Tim Dedopulos, “Dante’s Infernal Puzzle Collection” (2013)

91tu0J59qyL“Abandon all hope, all ye who enter here… Dante’s Infernal Puzzle Collection is a superb, original book filled with riddles, conundrums and brainteasers inspired by the epic poem the ‘Divine Comedy’. The reader must pit their wits against Satan himself on their quest to make it through all nine circles of Hell to Paradise! More than 100 extremely challenging puzzles are included, all themed and illustrated with superb line art, making this book all you need to get to puzzle Paradise…”    —Amazon

“Rap God” Video by Eminem

A few Dante-related images flash through the music video for Eminem’s song “Rap God.” The video shows several of Gustave Doré’s illustrations of Purgatorio and Paradiso, as well as a quick shot of the spine of a book that reads Inferno:

Eminem-Rap-God-Inferno-Book-Spine

Contributor Hunter Sherry writes, “As this image is shown the lyrics in the song are ‘I want to make sure somewhere in this chicken scratch I scribble and doodle enough rhymes, to maybe try to get some people through tough times’ and I think this is a reference to Dante’s Divine Comedy rhyming in its original Italian version. The song is also about the divinity of Eminem with respect to rap and hip hop so a Dante reference would make sense in the context of the song.”

Watch the full video on YouTube here.

Contributed by Hunter Sherry (University of Delaware)

Zander Cannon, Heck (2013)

HeckZander Cannon‘s graphic novel Heck narrates the journey of two travelers through nine circles of the underworld.

“After the funeral of his estranged father, faded hometown hero Hector ‘Heck’ Hammarskjöld finds himself the new owner of the old man’s house… and inside it, a portal to the underworld! With few other prospects on the horizon, Heck goes into business settling inheritance disputes by contacting the recently deceased, accompanied by his faithful sidekick Elliot. But when an old flame knocks on their door with an important message for her late husband, Heck and Elliot embark on a terrifying journey down into the nine circles, braving the horrors of Hell for an assignment that will reveal more than they ever imagined.”    — Top Shelf Productions

Contributed by Jacob de Heer-Erpelding (Bowdoin, ’15)

Ai Weiwei, The Divine Comedy (2013)

Ai Weiwei

“BEIJING, June 22, 2013 – The Ai Weiwei Studio released Ai Weiwei’s first music album, The Divine Comedy, today to commemorate the second anniversary of his release from an 81-day secret detention.

“The single ‘Dumbass,’ premiered last month along with its music video, is included in the album. The Divine Comedy features six tracks with vocals and lyrics by Ai Weiwei, and music by Zuoxiao Zuzhou. Each song is a different take of Ai’s newfound channel for expression through music. The album includes commentaries on current events (‘Just Climb the Wall,’ ‘Hotel USA’), documentations of real dialogues (‘Chaoyang Park,’ ‘Laoma Tihua‘), and personal reflections (‘Give Tomorrow Back to Me,’ ‘Dumbass’). The full album crosses musical genres with influences from pop, rock, punk and heavy metal, and takes us on a journey through Ai’s experience with the conditions of China.”    —Ai Weiwei’s website

Visit this page to listen to the album.

Contributed by Greg Watkins

Dante’s Inferno Bicycle Playing Card Deck

Bicycle Dante's Inferno“The Inferno is a customized 56 card black and metallic ink playing card deck printed by USPCC and inspired by Dante Alighieri’s literary classic The Divine Comedy.

“Three months in the making, each of the Jacks, Queens, and Kings represents a major figure from The Inferno.

“Each completely original character was designed as a modern interpretation that is true to the text and framed after the most famous ‘Inferno’ Illustrations created by renowned artist Gustave Dore in the 19th Century.  Staying true to that vision, we have created images utilizing he original Dore plates for our backgrounds.”    —Bicycle Inferno Kickstarter

View images of some of the cards here.

Contributed by Iris McComb (Bowdoin College ’14)

Nathaniel Rich, Odds Against Tomorrow (2013)

Odds Against TomorrowMitchell Zukor, the protagonist of Nathaniel Rich’s Odds Against Tomorrow, suffers from panic attacks and often uses phrases like “going to a deeper circle in hell.”

Rich’s website describes the novel:

“New York City, the near future: Mitchell Zukor, a gifted young mathematician, is hired by a mysterious new financial consulting firm, FutureWorld. The business operates out of an empty office in the Empire State Building; Mitchell is employee number two. [. . .]

“As Mitchell immerses himself in the mathematics of catastrophe–ecological collapse, war games, natural disasters–he becomes obsessed by a culture’s fears. [. . .]

“Then, just as Mitchell’s predictions reach a nightmarish crescendo, an actual worst-case scenario overtakes Manhattan. [. . .]

“At once an all-too plausible literary thriller, an unexpected love story, and a philosophically searching inquiry into the nature of fear, Nathaniel Rich’s Odds Against Tomorrow poses the ultimate questions of imagination and civilization. The future is not quite what it used to be.”    —Nathaniel Rich’s Website

 

Contributed by Thomas Jonkergouw, Universiteit Utrecht

Mark Levinson, Particle Fever (2013)

Particle-Fever-LAC-doc-Circle-art-poster-Dante“For the first time, a film gives audiences a front row seat to a significant and inspiring scientific breakthrough as it happens. Particle Fever follows six brilliant scientists during the launch of the Large Hadron Collider, marking the start-up of the biggest and most expensive experiment in the history of the planet, pushing the edge of human innovation. […]

“Directed by Mark Levinson, a physicist turned filmmaker, from the inspiration and initiative of producer David Kaplan and masterfully edited by Walter Murch (Apocalypse Now, The English Patient, The Godfather trilogy), Particle Fever is a celebration of discovery, revealing the very human stories behind this epic machine.”

During the course of the documentary (released in 2013), particle scientist Fabiola Gianotti quotes Inferno 26: “fatti non foste a viver come bruti, ma per seguir virtute e canoscenza.”

For more on the film, including links to the official trailer, still photos, and video clips, see the official film website.

Contributed by Yuhan Jin (Notre Dame, ’15)

Louis Nero, Il Mistero di Dante (2013)

<em>Il Mistero di Dante</em> PosterIl Mistero di Dante is a 2013 Italian film directed and written by Louis Nero.

“A journey in the footsteps of the most famous initiate of Italian Trecento, the author of the celebrated Divine Comedy. [. . .] Since the 19th century, many important scholars have tried to unfold the mystery hidden behind Dante’s terzine. During this voyage we will try to go one step further in the understanding of this secret. Our direction will be marked by the traces left by some of the most distinguished authorities in the field of the esoteric significance of Dante’s works. [. . .]

“The voice of a mysterious character interpreting Dante’s verses will help us delve into this subject. Two perspectives: the exoteric and the esoteric one.”    —IMDb

“Indagine su Dante Alighieri attraverso una serie di interviste ad intellettuali, artisti, massoni e uomini di fede che hanno il compito di guidare lo spettatore alla scoperta di un lato poco conosciuto del Padre della lingua italiana. L’analisi di passaggi nodali della Divina Commedia, continui riferimenti alla tradizione iniziatica occidentale, alle logge segrete, all’appartenenza o meno del Poeta ai ‘Fedeli d’Amore,’ ci accompagnano nei primi passi verso un approccio diverso ad una materia di studio sconfinata. [. . .]

“Comunque consigliabile a chi è completamente a digiuno del lato esoterico di Alighieri.”    —MyMovies.it

Soweto Kinch’s The Legend of Mike Smith

soweto-kinch-picture-legend-of-mike-smith

The Legend of Mike Smith is a dynamic multi-platform project combining Hip Hop, Dance, Jazz and visual art to explore the permutations of the Seven Deadly sins in modern culture. Written by Soweto Kinch, and directed by Jonzi D it follows the travails of Mike Smith, a young artist as he struggles to navigate his way through a normal day whilst being possessed by other worldly desires and vices. [. . .] The work compares a fantastical world of sin in Catholic texts with a licentious often encouraging attitude towards these things in modern society. Rather than the remote Dantean world of the Inferno, vice often becomes virtue when placed in our contemporary market place, the music industry or political system.”    —Soweto Kinch, The Legend of Mike Smith, 2013

Satire from The Onion: “Hell Now a Thriving Epicenter of Gay Culture”

“THE MALEBOLGE, NETHER REGIONS OF DARKNESS—Noting the incredible rate at which the community has grown, sources confirmed Thursday that Hell, the Endless Kingdom of Misery, is now a booming haven of gay culture.

“The Great Abyss, home of the damned, is reportedly inhabited by some 600 million condemned homosexual or transgender souls, a large proportion of its total population, and has by many accounts blossomed into an oasis of gay activism and community events.

” ‘I’ve only been here for a few months, but I’ve already fallen in love with it,’ said 49-year-old Daniel Edelson,..” […]

“The gay community has really flourished here, and I have to say, they’ve been great for the place,” said Nephirem the Malevolent, a 10,000-year-old, 70-foot-tall minotaur who has resided in hell since rising from the ashes of a smokeless flame. “At the end of the day, they’re just like anyone else. Everyone has the right to express their love for whomever they want. They don’t bother me in the slightest, and if anything, we in the Dark Lord’s Army encourage any and all public displays of affection between same-sex couples.”    —The Onion, September 19, 2013

Contributed by Olivia Holmes