Jodi Picoult, “The Tenth Circle” (2006)

jodi-picoult-the-tenth-circle-a-novel.jpg“Bestselling author Jodi Picoult’s The Tenth Circle is a metaphorical journey through Dante’s Inferno, told through the eyes of a small Maine family whose hidden demons haunt every aspect of their seemingly peaceful existence.” [. . .]    –Gisele Tuoeg, Amazon

See also: the film “The Tenth Circle” (2008)

Contributed by Charlie Russell-Schlesinger (Bowdoin, ’08)

Roberto Benigni’s “Tutto Dante”

See Roberto Benigni’s website Tutto Dante for more information and photos.

Contributed by Dorothea Herreiner

John Curran, “The Painted Veil” (2006)

john-curran-the-painted-veilThe 2006 movie, The Painted Veil, based on a novel by Somerset Maugham ultimately derives from the author’s fascination with Pia, a character in Dante’s Purgatorio. This discussion of the movie quotes from Maugham’s preface to the novel:

“The idea for the novel began when Maugham was studying Italian under the tuition of the daughter of his landlady in Tuscany before World War I (he had by then decided to abandon a career in medicine for the life of a writer). While working through Dante’s Purgatorio, he came upon this line, spoken by the adulterous wife Pia: Siena mi fe’; disfecemi Maremma. (Siena made me, Maremma unmade me.) Ersilia (for so the tutor was named) explained that Pia was a noblewoman of Siena whose husband, suspecting her of adultery and afraid on account of her family to put her death, took her down to his castle in the Maremma valley, the noxious vapors of which he was confident would kill her off. But she took so long to die that he grew impatient and had her tossed out a window. As Maugham explains in his preface to the novel: ‘I do not know where Ersilia learnt all this. The note in my own Dante was less circumstantial, but the story for some reason caught my imagination. I turned it over in my mind and for many years from time to time would brood over it for two or three days. I used to repeat to myself the line: Siena mi fe’; disfecemi Maremma. But it was one among many subjects that occupied my fancy and for long periods, I forgot it. Of course I saw it as a modern story, but I could not think of a setting in the world of today in which such events might plausibly happen. It was not till I made a long journey in China that I found this.'”    –Edward T. Oakes, First Things, January 10, 2007

Contributed by Patrick Molloy

Sandow Birk’s Illustrations of the “Divine Comedy”


“A five year project which involved adapting the text of the entire “Divine Comedy” into contemporary slang and setting the action in contemporary urban America. The project resulted in three, limited edition books, Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. Each book contained more than 60 original lithographs and was published by Trillium Press in San Francisco.”    —Sandow Birk

See also: Sandow Birk’s film “Dante’s Inferno” (2007)

Rodney Atkins, “If You’re Going Through Hell” (2006)


See Rodney Atkins’ Website.

Contributed by Alex Brasili (Bowdoin, ’10)

“Foxtrot” by Bill Amend (December 2006)


Contributed by Charlie Russell-Schlesinger (Bowdoin, ’08)

Chris Sullivan, “Dante’s Divine Comedy” (2006)

Photo by Chris Sullivan

Anna Booth, “Inf. XXVI” (2006)

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”


Beatrix New York