Google+ and McSweeney

google-and-mcsweeney
Timothy McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, August 1, 2011

Contributed by Steve Bartus (Bowdoin, ’08)

Lee K. Abbott, “One of Star Wars, One of Doom” (2007)

lee-k-abbott-one-of-star-wars-one-of-doom-2007“The story follows Mr. DeWine, a high school civics teacher looking for the love that will bring meaning to his middle years, and the two alienated students who plot death, havoc, and woe.”    —Fantastic Fiction

“The first reference is to the two high school boys who shoot up the school as ‘founding members of the ninth circle.’ (Abbott) The second reference is made by Mr. DeWine as he notes a student’s inscription on a desk in his classroom, ”Abandon all hope,’ someone has scribbled. Dante-what a bozo. Blame the whole fiasco on Beatrice.’ (Abbott) This reference foreshadows the outcome of the story.    –Katie Tiller

Contributed by Katie Tiller (University of Texas at Austin)

Luke Rosenau on the role of Beatrice in the Comedy

luke-rosenau-on-the-role-of-beatrice
“… In the hopes of providing Beatrice with as much agency as possible and reversing this unfortunate reversal of the original narrative arc, here is a remix of some clips from the trailer set to Beatrice’s speech via Virgil in Inferno II (verses 61-73). The audio is a reading by Lino Pertile from the Princeton Dante Project. And it was Professor Teodolinda Barolini’s concern over the game’s impact on the reception of Dante that sparked the remix in the first place.”    –Luke Rosenau

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_ymsJXvSn0 (retrieved on March 12, 2010)

“Where Have All the Muses Gone?”

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Carl Wilhelm Friederich Oesterly’s portrait of Alighieri Dante and his muse Beatrice Portinari.

“Whatever happened to the Muse? She was once the female figure — deity, Platonic ideal, mistress, lover, wife — whom poets and painters called upon for inspiration. Thus Homer in the Odyssey, the West’s first great work of literary art: ‘Sing to me of the man, Muse, of twists and turns driven time and again off course.’ For hundreds of years, in one form or another, the Muse’s blessing and support were often essential to the creation of art. . .
Yet for sheer chutzpah, you cannot beat Dante Alighieri’s invocation, in the Paradiso — the last part of his Divine Comedy — not just to the nine muses, but also to Minerva, the goddess of wisdom, and Apollo, god of poetry and music and the muses’ boss, as it were.
Dante’s Divine Comedy, completed in the early 14th century, is a turning point for musedom. By the end of his massive poem, the muses have been left behind by the heavenly Christian music of the spheres, ‘a song,’ writes Dante, ‘that excels our muses.’ The pagan nine had been replaced by the Holy Trinity of the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost. That, in turn, freed artistic inspiration to go seek more earthly sources.
Dante’s source was an actual person, a young girl named Beatrice Portinari whom Dante claims he first saw on the street in Florence when they were both nine. He fell in love with her, but she died in her early 20s. Dante paid tribute to Beatrice first in a breathtaking volume of sonnets and prose poems he called La Vita NuovaThe New Life — and then made Beatrice a central figure in The Divine Comedy, where she is cast in the roles of teacher, guide and sacred ideal.
Beatrice symbolized both earthly love and Christian truth — the poet’s lust became ‘sublimated,’ as we would say, into spiritual longing.” [. . .]    –Lee Siegel, The Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2009

Contributed by Aisha Woodward (Bowdoin, ’08)

John Kinsella, “Divine Comedy: Journeys Through a Regional Geography” (2008)

john-kinsella-divine-comedy-journeys-through-a-regional-geography-2008“This mammoth new volume from Australia’s Kinsella (Doppler Effect) takes its template and three-line stanza from the three books of Dante’s epic, out of order: first Purgatorio, then Paradiso, then Inferno. Each of the three works, made from dozens of separate poems, joins allusions to Dante with sights, events and memories from Kinsella’s Australia, especially the farming region outside Perth, where he grew up and sometimes lives. The poet’s wife, Tracy (his Beatrice, he says), and their toddler, Tim, play roles throughout. Mostly, though, the poems concern places, not people; their ground note is ecological, with nature taking many forms (locust wings… at sunrise over shallow farm-dams steaming already) set against the ballast/ of cars and infrastructures that endangers it all. That motif of eco-protest dominates the Inferno (last blocks of bushland// cleared away to placate the hunger/ for the Australian Dream), but it turns up in all three of these (perhaps too similar, and surely too long) sequences. Like his compatriot Les Murray, Kinsella can sound uncontrolled, even sloppy. Yet he can turn a phrase (Who describes where we are without thinking/ of when we’ll leave it?). Moreover, he means all he says and never exhausts his ideas or ambition.”    –Publisher’s Weekly, Amazon

Contributed by Aisha Woodward (Bowdoin, ’08)

Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Rappaccini’s Daughter” (1844)

nathanial-hawthorne-rappaccinis-daughter-1844The daughter of the protagonist (an Italian scientist) is thought to be modeled after Dante’s Beatrice.

Dezso Magyar directed a film based on the short story (1980).

Contributed by Kate Moon (Bowdoin, ’09)

Beatrice in “A Series of Unfortunate Events”

beatrice-in-a-series-of-unfortunate-eventsBeatrice is the name of a mysterious character in the children’s book series, A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. Beatrice does not appear in the main series, though she is often mentioned by the narrator as a lost love and, according to Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography, is the reason Snicket started writing the Baudelaires’ story. A 2006 spin-off book, The Beatrice Letters, sheds light on her story.
She is thought by many to be named for Beatrice Portinari, the beloved of the poet Dante, who spurned him and then died young. He devoted his Divine Comedy to her, and in it she figures as his muse and personal saviour. She arranges for his journey through the afterlife and guides him through heaven.” (retrieved on Dec 12, 2006)

Contributed by Kate Moon (Bowdoin, ’09)