“This Was a Hell Not Unlike Anything Dante Conjured”

“This week Herb Childress’s essay in The Chronicle Review, ‘This Is How You Kill a Profession,’ prompted many readers to think about their own tortuous relations with the academy. Childress wrote that the adjunct structure is filled with ‘fear despair, surrender, shame,’ and that rang true for many readers.

“So we asked readers to share their stories about their careers in academe. Here are a selection of responses to our questions about academic life.

“The responses have been edited for length and clarity.” […]    —The Chronicle, March 29, 2019

What Rod Dreher Ought to Know About Dante and Same-Sex Love

“Dante saved my life,” testifies Rod Dreher, senior editor and blogger at The American Conservative, in his recent book, How Dante Can Save Your Life (Simon & Schuster, 2015) about how the poet’s Divine Comedy can save yours as well. His soul-baring account of how Dante Alighieri and two other spiritual guides — a Christian Orthodox priest and an evangelical therapist –helped him escape a dark wood of stress-induced depression and physical illness is smart, moving, and thoroughly engaging. Dreher’s Dante, like Virgil in the poem, does the lion’s share of the guiding, and so earns top billing and occupies most of the narrative’s prime real estate. In showing how the poem brought deeper understanding of himself and his relationships with his father, sister, and God, and in sharing the substance of those life lessons with readers (mostly in appendices to the chapters), the author does not disappoint.

“For those of us who have studied, taught, and written on Dante’s works and their legacy over many years, Dreher’s understanding and use of the Commedia will undoubtedly raise legitimate doubts and objections. However, I found myself more often than not nodding in recognition at his deft discussion of characters, scenes, and themes of the poem. Most of his sharpest points pierce the surface of famous inhabitants of Hell — amorous Francesca, proud Farinata, worldly Brunetto, and megalomaniacal Ulysses are among the highlights; oddly for a book on rescuing lives and souls, he devotes fewer words to the saved individuals in Purgatory and Paradise.” […]    –Guy P. Raffa, Pop Matters, January 21, 2016

The Nine Circles of Survey Research Hell

“When Dante Alighieri was composing the Inferno section of his epic poem, the Divine Comedy, he was surely thinking of online survey content and execution. Okay, maybe he was thinking of something else. Nonetheless, Dante’s visionary landscape of falling into a place where everything around you burns to ruin can apply to various situations. It certainly applies to how shoddy survey research can incinerate your market research. Let’s keep it heavenly then, by avoiding these survey circle hells.”

“First Circle (Limbo): This place (or state of being) is not that bad. It’s full of nice gardens where pagans like Plato, Virgil and Julius Caesar hang out. They never had a chance to convert to Dante’s religion, but get a pass for being notable and thus hang out in blandness for eternity.

“Here on earth, that’s the problem when it comes to market research. Nothing happens. You’ve released a survey, and it’s as quiet as a Nickelback internet fan site. Response rates are low. Why is this happening?

“How to get out of this hell: There are many explanations, as you will see, found by plunging deeper into the rest of the survey circle hells.” […]   –qSample, qSample, April 4, 2016

PhD Comics, Dante’s Inferno (Academic Edition)

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Contributed by Natalie L. Berkman

McSweeney’s: “The Nine Circles of Adjunct Hell.” (2011)

Internet TendencyMcSweeney’s Internet Tendency is the daily humor website of McSweeney’s Publishing, a publishing house founded by David Eggers in San Francisco. Dan Moreau of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency has written this satirical piece referencing the nine circles of Dante’s hell.

Among the circles are: Paper Grading, Classroom Observation, and Parking.

Click here to read the entire piece.

 

Contributed by Humberto González Chávez.

 

Dante Digitized: Debates in the Digital Humanities, ed. Matthew Gold (2012)

Debates“From defining what a digital humanist is and determining whether the field has (or needs) theoretical grounding, to discussions of coding as scholarship and trends in data-driven research, this cutting-edge volume delineates the current state of the digital humanities and envisions potential futures and challenges.” [ . . . ] — DH Debates Website

For more information about the volume and the 2013 open-access edition, click here.

“Dante’s Tenth Circle” by Deborah Tennen

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In Ravenna, Italy, archivists recently discovered a lost canto of Dante’s Inferno — what appears to be the tenth circle of Hell. The ninth circle was previously understood to be the lowest point of Hell reached by Dante and his guide Virgil before ascending on their journey toward Paradise. A portion of the 14th-century manuscript, translated into English prose, is reproduced below.
‘Virgil,’ I cried, ‘Those shades–burning, immersed in human excrement, trapped in icy waters. I thought I had witnessed the basest of all sinners. So who are these figures I now see? Do my eyes betray me, or are their heads fully absorbed in the derrières of others? And who are these individuals whose bottoms are swollen due to the immense size of the heads there immersed?’ [. . .]    –Deborah Tennen, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, October 25, 2012

Contributed by Steve Bartus (Bowdoin, ’07)