Sand Sculptures of Dante’s Inferno

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“These particular sand sculptures are actually inspired depictions of the circles of hell, as presented in Dante’s Inferno. The sculptures were created in Italy by a team of 18 of the world’s greatest sand sculpture artists. The result, as you can see in this Flickr stream by user Htmarcos, is simply breathtaking.”    –Jill Harness, Mental Floss, February 24, 2010

See more photos on Flickr and Love These Pics.

Seth Steinzor, “To Join the Lost” (2010)

seth-steinzor-to-join-the-lost“Dante’s Divine Comedy — that poetic tour of Hell, Purgatory and Paradise written in the 14th century — never seems to get old. The latest proof is the new video game by Electronic Arts, Dante’s Inferno. As in the poem, the game’s Dante character and his guide, Virgil, travel down through the nine circles of Hell, hearing sinners’ stories and witnessing their horrifying punishments. But — this being a video game — Dante is armored like a Greek warrior and can choose to absolve the shades or slash them to bits.
If that raises your literary hackles, you’ll appreciate another, rather different, Dante-inspired release: the book-length poem To Join the Lost, by Seth Steinzor of South Burlington. This achingly personal, contemporary version of the Inferno is both truer to its prototype and more daring.
Preserving Dante’s structure of 34 cantos, Steinzor’s unrhymed but rhythmical poem is spoken by a poet named Seth. (It takes some guts to invite comparisons between the Tuscan bard’s poetic voice and one’s own.) Like Dante’s character-self, the middle-aged Seth finds himself lost in a murky, obstructed landscape at the poem’s opening. All is despair until out of the gloom steps Dante — the Florentine poet, that is — who, 700 years after penning his own tour of Hell, has become a guide.” [. . .]    –Amy Lilly, Seven Days, May 19, 2010

Electronic Arts Re-Releasing Longfellow’s Translation

dantes-inferno-longfellow-edition“There’s a new edition of Dante’s ‘Inferno’ that’s recently begun appearing in bookstores. Same words. Different cover. It’s got a big picture of a muscular fellow in a spiky crown and an overline that says, ‘The literary classic that inspired the epic video game.'” [. . .]    –Dave Itzkoff, The New York Times, January 29, 2010

Hue Rhodes, “Saint John of Las Vegas” (2010)

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“There is one joke in the first-time filmmaker Hue Rhodes’s pretentious indie road comedy, “Saint John of Las Vegas,” that plays off its inspiration, Dante’s ‘Inferno,’ with witty ingenuity. The image of a sinner burning eternally in hell becomes a carnival performer, Smitty (John Cho), known as the Flame Lord, who after a technical malfunction finds himself trapped in his protective suit that bursts into flames every 20 seconds. Approached by John Alighieri (Steve Buscemi), a ratty-looking insurance-claims adjuster investigating a possible fraud, Smitty pleads for a cigarette.
The greater hell, of course, is Las Vegas and its environs, filmed to look like a terminally seedy and desolate wasteland peopled by loonies. John, who sporadically narrates the movie, is a compulsive gambler who has fled Las Vegas to live in Albuquerque, where he works for an auto-insurance company. His office is its own little circle of hell, whose unscrupulous, money-mad overseer, Townsend (Peter Dinklage), is determined never to pay a claim if he can help it.” [. . .]    –Stephen Holden, The New York Times, January 29, 2010

Kim Paffenroth, “Valley of the Dead (The Truth Behind Dante’s Inferno)” (2010)

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“For seventeen years of his life, the whereabouts of the medieval Italian poet Dante Alighieri is unknown to modern scholars. All we know is that during this time, he traveled as an exile across Europe, while working on his epic poem, The Divine Comedy. In his masterpiece he describes a journey through the three realms of the afterlife. The volume describing hell, Inferno, is the most famous of the the three.
Valley of the Dead is the real story behind Inferno. In his wanderings, Dante stumbles on a zombie infestation, and the things he sees there–people being devoured, burned alive, boiled in pitch, torn apart by dogs, eviscerated, impaled, crucified, etc.–become the basis of all the horrors he describes in Inferno. Afraid to be labeled a madman, Dante made the terrors he witnessed into a more ‘believable’ account of an otherworldly adventure with demons and mythological monsters, but now the real story can finally be told.” [. . .]     —Author Bob Freeman

Contributed by Kim Paffenroth

“Dante’s Inferno” EA Video Game

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“EA introduces an all new original property from the studio behind the hit horror game, Dead Space. The game is based on part one of the medieval epic poem, The Divine Comedy, commonly referred to as Dante’s Inferno, by Dante Alighieri. The dark fiction gave birth to the Tuscan Italian dialect and is widely considered the work that has defined the western world’s contemporary conception of hell and purgatory. The poem tells the tale of Dante who journeys through the twisted, menacing nine circles of hell in pursuit of his beloved Beatrice. Written in the 14th Century, The Divine Comedy, unlike the bible, was published and read aloud in the language of the Italian people, thereby making the poem accessible to the mass public. The poem delivers a striking and allegorical vision of the Christian afterlife and the punishments of hell. In part one, known as Dante’s Inferno, Dante traverses all nine circles of hell; limbo, lust, gluttony, greed, anger, heresy, violence, fraud and treachery.”    —EA Games

See Also:

Video Interviews and Previews at EA Games
Contributed by Chelsea Mikulencak (UTexas-Austin, ’10)

“EA Sends Players to Hell in Epic Action Game Dante’s Inferno” by El Mundo Tech, December 15, 2008
Contributed by J. Patrick Brown (Bowdoin, ’08)

“Video Game Draws Interest in Hollywood” by David Itzkoff, The New York Times, November 3, 2008

“Endpaper — Fiction Reaches a New Level” by Tim Martin, The Telegraph, May 7, 2009
Contributed by Aisha Woodward (Bowdoin, ’08)

“Fighting Desire in Dante’s Inferno. Try not to succumb to your lustful urges in Hell.” by Jeff Haynes, IGN.com, September 21, 2009
Contributed by Charlie Russell-Schlesinger (Bowdoin, ’08)

“Dante’s Inferno Story Trailer” by Euro Gamer, November 17, 2009
Contributed by Luke Welch (Bowdoin, ’08)

“You Read It in Class; Now You Can Play It on your Console” by Seth Schiesel, The New York Times, February 8, 2010

“Charting Dante’s Descent Through 9 Circles of Hell” by Mark Oppenheimer, The New York Times, March 26, 2010

“Abandon All Poetry, but Enter Hell With an Attitude” by David Itzkoff, The New York Times, January 29, 2010

“Profs Guy Raffa and Arielle Saiber on EA’s ‘Dante’s Inferno’ Videogame” in The Atlantic, February 26, 2010 and “Prof. Arielle Saiber on the Game” in Future Tense, February 17, 2010

“Prof. Teodolinda Barolini on EA’s ‘Dante’s Inferno’ Videogame” in Entertainment Weekly