“2025: fourteen years after the failed revolution, Egypt is invaded once more. As traumatized Egyptians eke out a feral existence in Cairo’s dusty downtown, former cop Ahmed Otared joins a group of fellow officers seeking Egypt’s liberation through the barrel of a gun. As Cairo becomes a foul cauldron of drugs, sex, and senseless violence, Otared finally understands his country’s fate. In this unflinching and grisly novel, Mohammad Rabie envisages a grim future for Egypt, where death is the only certainty.” —Amazon. (this dystopian, apocalyptic science fiction novel is organized in line with Dante’s circles of Hell)
“Jazz critic Gary Giddins chortles as he recounts the tale, pointing out that if these American Brahmins had simply deigned to take a train south from Boston to New York City, and stepped into the Roseland Ballroom on a Thursday night, they would have experienced the American Bach, Dante, and Shakespeare all rolled into one: Louis Armstrong.
“Born to a 15-year-old who sometimes worked as a prostitute, raised in a New Orleans neighborhood so violent it was known as ‘the Battlefield,’ sent to a juvenile detention facility at 11 for firing a gun into the street—his early years would surely put him on the pipeline to prison today.
“Had that occurred, the distinctly American music that Louis Armstrong created might never have happened. The American songbook, as we know it today, simply would not exist.” [. . .] –Eboo Patel, SOJOURNERS, July, 2016.
This series of 14 paintings–each painting paired with a quotation from the poem–begins as such:
“In 2016, a previously unknown manuscript of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy was discovered in Florence, Italy: BNE Ms. II I 928. The discovery of this manuscript has reignited debate about the possible survival of the original version of Dante’s poem, written in his own hand. Until now, the study of Dante’s poem has been based upon copies of the poem made after his death in 1321. Scholars have found that the text of this newly discovered manuscript does not significantly differ from the other known copies of the Divine Comedy. BNE Ms. II I 928 nonetheless has unique features. Perhaps most remarkably, scholars have found that the text of the poem is written in a mirror script, i.e., from right to left. This blog is dedicated to dissemination of news about the restoration and interpretation of the manuscript, undertaken in the historic Sala Manoscritti (Manuscript Room) of the BNE in Florence. –Beata Viatrix “
This incipit is followed by explanatory footnotes (1-7). The artist/s do not name themselves on the website where this is posted: Explicit Liber Erratus.
In an email we wrote to the contributor of this citing asking for clarification, “Beata Viatrix” responded as such: “Those of us who have studied the manuscript do not yet know who made its illustrations or when. The ongoing restoration might in the future help to illuminate questions regarding authorship and historical interpretation. We have already found some intriguing evidence of multiple hands in the manuscript. Those hands are in various states of decomposition, so their usefulness for ultimately identifying the manuscript’s creators remains in question.”
“Poll air travelers this Thanksgiving weekend and they will single out the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) for particular animus. They will blame the TSA for long lines and inefficiency in order to support a process that has as much to do with theater as it does true security. But, as a frequent traveler and a bit of a curmudgeon before my time—1.5 million miles on United can do that to a person—I would argue that the TSA deserves to occupy only one circle of hell, and a relatively mild one at that. True eternal damnation should be reserved for my fellow passengers. So, in the opposite of the spirit of Thanksgiving and with all due respect to Dante, below are those who occupy my nine circles of travel hell:” [. . .] –Michael Rubin, AEIdeas, November 22, 2016.
“Periodicals: The most frigid and judgmental part of the library. If you even think of talking or breathing above a whisper, you will be violently shushed (and maybe shanked).” –Caroline Brown, North by Northwestern, February 22, 2016