Inferno Enterprises Architects


Contributed by Ruth Caldwell

Dante in Amsterdam


Dante Kitchen and Bar, Amsterdam

Photo contributed by Ben LeHay (Bowdoin, ’08)

“Mafia boss reads Dante Alighieri in prison”

mafia-boss-reads-dante-alighieri-in-prison“Bernardo Provenzano, the former Godfather of the Sicilian Mafia who is serving life in prison, is spending his time reading Dante and writing to a pen pal. . . ‘I have read the Inferno,’ he wrote. ‘And especially where it says that on life’s journey, I found myself in dark woods, the right road lost.’ The former boss of all the bosses–who ordered the assassination of Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, a pair of anti-Mafia investigators–told Bonavota that ‘when reason and force collide, force wins and reason is lacking.'” [. . .]    –Malcolm Moore, The Telegraph, January 28, 2008

Contributed by Aisha Woodward (Bowdoin, ’08)

Vladimir Martynov, “Vita Nuova” Opera

vladimir-martynov-vita-nuova-opera “Next season, Mr. Jurowski will return to Lincoln Center with the London Philharmonic, bearing Mozart, Mahler, Strauss, a full evening of Rachmaninoff and the American premiere of Vladimir Martynov’s opera Vita Nuova, after Dante’s neo-Platonic treatise on love in verse and prose.”    –Matthew Gurewitsch, New York Times, January 27, 2008 (retrieved January 27, 2008)

See also: “Love Poems With Musical Annotation” by Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times, March 1, 2009

Writer Ethan Coen and Director Neil Pepe, “Almost an Evening” (2008)


“Like many of the Coen brothers’ films, much of ‘Almost an Evening,’ nimbly directed by Neil Pepe, is touched by the premise that hell lurks right under the surface of, or just around the corner from, everyday life. Make that Hell, with a capital H, the same piece of real estate charted by Dante and Milton.” [. . .]    –Ben Brantley, The New York Times, January 23, 2008

David Owen, “The Afterlife: Cutting Back”

david-owen-the-afterlife-cutting-back“. . .Keeping murderers and warmakers submerged in boiling blood, for example, is manageable in the near term but cannot be sustained for all eternity, since the energy expenditure required to heat blood forever will eventually constrain even Our ability to undertake other desirable projects, such as the continuance of the universe as a whole. We face a similar energy crisis with regard to evil counsellors, whom We have promised to incinerate everlastingly; with regard to blasphemers, sodomites, usurers, and doers of violence against Us, who must be tortured without end on heated sand; and with regard to Count Ugolino, Archbishop Ruggieri, and others who are permanently frozen in ice. The avaricious could conceivably be put to work ceaselessly twisting the heads of diviners and fortune-tellers, or keeping flatterers covered with filth, or cladding hypocrites in leaden mantles, but not even We can unwrite the terms of Our own first law of thermodynamics.” [. . .]    –David Owen, The New Yorker, January 7, 2008

Contributed by Patrick Molloy

“Putting Your Best Cyberface Forward”


“In general, scholars do not think of impression management as an intentionally deceptive or nefarious practice. It is more like social lubrication without a drink in your hand. Those studying it online have found that when people misrepresent themselves, it is often because they are attempting to express an idealized or future version of themselves–someone who is thinner or has actually finished Dante’s Inferno.” [. . .]    –Stephanie Rosenbloom, The New York Times, January 3, 2008

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)

Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” and Dante

tolkeins-lord-of-the-rings-and-dante“The city of Minas Tirith in Tolkien’s middle earth could be viewed as symbolic of Mount Purgatory. It is described by Tolkien as a white city built on a mountain consisting of seven terraces. At the top is the white tree of Gondor which only bears leaves when a king sits upon the throne of Gondor. Therefore, it could be argued that Aragon’s story in Lord of the Rings is a quest to reach the top of Mount Purgatory and redeem himself and all of mankind. Thus, at the end of Lord of the Rings, when Aragon assumes the role of King there is a transition from the age of the elves to the age of men. (This is only one of many references to the Divine Comedy found in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and the rest of his works on Middle Earth).”    –Charlie Russell-Schlesinger

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