The Sandman and Dante’s Inferno

“The angelic appearance of Lucifer in Sandman #4 (April 1989), entitled ‘A Hope in Hell,’ features the Wood of Suicides from Dante’s Inferno (Canto XIII), the great expanse of which provokes comment from the titular character as he seemingly accidentally breaks a branch and allows the suicides, imprisoned in the form of barren trees, to speak. Despite this, the issue and The Sandman in general have more to do with previous DC comics than with Dante. Indeed, the issue features Etrigan, a colorful rhyming demon created by Jack Kirby for the inventively titled comic The Demon. At the issue’s conclusion, Lucifer swears Dream’s destruction, a move by writer Neil Gaiman to establish plot threads for subsequent issues.

[. . .]

Perhaps the inconsistency of Gaiman’s three versions of Lucifer should not surprise us. After all, Satan has always been a particularly malleable figure, changing even in his religious depictions over time. Huge gulfs exists between the serpent of Genesis, the prosecuting angel in Job, the Bible’s brief and vague references to a fallen angel, and the vaguely Manichean personification of evil in the New Testament, who were not even intended to be the same characters and were only united by exegetic interpretation. Equally, Dante’s bloated, immobile Satan is a world away from Milton’s deft, self-damned, self-hated rhetorical master.

In other words, Gaiman’s three Lucifers may not be consistent, but then, Lucifer never was.”    –Julian Darius, Sequart Organization, May 20, 2002

Firefly and the Special Level of Hell

In the 2002-2003 science fiction television series Firefly, one of the main characters is threatened with a “special level of Hell” in the clip below.

You can watch Firefly on Hulu, iTunes, Amazon, and on Vudu.

Contributed by Philip Smith (University of the Bahamas)

Kim Addonizio, “Blues for Dante Alighieri”

Kim Addonizio‘s blues poem first appeared in the December 2002 issue of Poetry magazine, and was later included in the collection What is This Thing Called Love (2004):Kim-Addonizio-Blues-for-Dante-Alighieri

Listen to Addonizio read and discuss the poem here.

Contributed by Jessica Beasley (Florida State University ’18)

“Dante to Dead Man Walking: One Reader’s Journey Through the Christian Classics” (2002)

dante-to-dead-man-walking-one-readers-journey-through-the-christian-classics-2002“What do the book of Genesis, the Second Inaugural Address, and The Autobiography of Malcolm X all have in common? According to author Raymond Schroth, they are all works worthy of being called classics of Christian literature. In Dante to Dead Man Walking, Schroth discusses fifty works–from books of the Old Testament to contemporary works of fiction and nonfiction–that challenge the social conscience and raise moral or religious issues in a provocative way.”    —Amazon, May 13, 2012

Johnny Depp to Play Protagonist in Nick Tosches’ Novel “In the Hand of Dante” (2002)

johnny-depp-to-play-protagonist-in-the-hand-of-dante-2002“Johnny Depp’s production company Infinitum Nihil has acquired screen rights to the Nick Tosches novel ‘In the Hand of Dante.’ The novel will be developed as a potential star vehicle for Depp. . .
Book revolves around Dante’s masterwork “The Divine Comedy,” and tells parallel storylines involving Dante in 14th-century Italy as he tries to complete the work, and a contemporary storyline involving Tosches, who is asked to authenticate what might be Dante’s original manuscript. Depp would play Tosches. The novel was published in 2002.” [. . .]    –Michael Fleming, Variety, December 2, 2008

See Also: MTVnews update on the film’s progress as of July 2011.

Contributed by Patrick Molloy

Tangerine Dream, Divina Commedia Albums (2002, 2004, 2006)

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See Discogs for information on albums Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso.

Contributed by Joe Henderson (Bowdoin, ’10)

“Monk” Season 1 (2002)

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Adrian Monk says of speed dating: “that’s like Dante’s Seventh Circle of Hell.”

Contributed by Lisa Peterson (Bowdoin, ’07)

Nick Tosches, “In the Hand of Dante” (2002)

nick-tosches-in-the-hand-of-dante-2002“Deftly blending the sacred and the profane, Tosches boldly casts himself as the protagonist in his latest novel, an outrageously ambitious book in which he procures a purloined version of the original manuscript of ‘The Divine Comedy’ while tracing Dante’s journey as Dante struggled to complete his penultimate work. The initial chapters find Tosches looking back and questioning the results of his fascinating life and career, with a brief but devastating aside about the decline of publishing. But Tosches suddenly emerges from his morbid nostalgia when a former character named Louie (a gangster from Tosches’s Cut Numbers) gets his hands on a stolen copy of Dante’s manuscript and asks Tosches to authenticate it. That sends the author on a whirlwind tour to Arizona, Chicago, Paris and then London as he tries to verify the work and then determine its worth on the open market.” [. . .]    –Publishers Weekly, Amazon

Neocommedia: Inferno, Purgatory, Paradise (2002)

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“An immersive adaptation of Dante’s Divine Comedy exploring the modern deity of Information.”    —iKatun

“iKatun’s Paradise is based on Dante’s Paradise from the Divine Comedy, however, this Paradise is not about perfect morality but about perfect information. iKatun’s Paradise alludes to instant availability and perfect knowledge; a single data point of infinite density; the faultless model of information to which all media systems aspire; the space where entropy does not exist.”    —iKatun

“Dante’s Inferno” by Alan Sherwood (2002)

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