James Fenton on Mandelstam’s Dante

“The poet’s widow describes how, at a point when Mandelstam refers to Dante’s need to lean on authority, she refused to write his words down, thinking that he meant the authority of rulers, and that he condoned Dante’s acceptance of their favours. ‘The word had no other meaning for us,’ she says, ‘and being heartily sick of such authorities, I wanted no others of any kind.’ ‘Haven’t you had enough of such authorities?’ I yelled at him, sitting in front of a blank, grey-coloured sheet of paper, my hands defiantly on my knees. ‘Do you still want more?'”

“Mandelstam was furious with her for getting above herself. She was angry back, and told him to find another wife. But in due course she did what the circumstances required during the Stalinist persecution: she learnt the essay by heart, in order to ensure its survival. It wasn’t printed until three decades later, in 1967, when an edition of 25,000 copies appeared in Moscow and quickly sold out – the first of Mandelstam’s works to appear after the thaw.

“The argument about authority warns us to read Mandelstam’s essay not only for what it tells us about Dante but also as a reflection on our own times, and Mandelstam’s. [. . .]”   –James Fenton, The Guardian, 2005

See full article here.

Cesare

From Volume 2, Chapter 10, in Fuyumi Soryo’s 2005 manga series Cesare, which makes extensive reference to the Divine Comedy.

Learn more about Cesare here.

Draghignazzo – Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow (2005)

“Draghignazzo is an enemy in Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow. He is one of the guardians of the dungeons of Hell. He is quite the pessimist.”    —Wikivania: Encyclopedia of Darkness, August 20, 2019

Learn more about Konami’s 2005 video game Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow here.

Joseph Pearce, Catholic Literary Giants (2005)

Pearce-Catholic-Literary-Giants-Dante“Taken as a whole, one can see Eliot’s major work as paralleling that of his master, Dante. The Waste Land and ‘The Hollow Man,” were his Inferno, ‘Ash Wednesday’ and The Rock were his Purgatorio, and Four Quartets were his vision of Paradise. What a legacy he has bequeathed to posterity!” (176) — Joseph Pearce, Catholic Literary Giants: A Field Guide to the Catholic Literary Landscape

Contributed by Ellie Augustine (University of Kansas, 2020)

Australian Metal Band, Abandon All Hope

abandon-all-hope-band-2005Abandon All Hope is a metal band out of Adelaide, Australia that was formed in 2005. The band had 5 members – Micah Leinonen as vocals, Jarrod Kennett on bass guitar, Chris Whitbread on drums, and Jake Battista and Shaan Kelly on guitars. The Metal Archives list the band’s lyrical themes as “Hate, Anger, Life, [and] Relationships.” The band split up in 2013.

Their discography consisted of 3 albums – Where Life and Death Meet (2007), A Havoc Command (2010), and Prowler (2011).

The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (2005, dir. by Cristi Puiu)

Death-of-Mr-Lazarescu-Cristi-Puiu-Dante“Set in Bucharest, Romania, an ailing old man is carried by an ambulance from hospital to hospital during one night, while doctors refuse to treat
him. The ever-worsening journey of Mr Lazarescu, whose first name is Dante becomes a descent into the Underworld of Romania’s medical
services. Echoes to Dante abound.” — Contributor Cristian Ispir

The Death of Mr. Lazarescu is the first instalment in a projected series of ‘Six Stories from the Bucharest Suburbs’. Puiu cites Eric Rohmer’s Moral Tales as his chief inspiration, but on this evidence an equally telling parallel would be Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Dekalog, though Puiu is more inclined towards self-conscious symbolism than the Pole. There are characters called Dante and Virgil and an unseen Dr Anghel, and the various hospital trips and their cyclical routines would match anyone’s idea of hell. And although the film’s title and mounting medical evidence suggests the opposite, Lazarescu’s own name hints that some kind of miraculous resurrection might be in prospect. It’s not just the film’s ambiguous ending that supports this, but also Fiscuteanu’s uncannily convincing portrayal of a man increasingly aware that he’s crossing the bridge between life and death but fiercely determined not to go without a fight, even as his faculties betray him. If Puiu’s main theme is the absence of love, his film is ultimately about the love of life.” — Review by Michael Brooke for the British Film Institute’s Sight & Sound magazine

Contributed by Cristian Ispir (University College London/Université de Lorraine)

The Mass, “City of Dis” (2005)

the-mass-city-of-dis-2005.jpg

City of Dis is the debut album from Oakland, California’s The Mass, who combine thrash, math metal, hardcore, and jazz into an artful amalgam. The lurching, jagged stop/go riffing of Dillinger Escape Plan is the order of the day, but the riffs themselves are typically more thrash based. The band is amazingly tight and performs with a great deal of precision. This is topped with the manic hardcore vocals of Matt Waters, who also plays saxophone. The sax is present in every song, but not throughout the songs. Instead, Waters picks his moments and provides accompaniment in the style a dual guitarist, or contributes wildly frenetic solos, which sound aggressive and spastic enough to put to rest any doubts regarding the testicular fortitude of the band. If Morphine played metal it would sound something like this.” [. . .]    –Matt Mooring, Last Rites, December 2012

Contributed by Jenn

Weezer, “Make Believe” (2005)

weezer-make-believe-2005 In the liner notes to Weezer’s fifth album, the first lines of Inferno, “Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita,” are hidden in the pictures (see Wikpedia page).

Decadence, “Decadence” (2005)

decadence-decadence-2005 The first track on this Swedish band’s self-titled debut album is called “Wrathful and Sullen,” the lyrics of which allude to the punishment of those immersed in the Styx.

“Stolen Goya Found in Montenegro”

bbc-world-news-logo“The oil painting, Count Ugolino, had been lifted from a gallery in Turin, northern Italy, in December 2001.
Goya’s work – which evokes a gory episode from Dante’s Inferno – was retrieved during a raid on a flat near the Montenegrin capital of Pogdorica.
Two brothers were detained. The painting had been insured for £277,000 after being bought for £140 in 1999.
At the time, it was bought as an anonymous work, but experts later attributed it to Goya.
The work – which is roughly as large as an A4 sheet – refers to one of the most shocking tales from medieval Italy.
In his Divine Comedy, Dante told the story of Count Ugolino della Gherardesca, who, according to his story, ended up eating the flesh of his children after all the male members of the family were starved to death by Ugolino’s enemies.    —BBC News, June 15, 2005

Contributed by Susan Wegner