Bianca Garavelli, Le Terzine Perdute di Dante (2015)

Bianca Garavelli’s Le terzine perdute di Dante is a historical thriller that follows the affairs of the poet himself, in exile in Paris, and a contemporary scholar who appears to have discovered the poet’s autograph in a manuscript in Milan. The novel was published by BUR Rizzoli in 2015.

“Parigi, 1309. Dante, in esilio, stanco e spaventato, vive nel terrore di essere perseguitato dai suoi numerosi nemici. Una delle sue poche consolazioni è la compagnia di una donna misteriosa, Marguerite Porete, una mistica accusata di eresia della quale Dante diventa il miglior allievo, e che lo conduce nel centro di una guerra spietata fra due ordini che agiscono nell’ombra. In gioco c’è un pericoloso segreto, una profezia di cui l’Alighieri è il depositario prescelto. Ed è il filologo medievale Riccardo Donati a mettersi sulle tracce di quel mistero centinaia di anni dopo, nella Milano dei giorni nostri: mentre esamina un antico manoscritto si imbatte in quella che ha tutta l’aria di essere la firma autografa di Dante. Sarà l’inizio di una vorticosa e inattesa avventura che stravolgerà per sempre la vita di Riccardo, e non solo. Un romanzo sospeso tra passato e presente, tra storia, letteratura e azione, per un thriller storico che si trasforma in una caccia all’uomo frenetica e appassionante.”  —BUR

See more at Bianca Garavelli’s website here.

“On the Road with Dante”

“While The Divine Comedy most clearly reflects the Catholic faith of the poet and his medieval world, it hints at some principles the Reformation would bring to bear on the church two centuries later. Dante purposely wrote in a low style that would have popular appeal despite its highly spiritual subject matter. While the church produced works in Latin, Dante wrote in the vernacular. His choice was revolutionary, ensuring the work could and would be read by common men as well as by women and children (who still study the work extensively in Italian schools today).

“Despite its loftiness, The Divine Comedy is firmly grounded in the gritty and the mundane. In fact, Dante didn’t use the word divine in his title. He simply titled it Commedia, which at the time meant a work with a happy ending as opposed to a tragic one. (The word ‘divine’ was added by a later editor and has stuck through the years.) In casting a fictional version of himself as the central figure, The Divine Comedy is prophetically personal, confessional, and autobiographical. In this way it emphasizes a surprisingly modern sense of self-determination, one that foreshadows the famous ‘Protestant work ethic.’ Moreover, in its accent on the salvation and purification of the individual soul, this work of the Catholic Dante anticipates the spiritual autobiographies of Puritans such as John Bunyan. The Divine Comedy is a story of someone seeking salvation. In Dante’s own words, the poem’s purpose is to lead readers from ‘a state of wretchedness to a state of happiness.’ And while depicting salvation in the afterlife, it’s clear Dante intends readers to find abundant life in the here and now.” [. . .]    –Karen Swallow Prior, The Gospel Coalition, October 21, 2015.

“The 34 Greatest Poets of All Time”

Dante Alighieri

Birthplace: Florence, Italy

Famous poem: Divine Comedy

Famous quote: ‘Consider your origin; you were not born to live like brutes, but to follow virtue and knowledge.’

[. . .]

Poetry — one of the most important and time-honored forms of literature in the world — brought us greats like William Shakespeare and W.B. Yeats to ancient poets like Homer and Dante Alighieri to American treasures like Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson.”    –Mo Elinzano, Deseret News, March 20, 2015

“Michael Hersch’s ‘a breath upwards’ Receives Baltimore Premiere”

“Scored for soprano, horn, clarinet, and viola, ‘a breath upwards’ has a sung text drawn from Dante — mostly Purgatorio, with some Inferno at the end — and another, un-sung text drawn from Ezra Pound’s Cantos. The fragmentary Pound lines are meant to be contemplated during four instrumental interludes in the 12-movement cycle.

[. . .]

This score, Hersch wrote in a program note printed in Thursday’s program, was his effort ‘to get away from illness, fear and loss,’ that he turned to parts of Dante’s epic poem about purgatory and hell might not seem the most logical way of going about this attitude shift, but it’s a perfectly natural choice for the deep-thinking Hersch.

[. . .]

The most extraordinary and moving passage was the final song, when the dark mood lifted just enough, leading to a long, beautiful melodic arc for the singer in the final line: ‘And then we emerged to see the stars again.’ The sudden cut-off at the end of that line — like the way a falling star evaporates in an instant — was a master stroke.”    –Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun, April 24, 2015

Dante Today and the Philippines with Professor Paul Dumol

“Professor Dumol is a Dante Alighieri expert: he will explain different passages from the Divine Comedy and will explain the meaning of the Divine Comedy in the Philippines and for the Philippines.”    –Fully Booked, heyevent, November 14, 2015

Dante’s Purgatory – Love Gone Wrong / Love Redeemed

“Come and join us in an afternoon filled with dance of lust & envy and of silent movement, choir of extraordinary voices, and medieval Italian electronic dance music.”    –@lovegonewrong, Facebook, October 29, 2015

“Walking With Dante” – The Colin McEnroe Show

On a 2015 episode of Connecticut Public Radio’s The Colin McEnroe Show, Colin McEnroe, Chion Wolf, and guests Joseph Luzzi, Ron Jenkins, and Rod Dreher discuss the dark wood of the Inferno.

“The story of The Divine Comedy is an adventure story based on Dante’s real life in 14th century Italy. He was deeply wrapped up in the politics of his time. He was a city official, diplomatic negotiator, poet, and a man who dared to cross the pope. He was exiled from his city, never to return under threat of death. He left all behind, except his unrequited love for Beatrice.

“Nearly broken and in a ‘dark wood’ of grief in midlife, Dante wrote a masterpiece that is remarkably relevant today for all of us who have ever been in the dark wood of loss. This hour, we talk to three people who walked with Dante through the dark wood.” [. . .]    –Betsy Kaplan, Connecticut Public Radio, September 28, 2015.

You can listen to the episode and check out the associated links on the WNPR site.

“Wandering from the Straight Path of Clarity,” review of “The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists”

“You may feel, at times, as if you’ve been handed a map, and then told that the map may or may not be accurate, may or may not relate to anything in the real world, may or may not be entirely a fiction, or a random design concocted by some clever trickster to mislead you. That is how the title of a new show at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art — ‘The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists’ — relates to the work on view, by more than 40 artists from 18 African countries.

“The exhibition is shoehorned into spaces not quite big enough for anything to breathe comfortably, filling temporary galleries, stairwells and passage spaces on four floors of the mostly subterranean museum. The current exhibition, curated by Simon Njami, is slightly smaller than the original Dante exhibition he presented in Frankfurt last spring, but it still sprawls, both in its physical layout (the route through its various rooms requires careful navigation) and intellectually.

“Consider one of the best works in the show, a large-scale drawing by Julie Mehretu, in which a finely etched suggestion of architectural facades is overlaid with a storm of delicate lines, smudges and erasures. In the catalogue, published in conjunction with the Frankfurt display, her work is listed as belonging to the ‘Purgatory’ part of the presentation; in Washington, it is in the ‘Inferno’ room. It isn’t the only work to migrate from one celestial realm to another, and those migrations suggest that the basic template borrowed from Dante is not to be taken too seriously.” […]    –Phillip Kennicott, The Washington Post, April 17, 2015

See also our post on the first iteration of Njami’s exhibition, featured at the Savannah College of Art and Design’s museum.

Winter Grocery Shopping With Toddlers Is The Tenth Circle Of Hell

“Grocery shopping with toddlers isn’t that much fun to begin with, but throw some -10ºF temperatures into the mix, and you’ve got a recipe for hell on earth. Frigid, snowy weather on grocery day is almost enough to convince me we’ll somehow manage to survive on a few cans of button mushrooms and a jar of olives until the next week.

“Besides trying to corral tiny people who have mastered the art of ‘walking’ but not so much the art of ‘walking without careening into every other person/cart/carefully laid out pyramid of soup cans in the store’, the main problem with winter grocery shopping with small children is that it presents a series of obnoxious choices.” […]    –Aimee Ogden, Mommyish, February 23, 2015

Nine Circles of Writing Hell

9-circles-of-writing-hell“Today I don my Debbie Downer hat to discuss the circles of Writing Hell. Not surprising, the circle is an apt descriptor of the writing process because our thoughts go ’round and ’round…and ’round some more. The bad news: There is no escape for writers. The good news: There is no escape for writers.” — L.Z. Marie, L.Z. Marie, June 13, 2015

Read the full article here.