Dan Christian, All My Life’s A Circle… A Harry Chapin and Dante Alighieri Anthology (2006)

“Taking ideas and putting them into action is a specialty of Baltimore, Maryland, English teacher Dan Christian. In his quarter century of teaching at The Gilman School, Christian has successfully merged his two passions, the music of Harry Chapin and the teaching of Dante’s poem the Divine Comedy. The result is a thought-provoking and insightful spiral-bound book of student essays called All My Life’s A Circle…A Harry Chapin & Dante Alighieri Anthology.

Until this year, Christian’s in-class efforts had been informal, with references to Harry being made as ideas arose while teaching. Recalling a concept that emerged from a 1990 seminar for teachers of Dante’s work, this year Christian formally put ‘celestial cross-pollination’–the intersection of art and literature–into place. Christian notes, ‘I asked my students to answer the question: Why and in what ways could a character in Dante’s poem have benefited from or been enriched by listening to this particular song?'”    –Linda McCarty, Circle!, Summer 2006

Dan Christian was the 2017 winner of the Durling Prize of the Dante Society of America, which recognizes exceptional accomplishments by North American secondary school teachers who offer courses or units on Dante’s life and works. Read more about Dan’s teaching philosophy on his website https://danteiseverywhere.com/.

“The Roommate from Hell” by MC Lars

In MC Lars’ 2006 album The Graduate, the song “The Roommate from Hell” contains lyric “when did room 56 become Dante’s Inferno?” (MC Lars, Horris Records, March 21, 2006)

Contributed by Victoria Nicholls (The Bolles School, ’22)

Kid Eternity (2006)

Comics visionary Grant Morrison reimagines the unique character of Kid Eternity, a young man who died before his true time and returns to Earth as a ghostly spirit, along with his guardian Mister Keeper. In this 144-page trade paperback, illustrated by Duncan Fegredo, Kid Eternity follows the terrifying night of aspiring stand-up comedian Jerry Sullivan as he joins Kid Eternity on a quest to free his Keeper from Hell.”    —Goodreads

Photo courtesy of Bob Mitchell.

Jodi Picoult, Tenth Circle (2006), Dustin Weaver (Illustrator) Wildclaw (2006)

“The book was called The Tenth Circle.

“The main plot of the novel is a family drama focusing on a relationship between a father and daughter, but there is a secondary story in the form of the father’s comic book which we see pages of between each chapter. The father is a professional comic writer/artist, who in his super hero comic, “WildClaw”, is writing a story that parallels the drama in his life.

“The superhero, WildClaw, journeys into hell to rescue his daughter from the devil in a Dante’s Inferno inspired tale. Along the way he is forced to face the darkness within himself.

“I was very aware that this was not just a typical comic book, it was also an illustrated novel and I decided to take a more illustrative approach to the art.  Running with the Dante’s Inferno inspiration I tried for an art style reminiscent of the engraved art of Gustave Dore.

“I also chose a layout stile where one panel would serve as a kind of anchor illustration To me this style of layout creates a sense of each page being “a piece” onto itself. It’s a style that I think isn’t usually preferable in comics. In comics you mostly want to keep the reader moving through the story. In this I wanted to create illustrative pages that kept you looking at them.” […]    –Dustin Weaver dustinweaver.blogspot.com, September 3, 2014

Dante Murals at Saint Mary’s College, California

St-Marys-College-California-Dante-Murals-Inferno-Ellen-Silva

In 2006, artists Susan Cervantes and Ellen Silva collaborated on a series of Dante-themed murals for the walls of Dante Hall, at Saint Mary’s College of California.

“The powerful imagery of Dante’s Divine Comedy is leaping off the page and onto the walls of Dante Hall, where artists are transforming the drab first-floor corridor with colorful murals of Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso.

Beatrice-Dante-Mural-SMC-California-Ellen-Silva

“Shawny Anderson, associate dean of the School of Liberal Arts, proposed the project in 2005 for a class which never came to be, but the idea resonated with the school’s leaders.

“‘I always thought that the halls of the College should ‘sing’ of the authors they honor,’ Anderson says.” –Debra Holtz, “Visualizing Dante,” St. Mary’s College of California News

See Ellen Silva’s page here.

Avatar: the Last Airbender

In season two, episode 12, Avatar Aang and his friends Sokka, Katara, and Tof take a refugee couple across a deadly strip of land named “The Serpent’s Pass.” Before they start the path, they come upon an archway with the words “Abandon hope” inscribed on it.

Dante-Abandon-Hope-Avatar-Aang-Serpents-Pass

The episode is available to watch here.

Contributed by Alex Sallade (University of Delaware)

Rice & Beans Orchestra: “Dante’s Inferno” (2006)

Disco group Rice & Beans Orchestra released album “Dante’s Inferno” in 2006, though it was originally made in 1976. The album is a disco interpretation of Dante’s Inferno: “a disco-era extravaganza inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy“.

Rice and Beans Orchestra

Click here to listen to the first part of “Dante’s Inferno” on YouTube.

Umberto Eco, Sator arepo eccetera (2006)

Sator-arepo-eccIn 2006, Umberto Eco published a short collection of playful literary experiments, including rewritings of some of the most famous passages of the Divine Comedy. In these rewritings, Eco reverses the meaning of each word, rendering an entirely new meaning to the whole. Here is one example, taken from the first verses of the Comedy:

“Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita,
mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,
ché la diritta via era smarrita.”

Eco’s version:

“Al margin del ristar di vostra morte
mi persi in un deserto illuminato,
ritrovando le piazze più distorte.”

For more examples, see Cinzia Rosati’s review.

Murder By Death, In Bocca al Lupo (2006)

murder-by-death-coverIn May 2006, Indiana-based indie-rock/rockabilly group Murder By Death released In Bocca al Lupo, a concept album influenced by Dante’s Comedy. Asked about the connection to Dante’s poem, band front man Adam Turla explained, “In Bocca is a collection of short stories and each song deals with the idea of sin in a different way.” Each track narrates the story of a different character, woven through a pastiche of musical styles and exploring various aspects of sin, death, and transgression.

Read Marisa Brown’s review of the album at AllMusic.com, and Adam Turla’s full interview with Bobby Gorman of ThePunkSite.com here.

Giulio Leoni, Dante Novels

leoni-medusaFirst in a series of historical thrillers featuring Dante Alighieri as investigator of crimes in 14th century Florence, the other novels are I delitti del mosaico; I delitti della luce; and La crociata delle tenebre.

See Internet Bookshop for more information.

leoni dante

Contributed by Piergiorio Niccolazzini, PNLA Literary Agency