Don Thompson’s “The Wood of Suicides”

the-woods-of-suicides-canto-xIII-inferno-pepperdine-2007 the-woods-of-suicides-canto-xIII-inferno-pepperdine-2007

“The Wood of Suicides. Canto XIII, Inferno. These images were taken adjacent to campus, after the Malibu fires.” [. . .]    –Don Thompson,  d.t. pepperdine, October 2007.

Dinaw Mengestu, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears (2007)

“Dinaw Mengestu belongs to that special group of American voices produced by global upheavals and intentional, if sometimes forced, migrations. These are the writer-immigrants coming here from Africa, East India, Eastern Europe and elsewhere. Their struggles for identity mark a new turn within the ranks of American writers I like to call ‘the in-betweeners.’ The most interesting work in American literature has often been done by such writers, their liminality and luminosity in American culture produced by changing national definitions (Twain, Kerouac, Ginsberg), by being the children of immigrants themselves (Bellow, Singer), by voluntary exile (Baldwin, Hemingway) and by trauma (Bambara, Morrison).

[. . .]

“Judith, a white woman who moves into the predominantly black Logan Circle, becomes Sepha’s Beatrice, and, as with Dante, she leads him from his exile to purgatory and, eventually, to redemption. They meet over the counter in Sepha’s store, which is where all the community eventually comes together – to buy, to hang out, to shoplift, to receive and pass along gossip. Sepha’s relationship with Judith is facilitated by the wonderful connection he has to Judith’s precocious daughter, Naomi. And like Dante and Beatrice, they have a love that remains fraught and unconsummated but powerful and transformative nonetheless. Part of the difficulty is that Judith represents the new wave of gentrification and Sepha’s decision to date her is seen as an act of betrayal by the other residents. Neighborhood tensions build because of Judith (since she symbolizes the oppressor), and her home is firebombed by local thugs. Sepha’s own redemption and the choice he makes in this matter are what shape his new self.”   –Chris Abani, “Dante, Beatrice in a narrative of immigration,” The Baltimore Sun (March 11, 2007)

Contributed by Francesco Ciabattoni (Georgetown University)

Detective Dante Comics (2005-2007)

“The comic book series Detective Dante is loosely based on the Divine Comedy. Not only is the protagonist named Dante, but the whole series is divided into three parts called Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso. The first issues in particular contain many references and textual quotations of Dante’s poem.”   –Contributor Alessio Aletta

The series was created by Lorenzo Baroli and Roberto Recchioni. It was published by Eura Editoriale from 2005-2007.

See the gallery of cover images on the Grand Comics Database.

Contributed by Alessio Aletta (University of Toronto)

Anthony Bourdain in Tuscany

 

In Season 3, Episode 15 of No Reservations (2007), there are many references to Dante and Inferno.

Contributed by Brendan Keefe

Lou’s Inferno – Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock

“Lou’s Inferno is located in the Rock Underworld (revealed after you play through Story Mode) and is a very large room with Thick Izzy sitting on a throne behind the drummer. During a song, he will hit his hammer against the floor if your Rock Meter is in the green level as if rocking out to the music. To the left of the band (the right side of the stage from the crowd’s point of view) is a relatively small fire in a chimney. On the opposite side of the stage is a much larger fire. In front of the stage, a large crowd of people, possibly demons (in this case meaning people who have died and been sentenced to Hell, or, possibly, souls of people collected by Lou or Grim Ripper) has gathered to watch the show. All around the venue, there are red, horned women dancing. It’s basically the Guitar Hero version of Hell.”    —WikiHero, February 19, 2018

Learn more about Neversoft’s 2007 video game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock here.

“Vagabonds”

“Lacouture, having known Belano since he was a teen-ager, gives the novel’s most detailed account of his imprisonment in Chile; in her view, his efforts against the Pinochet regime were noble but tainted him, as he returned to Mexico a preening radical who looked down on his old friends ‘as if he were Dante and he’d just returned from hell.'”    –Daniel Zalewski, The New Yorker, March 19, 2007

The Nine Circles of Libertarian Hell

Distributed-republic-blog-banner-nine-circles-libertarian-hellFirst Circle—The Virtuous Heathens: Those who care strongly about liberty in one particular sphere (e.g. freedom of speech, freedom of religious practice, the drug war, etc.) but don’t care much about it other spheres. These people are infuriating for their lack of general theory underlying their politics, but at least they’ve sorta got the right idea and can make themselves somewhat useful. This circle contains members of the NRA, ACLU & other such single-issue organizations, and is guarded by John Stuart Mill.

“Second Circle—The Lustful: Those who fall madly in love with a dim vision they have of a more egalitarian society and then hastily rush off to elope with it, without giving much thought about just how much promise there really is in the relationship. These people’s hearts are often in the right place but they show a frightening lack of concern for whether or not the policies they endorse are actually likely to accomplish the goals they desire. This circle is filled with innumerable bleeding-hearts and is guarded by Thomas Sowell. [. . .]    –Matt McIntosh, The Distributed Republic, June 30, 2007.

Read the full list of the “Libertarian circles of Hell” on the Distributed Republic.

When Seagulls Cry (2007)

Umineko no Naku Koro ni is a Japanese visual novel developed by 07th Expansion. The title translates to When Seagulls Cry in English. The series was released in Japan from 2007-2011, and globally through 2016-2017.

“The story focuses on a group of eighteen people on a secluded island for a period of two days, and the mysterious murders that befall them. Readers are challenged to discern whether the murders were committed by a human or of some other supernatural source, as well as the method and motive behind them.” [. . .]    —Umineko When They Cry, Wikipedia, 2018.

Fans of the series have pointed out several references to Dante’s work in the series, such as these found by readers on MyAnimeList:

“I’ve started reading Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy few days ago and I found several analogies with Umineko.

  1. “Names:
    Beatrice – name of deceased Dante’s love, his guide through Heaven
    Virgil – name of Dante’s guide through Hell and Purgatorio
  2. “Structure of Mt. Purgatorio is of the form 2+7+1=9+1=10, with one of the ten regions different in nature from the other nine ( last – Earthly Paradise). It may resemble 10 twilights of the Witch’s Epitaph.
  3. “Dante meets Beatrice at 10th floor, Battler meets Beato at 10th twilight
  4. “Seven Stakes resemble floors 3rd- 9th of Mt. Purgatorio (each floor represents 1 of 7 deadly sins.)
  5. “Magic circles in Umineko have a same names as the Spheres of Heaven:
    First Sphere of the Moon –> First Circle of the Moon” [. . .]    —Azakus, MyAnimeList, October 11, 2009.

To see more of the Dante references fans of When Seagulls Cry have found, check out the full forum discussion on MyAnimeList.

You can buy When Seagulls Cry and check out other games in the series on Steam.

Contributed by Philip Smith (University of the Bahamas)

Pia come la canto io, Album by Gianna Nannini (2007)

“Dolente Pia, dolente Pia,
Gianna-Nannini-Pia-come-la-canto-io-Dantedolente Pia innocente è prigioniera.
Col capo chino, la fronte al seno,
pensa a quei giorni del passato ricordi in fior.

“Torna, sento già la tua luce nell’anima.
Sei qui con me, sono le braccia tue che stringo.
Per quanti mesi e notti e giorni,
non saprei dire, non lo so ma questo è certo:
ci fu l’inverno, poi primavera,
la vita torna nel castello ma non per me.
Guarda se ne va questo sogno di te.
Là batte l’onda e un cavallo galoppa.
Ma l’amore, il nostro amore, marcisce dietro a questa porta.

“Ma l’amore, questo amore, marcisce dietro a quella porta.
Fa sempre freddo, in quelle mura,
il cielo è chiaro ma la terra resta scura.
Poi il primo verde, la lunga luce,
pensa a quei giorni del passato ricordi in fior.
Dolente Pia, dolente Pia,
Dolente Pia innocente è prigioniera.
Col capo chino, la fronte al seno,
pensa a quei giorni del passato ricordi in fior.”

–“Dolente Pia,” from the 2007 album Pia come la canto io by Gianna Nannini

Listen to the song here.

For a comparative analysis of Dante’s Pia with Nannini’s, see the blog laletteraturaenoi.it.

Contributed by Anna Lisa Somma (University of Birmingham)

Marcello Toninelli’s Dante: La Divina Commedia a Fumetti (2007)

Toninelli's DanteMarcello Toninelli, Italian cartoonist, published a comic-strip version of The Divine Comedy beginning in 2007.

“Così il fiorentino Alighieri raccontava il suo viaggio all’Inferno, ma è risaputo che… faceva la Commedia! Il senese Marcello la racconta in un altro modo, decisamente più divertente. Nell’Oltretomba nato dalla sua irriverente matita Omero gioca a mosca cieca, Cerbero mangia alla mensa diavoli e Virgilio fa, suo malgrado… il parafulmine! Seguendo rispettosamente il tracciato dell’opera originale ma occhieggiando continuamente al nostro presente, con quest’opera Marcello ha realizzato la più completa, esilarante e irresistibile parodia del capolavoro dantesco.”    —Amazon.it

Click here to visit Toninelli’s blog, “Io e Dante”.

Contributed by Angela Lavecchia