo Public Square (August 31, 2020)

See also our posts on the use of the famous (mis)quotation by Martin Luther King, Jr., and John F. Kennedy.

The Leeds Dante Podcast

The [Leeds] Centre for Dante Studies runs a podcast, which can be subscribed to freely from anywhere in the world. The podcast is designed both to enrich undergraduates’ study of Dante, and to be of interest to a broader audience.

“The Leeds Dante podcast offers regular short items on three major areas:

  • Key Moments in the Commedia: a series of brief commentaries on short passages selected from the Commedia;
  • Interviews with scholars about their recent work on Dante;
  • Reviews of recent publications of interest in Dante studies.

“Individual talks and lectures held in Leeds are also made available for download.

“The podcast is available in MP3 format, and is freely available to listen to on your PC or portable device. You can also subscribe using iTunes.”   — Leeds Dante Podcast Homepage

Episodes can also be downloaded directly from the homepage here.

Dante Today readers will be especially interested in the “Conversations on Dante” series, which features discussions with scholars doing original research on Dante’s reception beyond the Middle Ages, and especially in contemporary culture. Kudos to our colleague Matthew Treherne (Univ. of Leeds) for his wonderful interviews and insightful discussions!

“The Battle for a Baseball Season,” The Daily (July 24, 2020)

On the July 24, 2020, episode of the New York Times podcast The Daily, host Michael Barbaro chats with reporter Mike Schimdt about the 2020 baseball season, which had difficulty getting off the ground due to disputes between owners and players on how to safely and successfully play ball amid the 2020 outbreak of the novel coronavirus. The episode compared the troubled negotiations of the 2020 season with that of 1994, which was halted following a contractual dispute between players and owners that resulted in a players’ strike. In archived audio recordings in the episode, fans respond to the canceled 1994 season. To the question, “So what are you going to do [now that the season has been suspended],” one fan replied:

“I already know what I’m going to start doing. I’m going to start rereading Dante’s Inferno, because that’s where I think they should send the whole lot of them.”

You can listen to the episode here or read the transcript here.

Christopher R. Miller, “Purgatory Is for Real” (Review of G. Saunders’s Lincoln in the Bardo)

“The afterlife has also been having a cultural moment in recent fiction, but typically in the form of something other than heaven—call it, for lack of a better word, purgatory. In the popular television series The Good Place, the vaguely named realm of the title turns out to be something else entirely, and its characters find they have their ethical work cut out for them. Two recent novels have also set their action in a postmortem limbo, with similar narrative implications: George Saunders’s Lincoln in the Bardo (2017) and the Finnish author Laura Lindstedt’s Oneiron (just published in an English translation by Owen F. Witesman) imagine versions of the bardo, the Tibetan Buddhist transitional state between death and rebirth.

[. . .]

“From the perspective of the petal-scented heaven that Saunders intimates, the ghosts are the myopic schlemiels, but their fear of ‘leaving behind forever the beautiful things of this world’ takes on a touchingly quixotic grandeur. Writ large, their sense of peril, uncertainty, and loss has obvious allegorical resonance, suggesting both the president’s interminable state of mourning and the nation’s passage through war and precarious rebirth. In this, Saunders’s bardo is not unlike Dante’s purgatory—a place of unfinished business, nostalgic longing, imaginative engagement with the living, and above all, therapeutic forms of work.”   — Christopher R. Miller, “Purgatory Is for Real,” Public Books, May 23, 2018