“Iraq: Dante’s Hell for Animals?”

“Nearby, a brown bear that once roamed the Kurdish mountain reaches from the shadows of a filthy enclosure for a wafer biscuit that a boy holds just out of reach. Meanwhile, in a central cage that seems to double as the zoo’s garbage dump an adult male baboon makes lewd gestures to a group of teenage boys poking him with sticks. This sad place is not the beastly equivalent of Dante’s third hell, but a zoo — and a typical one for captive animals in Iraq.”    –Tracey Shelton, Public Radio International, May 22, 2010

Dante the Snake

His original name was going to be Alucard, which is Dracula spelled backward, but it took quite a bit of convincing from Rudolph and the other roommates to deem it an unwise decision. After a few moments debate, they decided to call him Dante, after the famous poet who wrote the Divine Comedy.”    –Kathryn Coffey, The Decaturian, February 25, 2019

Open the Slaughterhouses

open-the-slaughterhouses“IN 1999, as a writer for The American Prospect, I went into a slaughterhouse undercover, with the help of some rebellious employees. The floor was slick with the residue of blood and suet, and the air smelled like iron. A part of my brain spent the whole time trying to remember which of Dante’s circles this scene most resembled.”  [. . .]    –Jedediah Purdy, The New York Times, April 8, 2013

Cat Cafe, Seoul, South Korea

cat-cafe-seoul-south-korea

“Long hours at the office, tiny apartments and high stress levels are so characteristic of life in Seoul that the city’s motto might as well be ‘Abandon sleep, all ye who enter here.’ So it’s not surprising that Seoul residents keep thousands of coffee shops in business. The cafes allow tired masses to meet in a space that’s neither home nor work, taking time out from busy schedules to see friends and relax. While faceless chains are plentiful, a number of quirky theme cafes have sprung up, satisfying both the need for caffeine and the Korean passion for anything trendy, cute or both. Charming, whimsical and sometimes downright bizarre, these places embody a peculiarly Korean sensibility.” [. . .]

“About 20 cats of various breeds live in this scrupulously clean cafe. Cat lovers whose homes are too small to house a pet can spend time playing with and photographing the residents while enjoying their coffee.” [. . .]    –Nell McShane Wulfhart, The New York Times, January 5, 2012

Paolo and Francesca Bears

paolo-and-francesca-bears“Paolo looks handsome and energetic in a green knitted jumper, with his named embroidered across the front. Francesca looks ‘bella’ in her red knitted jumper, and is delighted that her name is clearly embroidered on the front. Both bears are a wonderful support in the classroom. They bring a real Italian flavour and excitement into school and really adore being with the children.”    —Golden Daffodils

Lyn White

lyn-white“Lyn White is the slender, blonde, former South Australian police senior constable who, armed with a hand-held video camera, descended into the depravity of Indonesia’s most hellish abattoirs. Her footage invoking all the blood, wailing, and terror of Dante’s Inferno as Australian cattle were tortured and brutalised before slaughter was broadcast on Four Corners last month and has caused a backlash against Australia’s live export trade so quick and so vehement that the Government has suspended the trade to Indonesia.” [. . .]    –Emma Macdonald, The Canberra Times, July 2, 2010 (retrieved on July 7, 2011)

Fur-Berus

fur-berus

Contributed by Victoria Rea-Wilson (Bowdoin, ’14)

Mark E. Rogers, “Samurai Cat Goes to Hell” (1998)

mark-e-rogers-samurai-cat-goes-to-hell-1998In the last of the Samurai Cat series, Rogers uses Dante’s scheme of hell to frame the action.

“This comedic Inferno includes Nazi tyrannosaurs in dinosaur-sized tanks, characters resembling figures from the Oz books, Virtuous Pagans galore and Satan, who, though trapped in ice at the bottom of hell, wears pink panties and can send out projections in the shape of bad actors. The heroes are aided by felines from the other Samurai Cat books, a guardian angel named Henry and a mysterious ‘itinerant preacher’ who looks like Clint Eastwood.”    –Publishers Weekly, Amazon

Dante and Swan

dante-and-swan

Contributed by Richard Abrams