Humanities Magazine’s “What’s the Best Way to Read the Divine Comedy If You Don’t Know Italian?”

humanities-magazine-tour-of-translation-2020-wikimedia“In comparing these two translations, the Sayers version seems to win out in two ways—it matches Dante in form and, to a degree, in content. By starting with ‘Midway this way of life we’re bound upon,’ she remains faithful to the starting point, ‘nel mezzo,’ while Mandelbaum pushes this to the middle of the first line. Sayers adds ‘bound upon’ (not, strictly speaking, in the original), which allows her to make the rhyme in the third line with ‘gone.’ But Mandelbaum is more faithful to the directness of the original, not stretching the meaning or introducing words to make the rhyme. His metered language often seems more natural than Sayers’ and more in keeping with the diction of Dante, which favored solid vocabulary and straight-forward syntax. Mandelbaum, will, in fact, interject rhyme if it’s not forced (as he does with way and stray). In spite of first impressions favoring Sayers, most readers who choose to make the entire journey from inferno to purgatory and finally paradise ultimately find the Mandelbaum translation more satisfying.” [. . .]    –Steve Moyer, Humanities: The Magazine Of The National Endowment For The Humanities, 2017

 

G-Dragon, “Divina Commedia” (2017)

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“The end of hardship Divina Commedia…”

Click on the image above to access the lyric music video, released in 2017, on Youtube.

Empyrean by Alexandra Carr

Hell, Heaven and Hope: A Journey through life and the afterlife with Dante is now open to the public in the Palace Green Galleries at Durham. The exhibition features a fabulous range of copies of Dante’s works, as well as contemporary artwork. Alexandra Carr’s Empyrean features as part of the section of Paradise. Completed as part of Alexandra’s Leverhulme Trust Artist in Residence programme, the sculpture represents the spheres of the medieval universe, drawing on Grosseteste and Dante: sculpting with light on the grandest scale in the creation of the universe.”    —Ordered Universe, December 4, 2017

“In the Ninth Circle, A Misunderstood Angel”

“Cheeseburger eggrolls to the right,
The center head devoured beef nachos.
And on the left, the restaurant’s sickly lights,

Glistened off chicken wonton tacos.
My quarry swilled a foul-smelling elixir
As to his booth we walked-o.”    –Matthew Dessem, Slate, November 25, 2017

“Brakhage: When Light Meets Life”

“His mission, which he pursued with a zealous intensity, was to liberate the eye from such ‘prescribed’ ways of seeing. The insect wings, twigs, and fragments of flowers and leaves that he applied directly to strips of 16mm film in Mothlight (1963) and 35mm in The Garden of Earthly Delights (1981); the streaks and globs of paint that seem to shine with an inner illumination in films like The Dante Quartet (1987); the arcs of light that bend around the underwater surfaces of Boulder Creek in Commingled Containers (1996): Brakhage’s films train you to look at the world as if it were—as he wrote in the first paragraph of his 1963 book Metaphors on Vision—’alive with incomprehensible objects and shimmering with an endless variety of movement.’

[. . .]

“In these cases, figurative footage occasionally still appeared in odd and unexpected settings—one section of The Dante Quartet was painted over what Brakhage identified as ‘a worn-out 70mm print of Irma la Douce.'”    –Max Nelson, The New York Review of Books, June 8, 2017

Still from Brakhage’s film The Dante Quartet, 1987

Selva Oscura

Selva Oscura is a music documentary that explores the creative process during the making of a music video for the song ‘Stolidi Pensieri.’ It also references the opening of Dante’s Inferno and translates to ‘The Dark Forest.’ It’s symbolic of a journey to unknown destinations, which is also our story, as we accidentally created a living project that never had a predetermined outcome and led us in a direction where we were all free to experiment within our disciplines.”    –John Welsh, Vimeo, September 8, 2017

“How long will I be on Submission? (they sob)”

“The Wait haunts all stages of writing for publication. There are different levels of waiting, a bit like Dante’s circles of hell. Waiting for critique, waiting to hear from agents, waiting to receive edits, waiting for feedback on edits, waiting waiting waiting W A I T I N G.”    –Lindsay Galvin, LindsayGalvin.com, October 5, 2017

Francesco Gabbani, “Tra le granite e le granate” (2017)

“Oggi il paradiso costa la metà
Lo dice il venditore di felicità
In fuga dall’inferno, finalmente in viaggio
La tua vacanza in un pacchetto omaggio.”

Check out Francesco Gabbani’s 2017 album Magellano on Spotify.

Dave Sim’s Cerebus in Hell? (2017)

“The first new Cerebus comic since 2004! Where has Cerebus been since he died twelve years ago? Is he in hell? Purgatory? Limbo?”    — Rich Johnston, Bleeding Cool, June 22, 2016

Check out Dave Sim’s Doré-inspired 2017 Cerebus in Hell? here.

To read about the controversy surrounding the title (“Cerebus” vs. “Cerberus”), see Rich Johnston’s blogposts here and here.

All That Man Is (2017) by David Szalay

David Szalay’s All That Man Is, published in 2017 by Vintage, tells the stories of nine different men at varying stages of life, and explores the issues and psych of the 21st century man. The book was a finalist for the 2016 Man Booker Prize, and the winner of the 2016 Paris Review Plimpton Prize for Fiction. The fourth story of the novel cites the first three lines of the Inferno, as the story’s protagonist, a medieval scholar in crisis, drives into a pine forest.

“Pine forests on hillsides start to envelop them on the east side of the Main. And fog.

Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
Mi ritrovai per una selva oscura
Ché la diritta via era smarrita

“Well, here it is. Dark pine forests, hemming the motorway. Shapes of fog throw themselves at the windscreen.” [. . .]    –David Szalay, All That Man Is (p. 146).

You can purchase Szalay’s book here.