Jennifer Moses, “In Search of Oxford”

in-search-of-oxford-bodleian-libraryJennifer Moses describes the Bodleian Library at Oxford: “. . .Certain key scenes in the Harry Potter franchise were filmed here, but if it’s more current stuff you’re after, go through the courtyard to the Radcliffe Camera, a classical circular building closed to the public but open to students, who these days are as likely to be studying their Facebook pages as their Dante, but whatever. There’s an almost endless amount of music, theater, dance, movies and lectures to go to in and around the university, as well as evensong at Christ Church Cathedral and various college chapels.”    –Jennifer Moses, “In Search of Oxford,” The New York Times, March 21, 2014

Brigid Pasulka, Sun and Other Stars (2014)

brigid-pasulka-sun-and-other-starsIn his Sunday Book Review of Brigid Pasulka’s novel The Sun and Other Stars, Mike Peed describes the main character Etto: “. . . Etto tries to numb his pain with sarcasm and self-effacement. He is misanthropic and fatalistic, frequently funny and sometimes annoying. He explains himself by quoting Dante: ‘I found myself in a dark wilderness.’ Who will be his Virgil? Yuri Fil, a Ukrainian-born Italian soccer star ensnared in a match-fixing scandal who has absconded to San Benedetto’s supposed seclusion, inveigles Etto into playing regular pickup games and even fashions him a green-and-white jersey, ‘for hope and faith. When you do not have ability.'”    –Mike Peed, The New York Times, March 21, 2014

Richard Rhodes, Absolute Power(2014)

thermonuclear-monarchy-elaine-scarryIn Richard Rhodes’ Sunday Book Review of Thermonuclear Monarchy by Elaine Scarry, he references Dante when envisioning the world after the explosion of nuclear weaponry: “Today there are still about 17,300 nuclear weapons in the world, most of them American or Russian, with a combined destructive force equivalent to 1,500 pounds of TNT for each and every man, woman and child on earth. The detonation of even a fraction of this stockpile could produce a worldwide Chernobyl, followed by a new ice age of dark starvation. Not even Dante imagined a fate so cruel for humankind.”    –Richard Rhodes, “Absolute Power,” The New York Times, March 21, 2014

Kevin Lincoln, “The Death of the Bargain Bin” (2014)

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“. . .We, as in the public, are beholden to these people to some extent, because like Dante descending into hell, we need a Virgil to guide us through the terrors that are YouTube and worse (on the Internet, there’s always worse). There has been a severe hamstringing of our agency not only as consumers of art, but also as patrons. What we’ve made up for in efficiency, we’ve lost in potential, and that loss of potential — the feeling that boundaries exist on the artistic world — is immensely dissatisfying. We are becoming increasingly tethered to these algorithms and these influencers, and for a reason: What we’ve created, with the advent of almost unlimited access, is as close as the human race has ever come to the elimination of scarcity. There is still a cap on the amount of movies and TV and music out there waiting for us. But like the edges of space, it is something we’re never going to see.” [. . .]    –Kevin Lincoln, The New York Times, March 14, 2014

Alberto Manguel, “Thoughts That Can’t Be Spoken” (2014)

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“[ . . . ] A blood clot in one of the arteries that feeds my brain had blocked for a few minutes the passage of oxygen. As a consequence, some of my brain’s neural passages were cut off and died, presumably ones dedicated to transmitting electric impulses that turn words conceived into words spoken. Unable to go from the act of thinking to its expression, I felt as if I were groping in the dark for something that crumbled at the touch, preventing my thought from forming itself in a sentence, as if its shape (to carry on with my image) had been demagnetized and was no longer capable of attracting the words supposed to define it.

“This left me with a question: What is this thought that has not yet achieved its verbal state of maturity? This, I suppose, is what Dante meant when he wrote that ‘my mind was struck / by lightning bringing me what it wished’ — the desired thought not yet expressed in words.”  –Alberto Manguel, “Thoughts That Can’t Be Spoken,” The New York Times, March 7, 2014

2014 Winter Olympics Bid: Sochi vs. 9th Circle

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Somewhat Topical Ecards, February 7, 2014

 

Prue Shaw, “Why Dante Is Relevant Today” (2014)

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“How can a poet who wrote 700 years ago in medieval Italy possibly be relevant to today’s world? [ . . . ] Italy’s great medieval poet is the equal of England’s great Renaissance playwright in the power of his imagination and the expressive force of his language. His capacity to harness both has created a poetic work whose relevance is universal and timeless. The Comedy is as relevant today as it ever was.”    –Prue Shaw, Huffington Post, February 18, 2014

“Failure Pile in a Sadness Bowl”: Dante as Inspiration for Creative Writers

FailurePile“If you ever feel bad about your own writing, just remember that one of the world’s most well-known works of classic literature is self-insert fanfiction where the author hangs out with his favorite poet and is guided on his journey of discovery by a Manic Pixie Dream Girl version of a woman he met twice.”    —“Failure pile in a sadness bowl,” Mister-Smalls, Tumblr, February 2014

Contributed By Victoria Rea-Wilson (Bowdoin, ’14)

Dante for fun, Illustrated Children’s Books

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“When we got to the gift-shop, we discovered an improbable set of children’s picture books that retell Dante for young people: it’s called Dante for fun and it comes in three volumes (naturally): Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise.”    –Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing, February 18, 2014

Contributed by Gabrielle E. Orsi, Ph.D.

Fashionable Dante

Sancro_inferno_uomo“Lettering originale disegnato a mano dei gironi danteschi, stampato su morbidissimo cotone organico.”    –-SanCrò Firenze