Dante’s Tour of Hell

“All hope abandon ye who enter here.”

“That’s the inscription on the gate to Hell in one of the first English translations of The Divine Comedy, by Henry Francis Cary, in 1814. You probably know it as the less tongue-twisting ‘Abandon hope all ye who enter here,’ which is the epigraph for Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho, hangs as a warning above the entrance to the Disney theme park ride Pirates of the Caribbean, appears in the videogame World of Warcraft, and has been repurposed as a lyric by The Gaslight Anthem.

“But it’s just one line of the 14,233 that make up The Divine Comedy, the three-part epic poem published in 1320 by Florentine bureaucrat turned visionary storyteller Dante Alighieri. Literary ambition seems to have been with Dante, born in 1265, from early in life when he wished to become a pharmacist. In late 13th-century Florence, books were sold in apothecaries, a testament to the common notion that words on paper or parchment could affect minds with their ideas as much as any drug.” […]    –Christian Blauvelt, BBC, June 5, 2018

The 9 Rings of Donald Trump’s Administrative Hell

“In Inferno, the first part of Dante Alighieri’s epic poem Divine Comedy, the titular character is guided through the nine circles of hell. The darker your crimes, the lower the levels of hell you descend to until you meet up with Satan himself, trapped at the center of it all.

“At the top are crimes such as heresy and failure to believe; at the bottom, closer to the devil himself, are the rings of treachery and violence. Reflecting on a campaign season during which Donald Trump literally called Hillary Clinton the devil and threatened to put her in chains, you have to wonder whether he wasn’t subconsciously projecting, given the hellish landscape he has turned his early administration into. However, it’s not the nether regions that should concern most Americans but those condemned to the outer rings for lesser crimes.

“Trump may not actually be the vision of Satan portrayed in Inferno, even if he staffs his new administration like the rings of hell. Inferno describes Satan as a ghastly creature trapped by his own vanity with three faces: one red, one yellow and one black. The fact that Trump is now in a position that he has lusted after for years but is equally overwhelmed and unprepared for is strangely apropos.

“While Trump does not have leather wings, he is banishing those who dared not believe in him to limbo, and surrounding himself with white nationalists, terror sympathizers and warmongers. Anyone thinking that perhaps Trump’s own erratic tendencies would be balanced out by some sort of smart team of rivals should take note of the entryway to hell: “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.” […]    –Jason Johnson, The Root, November 26, 2016

The 9 Circles of Millennial Hell

“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here. This is a dead zone. (Effing AT&T…)
– Dante Alighier-ish

“Dante’s Divine Comedy was written in the 14th century with his uber-Catholic, Italian counterparts in mind. While the allegory of the afterlife lives on in modern culture, the Inferno would probably look slightly different were it typed out on an iPad.” […]    –Laura Stampler, TIME, July 30, 2014

Marvel Comics, Ka-Zar the Savage #9-12 (1981-1982)


“In 1982, Marvel Comics incorporated Dante Alighieri into their superhero universe in Ka-Zar the Savage Issues #9-12. Apparently, Dante based the Inferno on a pre-historic, Atlantean amusement park, one where cultists killed Beatrice in order to summon inter-dimensional demons. Dante managed to defeat the cultists with his prayers, but they return to power seven centuries later to attempt to summon their demon-lords again. That leaves it up to Ka-zar the Savage to climb down an animatronic Hell to finish what Dante started.”  –Paul Jenizm

(Contributed by Paul Jenizm)

The Nine Circles of DMV Hell

“Dante has nothing on Jason Greene, who stood in line at the DMV for an entire day… With three kids.

“Dante once wrote that Hell had nine circles within its depths. Dante’s Inferno is an amazing literary work that describes in great detail the horror of a place where no person wishes to go. Dante must have been inspired by a trip to the local DMV.

“You see, I recently journeyed into an inferno of abandoned hope, discomfort, and pain when I was forced to visit the Queens DMV. Like Dante, I encountered the nine circles of Hell, though not necessarily in the same order. But first, some backstory . . .

“We recently bought a new vehicle and we needed to get new plates. The month had been difficult and harried and we didn’t get the title from the dealership until our temporary tags were almost set to expire. Unfortunately, only a short time before, I lost my wallet and everything in it. I ordered a new license, but since it had not arrived and the tags were set to expire the next day, we had no choice but to try to register without it. The story gets more complicated; my wife had to leave town at the last minute for business and the title is in both of our names.

“Now, none of that should have been a problem. Before my wife left, she signed all the necessary paperwork, including a form that gave me the right to make all decisions on her behalf. We even had contacted the DMV to make sure that we were walking in with all the correct paperwork and to verify that I could do the deal without a license. They assured us that all would be fine.” [. . .]    –Jason Greene, The Good Men Project, September 15, 2012.

All was not fine for Jason Greene at the DMV. Read Greene’s account of the circles of DMV Hell here.

The Introvert’s Nine Circles of Hell

“Ever wondered what hell would be like for introverts? I think it would be something like this… Abandon all hope, ye introverts who enter here…” — Michelle Connolly, Louder Minds, March 21, 2016

Find out all the circles of hell for introverts here.

circles-of-hell-introverts-2016

Vinson Cunningham, “How the Idea of Hell Has Shaped the Way We Think”

“The  great poetic example of the blurriness between the everyday and the ever after is Dante’s Inferno, which begins with the narrator ‘midway upon the journey of our life,’ having wandered away from the life of God and into a ‘forest dark.’ That wood, full of untamed animals and fears set loose, leads the unwitting pilgrim to Virgil, who acts as his guide through the ensuing ordeal, and whose Aeneid, itself a recapitulation of the Odyssey, acts as a pagan forerunner to the Inferno. This first canto of the poem, regrettably absent from the Book of Hell, reads as a kind of psychological-metaphysical map, marking the strange route along which one person’s private trouble leads both outward and downward, toward the trouble of the rest of the world.

[. . .]

“Insecurity is a tomb; these are the kinds of midlife crises from which few people recover. ‘Abandon all hope, ye who enter here’ is as applicable to certain poisonous habits of mind as to the gates of Hell. One leads, inexorably, to the other.” — Vinson Cunningham, “How the Idea of Hell Has Shaped the Way We Think,” Review of The Penguin Book of Hell in The New Yorker (January 21, 2019)

Luke Chueh’s Inferno (2009)

“The Inferno‘s artistic legacy is huge; Botticelli, Doré, Dali, Rauschenberg, and countless lesser known artists have created works inspired by the poem. It has inspired a movie (acted out by paper puppets) and even became a video game. Most artists seem to stay true to the poem, focusing on ‘the poets’ Dante, his guide Virgil, and Inferno‘s diverse cast of demons and damned. Rauschenberg approached Inferno by creating a painting for each of the 36 cantos. As for me, I’ve decided to remove Dante and Virgil, and instead create a painting for each ring of hell, with the exception of Rings Seven (a triptych – 3 paintings) and Eight (a deciptych – 10 paintings). I wanted to compose each painting in a way that illustrates what a ‘normal day in hell’ would be like. In order for me to accomplish this, I had to take some personal liberties with certain details within the Inferno, but I did my best to stay as true to the text as I could.

“Inferno was hosted by Gallery 1988, and opened on September 9th, 2009 (9/9/9). If you’re interested in any of these paintings, please contact Gallery 1988 for availability.” [. . .]    —Luke Chueh on his work, August, 2009.

Pictured above is Chueh’s map of his Inferno.

You can check out the full series of artwork and more of Chueh’s work on his website.

Carolina Crown 2015 Show: Inferno

Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps is a World Class competitive junior drum and bugle corps.

“Never has Hell been so captivating and entertaining. ‘Inferno’ took us deep into the world of Italian poet Dante Alighieri’s nine circles of Hell, the circles seen starting near the feet of the corps’ uniform, wrapping up the leg, continuing on the hat, and ending in the feather that points upward to Heaven. Images printed on the color guard’s flags were copies of original Divine Comedy illustrations by French artist Gustave Doré. It was a helluva good time for all, sinful in its rapturous delight.”

The Carolina Crown Corps made it to 2nd place in the Drum Corps International 2015 Finals.

Watch the Corps’s preview show below:

Watch a snippet of the Corps’s final show below:

Australian Metal Band, Abandon All Hope

abandon-all-hope-band-2005Abandon All Hope is a metal band out of Adelaide, Australia that was formed in 2005. The band had 5 members – Micah Leinonen as vocals, Jarrod Kennett on bass guitar, Chris Whitbread on drums, and Jake Battista and Shaan Kelly on guitars. The Metal Archives list the band’s lyrical themes as “Hate, Anger, Life, [and] Relationships.” The band split up in 2013.

Their discography consisted of 3 albums – Where Life and Death Meet (2007), A Havoc Command (2010), and Prowler (2011).