Donna Distefano’s “The Love That Moves the Sun and the Other Stars” Ring

“I created a one-of-a-kind ring inspired by Dante’s The Divine Comedy, Paradiso, Canto 33, The Final Vision. I’ve studied The Divine Comedy in both English and Italian and have always loved the way the poem combines so many seemingly disparate elements: mythology, realism, love, judgment, geometry, and astronomy to name a few. In Canto 33, Dante faces God and sees ‘the Love that moves the sun and the other stars.’ It is the moment when his life on earth intersects with his life outside of this earth.”   –Donna Distefano

The ring, which features pieces of actual meteorite, was featured in the exhibit “Out of this World: Jewelry in the Space Age” at the Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville, Georgia (November 7, 2020 – October 24, 2021). In Style magazine did a piece on it, too (see image below).

See also our previous post on Distefano’s “Elixir of Love” ring.

Contributed by Donna Distefano

Skinny Puppy, “Dig It” (1986)

Canadian industrial rock pioneers Skinny Puppy released the single “Dig It,” from their album Mind: The Perpetual Intercourse (Nettwerk Records), in 1986. The cover art for the single features Gustave Doré’s illustration of Farinata degli Uberti rising from his tomb among the heretics of the sixth circle (canto 10).

Read an interview with graphic designer Steven R. Gilmore, who designed the single’s cover art, here.

Watch the official music video for Skinny Puppy’s “Dig It” on YouTube.

Contributed by Alexa Kellenberger (Florida State University ’22)

“The Wines of Dante’s Inferno”

“We, the Ancient Wine Guys (Dr. Dana DePietro, Dr. Jeff Pearson, Ti Ngo, and Ryan Wihera), are thrilled to be collaborating once again with renowned winemaker and chef Pietro Buttitta of Prima Materia Winery to present the latest in our ongoing series of wine lectures and S.H.A.R.E. fundraisers: The Wines of Dante’s Inferno. In a unique retelling of this classic and foundational text, we follow Dante Alighieri and his guide, Publius Vergilius Maro (Vergil), as they journey through the Underworld and meet a litany of unfortunate souls condemned there to atone for their sins. The evening will feature nine unique and delicious wines (one for each level of hell!) inspired by Dante’s text and world, along with three full courses of food pairings created and professionally prepared by Pietro. We hope you can join us for this special summer evening of literary, oenological, and culinary exploration!”   —S.H.A.R.E. Ticketing Page

The sold-out event will be held on July 30, 2021, at the Prima Materia Winery (Oakland, CA). All proceeds benefit the Society for Humanitarian Archaeological Research and Exploration (S.H.A.R.E.), a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that uses archaeology as a tool to promote peace and dialogue in Israel/Palestine.

Contributed by Rachel Duke (Florida State University)

Martha Beck, The Way of Integrity (2021)

“In The Way of Integrity, Beck presents a four-stage process that anyone can use to find integrity, and with it, a sense of purpose, emotional healing, and a life free of mental suffering. Much of what plagues us—people pleasing, staying in stale relationships, negative habits—all point to what happens when we are out of touch with what truly makes us feel whole.

“Inspired by The Divine Comedy, Beck uses Dante’s classic hero’s journey as a framework to break down the process of attaining personal integrity into small, manageable steps. She shows how to read our internal signals that lead us towards our true path, and to recognize what we actually yearn for versus what our culture sells us.

“With techniques tested on hundreds of her clients, Beck brings her expertise as a social scientist, life coach and human being to help readers to uncover what integrity looks like in their own lives. She takes us on a spiritual adventure that not only will change the direction of our lives, but bring us to a place of genuine happiness.”   —

Ned Denny, B (After Dante) (2021)

“Gustave Doré’s Beatrice is disappointingly bland, a strapping damsel in a nightgown, not that fierce beauty whose name the poet can barely utter. His angels, however, are sublime. It was important to me that we have an uplifting image on the cover, Dante being so associated with the infernal regions and the austere features of his face (which the large B was originally to have overlaid). A comedy is, of course, a story that ends well, and what better end could there be than coming face to face with ‘eternal light’? Such is, moreover, the ‘joy that man is meant for.’

[. . .]

B was supposed to have come out in 2020, seven hundred years after the original’s probable 1320 completion (this latter number inscribing itself, miraculously, into the actual structure of the poem). Yet, happily perhaps, and due only to a delay in the editing process, it is instead appearing on the 700th anniversary of not only Dante’s death but the last Cathar’s prophecy – spoken from the flames – that ‘in seven hundred years the laurel will grow green again.’ It is also May, month of the Virgin, with the sun having just entered Gemini (Dante’s natal star and mine).”   —Ned Denny for Carcanet Press, describing B (After Dante), his 2021 translation/adaptation of Dante’s Divine Comedy

“Published to coincide with the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death, Ned Denny’s baroque, line-by-line reimagining – the follow-up to his Seamus Heaney Prize-winning collection Unearthly Toys – shapes the Divine Comedy into nine hundred 144-syllable stanzas. Audacious, provocative and eminently readable, tender and brutal by turns, rooted in sacred doctrine yet with one eye on the profane modern world, this poet’s version – in the interpretative tradition of Chapman, Dryden and Pope – is a living, breathing Dante for our times. Hell has never seemed so savage, nor heaven so sublime.”   —Carcanet Press

Purchase B (After Dante) from Carcanet Press here.

Read Denny’s full blogpost here.

Seth Steinzor, In Dante’s Wake (3 volumes)

In Dante’s Wake is a journey in poetry through the moral universe, from blinkered evil to heaven’s networks by way of the muddled-up places in between.

“Once Was Lost, the third and final volume of the trilogy, finds heaven on a North Atlantic beach, beginning with a breakfast of fried claims at sunrise, moving through encounters with people whose lives have been a blessing to humanity, and ending in a series of visions of psychedelic strangeness and power.”   —Seth Steinzor’s Website

Fomite Press published Steinzor’s Once Was Lost on June 18, 2021. Each of the three volumes of In Dante’s Wake revisits one canticle of Dante’s CommediaTo Join the Lost (Hell), Among the Lost (Purgatory), and Once Was Lost (Paradise). See our previous post of Steinzor’s To Join the Lost here.

Contributed by Seth Steinzor

Garry Wills, “The Bishops Are Wrong About Biden—and Abortion” (June 27, 2021)

“What is the worst crime a society can commit? Some people (I among them) would say the Holocaust, the cold methodical murder of six million people just for being Jews.

“But some Catholics and evangelicals say they know of an even greater crime — the deliberate killing of untold millions of unborn babies by abortion. They have determined that a fetus is a person and abortion is therefore murder. This is a crime of such magnitude that some Catholic bishops are trying to deny the reception of Holy Communion by the president of the United States for not working to prevent it.

“No one told Dante that this was the worst crime, or he would have put abortionists, not Judas, in the deepest frozen depths of his Inferno. But in fact he does not put abortionists anywhere in the eight fiery tiers above the deepest one of his Hell.” [. . .]   –Garry Wills, “The Bishops Are Wrong About Biden—and Abortion,” New York Times (June 27, 2021)

Read the rest of Wills’s opinion piece at the New York Times.

See also this response to Wills’s essay in The National Review, which includes an extended discussion of Dante and his era.

Contributed by Hilary Barnes (Widener University)

Stefano Jossa, “Dante e Pinocchio, Fratelli d’Italia” (June 5, 2021)

“Quando una democrazia è debole ricorre ai simboli che unificano: simboli spossessati di qualsiasi rapporto con la realtà e funzionali alla rappresentazione di una comunità ideale. Servono, questi simboli, a eliminare i conflitti e favorire l’armonia: che è fittizia, naturalmente, perché una società moderna, democratica e funzionante si dovrebbe fondare sulla differenza anziché sull’omologazione, tranne nei casi in cui l’uniformità venga costruita a forza, com’è avvenuto storicamente, ahinoi, con i regimi totalitari. Nel caso italiano il simbolo unificante per eccellenza è Dante, cui è stato ora dedicato un giorno memoriale, il Dantedì, che si è celebrato il 25 marzo con grande clamore di iniziative, pagine giornalistiche, invenzioni figurative, riedizioni, letture e video: basta aprire i siti dei principali quotidiani italiani per trovare interviste ai discendenti di Dante, viaggi nell’Italia di Dante, sproloqui sul padre della patria e il padre della lingua, inviti alla coerenza e all’impegno, ecc. ecc.

“Dante onnipresente, vera e propria icona pop, che va dalle canzoni di Gianna Nannini su Pia de’ Tolomei e Caparezza su Filippo Argenti fino agli oli di Guy Denning e i graffiti di Kobra: un Dante dappertutto, sorprendentemente simile a quel Dante monumento che segnò la topografia italiana tra il Risorgimento e il Fascismo, quando sorsero piazze Dante, con monumenti a Dante, in tutta Italia, col culmine simbolico in quella piazza Dante a Napoli che segna l’identità tra Dante e l’Italia nelle parole di chi la promosse, spostandone definitivamente la ricezione dall’universo letterario a quello patriottico: se «Dante a Firenze è un grand’uomo», «Dante a Napoli raffigura l’ingegno, il sapere, le sventure, le glorie, le fatiche, le speranze e tutta la vita dell’intero Popolo Italiano».” [. . .]   –Stefano Jossa, “Dante e Pinocchio, fratelli d’Italia,” Doppio Zero (June 5, 2021)

“Defascistizzare Dante”

“[. . .] Per questo motivo, la storia di come nel nuovo millennio la poesia di Dante si possa trovare ad adornare uno studio medico di Roma Nord fianco a fianco a due manifesti di propaganda fascista è anche un po’ la storia irrisolta dell’Italia fascista e della sua defascistizzazione mancata. Il presente articolo, scritto nel settecentenario della morte del poeta e a quasi un secolo dalla marcia su Roma, racconta questa storia. È proprio in occasione dei festeggiamenti nazionali del centenario e del Dantedì, istituito per decreto e celebrato con retorica nazionalista che Antonio Montefusco ha analizzato sulle pagine di Jacobin Italia, che occorre riflettere sull’uso che si è fatto della figura di Dante, più che della sua poesia, nella storia d’Italia; e su come questo uso e questa storia siano ancora oggi intimamente compromessi col fascismo.” [. . .]   –Nicolò Crisafi, “Defascistizzare Dante,” Jacobin Italia, June 2, 2021

A Tour Through Dante’s World in 80 Comics

Mappa-interattiva-giro-mondo-dantesco-80-fumetti“In 2021 the Fumettoteca Regionale Alessandro Callegati “Calle” opened an extensive gallery of Dante-related comics: “Il giro del mondo dantesco in 80 fumetti!“. It is an incredibly rich resource for students and researchers interested in the global reception of the poem in illustrations. In particular, we would highlight the interactive map (see screenshot, left), which allows users to “tour the world” of Dante comics, visualizing the transcultural, translingual reach of the poem.

“A seguito dell’adesione alla Manifestazione Nazionale #Dantedì, dal 25 al 31 marzo, e alla proposta dantesca l’evento intitolato ‘Il giro del mondo dantesco in 80 fumetti!’ per il mese di aprile 2021, la Fumettoteca Regionale Alessandro Callegati ‘Calle’ prosegue proponendo l’evento espositivo, in sede e Online, ‘Il giro del mondo dantesco in 80 fumetti! (con intelletto, curiosità e desiderio di conoscenza)‘ realizzato per la Manifestazione Nazionale ‘Il Maggio dei Libri’, con documenti consultabili, una mappa interattiva e varie Gallery espositive.

Fumettoteca-Alessandro-Callegati-Calle-Locandina-Giro-mondo-dantesco-80-fumetti“A distanza di 700 anni dalla morte di Dante Alighieri, nell’oscura selva della pandemia, ai numerosi eventi ideati per la celebrazione, non poteva mancare una ricerca su Dante al quale sono state dedicate moltissime realizzazioni fumettistiche: vignette, strisce, storie intere, parodie o didattici. Ogni immagine, per quanto distante dall’opera originaria, è approfondimento, studio, iniziazione, innovazione, ripensamento e, in ogni caso, contiguità all’opera del sommo poeta. Celebriamo, con i massimi onori, il sommo poeta con il singolare evento promosso che ha l’ambizione di mostrare moltissimi documenti fumettistici, italiani e internazionali. Per l’iniziativa sono state selezionate e riunite 80 pubblicazioni, fra le tante rintracciate, realizzate in 15 nazioni.”   –GianLuca Umiliacchi, Direttore Fumettotecario, Fanzine Italiane

Contributed by GianLuca Umiliacchi