Anna Booth, “Inf. XXVI” (2006)

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Photo by Anna Booth

Beatrice in “A Series of Unfortunate Events”

beatrice-in-a-series-of-unfortunate-eventsBeatrice is the name of a mysterious character in the children’s book series, A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. Beatrice does not appear in the main series, though she is often mentioned by the narrator as a lost love and, according to Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography, is the reason Snicket started writing the Baudelaires’ story. A 2006 spin-off book, The Beatrice Letters, sheds light on her story.
She is thought by many to be named for Beatrice Portinari, the beloved of the poet Dante, who spurned him and then died young. He devoted his Divine Comedy to her, and in it she figures as his muse and personal saviour. She arranges for his journey through the afterlife and guides him through heaven.” (retrieved on Dec 12, 2006)

Contributed by Kate Moon (Bowdoin, ’09)

“Dante Beatrix”

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Beatrix New York

Jennifer Strange, “Inspired by Dante: An Artist’s Journey Through The Divine Comedy”

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Learn more at Inspired by Dante.

Contributed by Jennifer Strange

Dante and Swan

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Contributed by Richard Abrams

Verbi Italiani

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Contributed by Sam Donovan (Bowdoin, ’07)

Barbara Reynolds, Dante: The Poet, the Political Thinker, the Man (2006)

barbara-reynolds-dante-the-poet-the-thinker-the-man-2006“. . .But the novelties come thick and fast, beginning (so far as I was concerned) with the suggestion on page 10 that Dante and other poets he associated with in Florence as a young man might have given their visionary and dreamlike imaginings a boost with the stimulus of love-potions. These herbal stimulants, cannabis perhaps, may, it turns out later, be what Dante is referring to in the comparison, near the start of Paradiso, between his own ‘trans-human’ experience and what Glaucus felt ‘on tasting of the herb’ (nel gustar dell’erba) which made him into a sea-god. As Reynolds explains at greater length when she comes to the final vision of the Godhead, mystics did often use drugs of one kind or another in conjunction with fasting and meditation in their pursuit of visionary illumination. There is no reason, she argues, why Dante should not have done so too. Dante as a substance abuser? It is not a key argument and Reynolds may be being provocative, even mischievous. She herself gives much more importance to her decoding of the two prophecies that have always been a problem for Dante commentators. . .”    –Peter Hainsworth, The Times Literary Supplement, October 18, 2006 (accessible only with a subscription)

Contributed by Jenny Davidson

“My First Day in Hell”

jack-handey-my-first-day-in-hell“It is odd, but Hell can be a lonely place, even with so many people around. They all seem caught up in their own little worlds, running to and fro, wailing and tearing at their hair. You try to make conversation, but you can tell they are not listening.” [. . .]    –Jack Handey, The New Yorker, October 30, 2006

Contributed by Darren Fishell (Bowdoin, ’09)

“The Literary Sources of Dungeons and Dragons” (Video Game)

dungeons-and-dragons“Planes: Nine Hells: Caina
The name used for the first part of the ninth circle of Hell in Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, Canto XXXII. Dante describes it as a completely frozen lake formed by the river Cocytus.
Planes: Nine Hells: Dis
In Greek mythology, a synonym for Hades–both the place and, in Virgil’s Aeneid (VI, 358 & 524), the god Hades/Pluto. In Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, Cantos VIII-IX, Dis a large, walled city in Hell with a well-guarded gate, which is the origin of the D&D plane’s description. In Canto XXXIV, Dis is another name for Lucifer.
Planes: Nine Hells: Malbolge
The name is derived from Malebolge, the term used for the Eighth Circle of Hell in Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, Cantos XVIII-XXX, and means ‘evil pouches.’ . . .
Planes: Pandemonium: Cocytus
The name for one of the major rivers in Hell in Dante Alighieri’s Inferno. Dante’s description of the river bears no similarity to that of the D&D outer plane. . .
Devil, Dispater
In Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, Canto XXXIV, Dis is another name for Lucifer. “Pater” is Latin for “father,” so it is not much of a stretch from there to call the ruler of the city of Dis the “father of Dis” and thereby avoid the possible confusion from calling both the city and the character just “Dis.” . . .
Devil, Geryon
Originally a three-bodied monster from Greek mythology. However, the D&D version is taken directly from Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, Cantos XVI-XVII. . . .
Devil, Horned (Malebranche)
Inferno, by Dante Alighieri, Cantos XXI-XXII.” []    –Aardy R. DeVarque, Hahn Library

Contributed by Sam Donovan (Bowdoin, ’07)

Anne Isba, “Gladstone and Dante: Victorian Statesman, Medieval Poet” (2006)

anne-isba-gladstone-and-dante-victorian-statesman-medieval-poet-2006“From the point at which he first read the Commedia, at the age of twenty-four, William Gladstone was to consider Dante Alighieri one of the major influences in his life, on a par with Homer and St Augustine, and to identify himself strongly with the poet. Both were statesmen as well as scholars, for whom civic duty was more important than personal convenience. Both were serious theologians as well as simple spiritual pilgrims. Both idealised women. This book shows how Gladstone found in Dante an endorsement of his own beliefs as he negotiated a path through life. Isba traces the development of his enthusiasm against the background of a resurgent Italy in a new Europe, and in the context of the Victorian fashion for all things medieval. She also examines the parallels between the two men’s attitudes to sex and religion in particular, and closes by analysing the quality of Gladstone’s own writing on Dante (he was to become an internationally recognised Dante scholar).”    —Boydell & Brewer

Contributed by Michael Richards