Tina Turner and Dante Alighieri

In an interview with the New York Times Book Review, Tina Turner mentioned Dante Alighieri and the Divine Comedy in her answers to Jillian Tamaki’s literary questions.

Ms. Turner on the Divine Comedy as a book she can read again and again:

“In 2017, my kidneys were failing and I went through a prolonged period of dialysis. Every time I went to the clinic, I brought the same three books with me: The Book of Secrets, by Deepak Chopra, the Divine Comedy, by Dante, and a book of photography by the extraordinary Horst P. Horst. I needed something for the spirit, something for the intellect and something for the senses, and the ritual of studying the same books while I was undergoing treatment was comforting to me because it imposed order on a situation I couldn’t otherwise control.” [. . .]

Ms. Turner on Dante as her first-choice guest for her literary dinner party:

“I like a dinner party to be a lively mixture of different kinds of people — young, old and everything in between. So my first choice would be Dante — after all my years of studying the Divine Comedy, I need to ask him a lot of questions! I could be his Beatrice! Since I can’t choose between Anne Rice and Stephen King, I’d set places for both of them. Their books have kept me awake for many a night because there’s nothing I enjoy more than a good scare! And I’d definitely serve Thai food, because I like things spicy.” [. . .]    –Tina Turner interviewed by Jillian Tamaki, the New York Times Book Review, October 18, 2018.

You can read the full interview on the New York Times.

Alexander McQueen’s 1996 Show Dante

inferno-book-alexander-mcqueen-1996“Taking place at Christ Church in Spitalfields (Isabella Blow was obsessed with the idea that it’s architect, Nicholas Hawksmoor, was a Satanist), Alexander McQueen’s 1996 show Dante was a controversial comment on religion, war and innocence that mixed crucifixes with corsets and had models sticking their tongues out in church. It was a show that McQueen himself, as well as many others, have referenced over and over again, but without the phenomenon of social media, backstage shots never made it into the public eye. In a new book Inferno: Alexander McQueen, published by Laurence King, exclusive, never-before-seen photographs front and backstage are revealed for the very first time. These will be published alongside rare interviews with Lee’s friends, peers and colleagues, and includes contributions from Suzy Menkes, Katy England, Andrew Groves (McQueen’s partner at the time), as well as the models, stylists and designers who helped create the dramatic show.” — Felicity Kinsella for i-D on vice.com

Michiko Kakutani Review: Books on Donald Trump

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“To read a stack of new and reissued books about Mr. Trump, as well as a bunch of his own works, is to be plunged into a kind of Bizarro World version of Dante’s Inferno, where arrogance, acquisitiveness and the sowing of discord are not sins, but attributes of leadership; a place where lies, contradictions and outrageous remarks spring up in such thickets that the sort of moral exhaustion associated with bad soap operas quickly threatens to ensue.” — Michiko Kakutani, “In Books on Donald Trump, Consistent Portraits of a High-Decibel Narcissist,” The New York Times (August 25, 2016)

Review of Steven Sherrill, The Minotaur Takes His Own Sweet Time (2016)

A-Minotaur's-in-Maintenance-in-a-tale-of-rust-belt-america

“Ovid describes the Minotaur as ‘part man, part bull,’ half cattle-shaggy, half smooth. Surely this creature deserves a brief campaign bio here: You might remember how, when King Minos’ wife fell hard for a gigantic white bull, their calf-child arrived ­lactose-intolerant, hungry only for human flesh. (I am not making this up, either.) A subterranean maze gets constructed as Minotaur’s cradle and prison. Dante later defamed the creature’s violence with a walk-on role in the Inferno. And only one century ago, Pablo Picasso — boy-­wizard at drawing animals and humans — found the Minotaur allowed both virtuosities concurrently. The horny, weak-eyed ­he-male beast became his ­spirit animal.” — Allan Gurganus, “A Minotaur’s in Maintenance in a Tale of Rust Belt America,” Review of The Minotaur Takes His Own Sweet Time by Steven Sherrill, The New York Times, Sept. 30, 2016

Dino Di Durante, Inferno: The Art Collection (2014)

DinoDiDuranteDino Di Durante’s life’s work, passion, and assistance from a committee of Dante experts helped guide his hand through his contemporary paintings, inspired to educate the world about Dante and his Divine Comedy.

“Boris [Acosta]’s documentary feature film (Inferno by Dante) will screen at Cannes Film Festival in May 2016, and Dino Di Durante’s 72-piece art collection has been published as a book on Amazon [. . .] Each painting comes with a description of the passage at the bottom of each page as well as QR Codes to be scanned to read the actual text for free online while enjoying the art itself. Inferno: The Art Collection as the book is titled, is already translated in 33 languages, with more to come.” — Review: “Dante’s Inferno Gets Repainted” on Thalo: Artist Community

See the related post on Dino Di Durante and Boris Acosta’s Dante’s Inferno Animated here.

PrPh Rare Books: Exhibition of Livio Ambrogio’s Dante collection

PRPH Books is pleased to announce that from April 8th, 2016 an exceptional exhibit on Dante Alighieri will be hosted in our gallery on the Upper East Side. The exhibit will show an outstanding selection of fifty books and manuscripts, all coming from the collection of Livio Ambrogio, without any doubt the most important and comprehensive Dante collection today in private hands. The exhibit will remain open until May 13th, 2016, Mon-Fri 10am-6pm. For further information, please contact us at news@prphbooks.com

Rod Dreher, How Dante Can Save Your Life (2015)

DreherDanteIn his 2015 book, How Dante Can Save Your Life: The Life-Changing Wisdom of History’s Greatest Poem, writer Rod Dreher explores, from an ex-Catholic perspective, how the Commedia helped him come out of a deep depression.

“Dante helped Dreher understand the mistakes and mistaken beliefs that had torn him down and showed him that he had the power to change his life. Dreher knows firsthand the solace and strength that can be found in Dante’s great work, and distills its wisdom for those who are lost in the dark wood of depression, struggling with failure (or success), wrestling with a crisis of faith, alienated from their families or communities, or otherwise enduring the sense of exile that is the human condition.”    —Simon & Schuster

Contributed by Marija Petkovic, Stanford University ’18

“Books, Just Like You Wanted”

03bits-knightley-tmagArticle“Kiera Knightley in the 2005 film “Pride and Prejudice.” The book by Jane Austen is among the most opened books on Oyster but is finished less than 1 percent of the time.”

“Anyone can publish a book these days, and just about everyone does. But if the supply of writers is increasing at a velocity unknown in literary history, the supply of readers is not. That is making competition for attention rather fierce. One result: ceaseless self-promotion by eager beginners.” […]

“Another commentator quoted the poet Joseph Brodsky, who wrote that ‘in cultural matters, it is not demand that creates supply, it is the other way around. You read Dante because he wrote The Divine Comedy, not because you felt the need for him: you would not have been able to conjure either the man or the poem.’ ” […]    –David Streitfeld, The New York Times, January 3, 2014

“Ziggy Stardust’s Reading Habits”

ziggy-stardusts-reading-habits“Plenty of music fans could have guessed that David Bowie was a fan of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, since Mr. Bowie once aspired to produce a musical based on the novel. Now we have 99 other book recommendations from the Thin White Duke…”

“Elsewhere, there’s Dante’s Inferno, Homer’s Iliad and The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Min‘ by Julian Jaynes. As the A.V. Club put it: ‘David Bowie has once again shown that he’s not only far richer, sexier and more fabulous than you, but probably smarter.'”    –John Williams, The New York Times, October 1st, 2013

Elisabeth Tonnard, “In This Dark Wood” (2008)

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“This book is a modern gothic. It pairs images of people walking alone in nighttime city streets with 90 different English translations I collected of the first lines of Dante’s Inferno. The images, showing a crowd of solitary figures, are selected from the same archive as used for Two of Us (the extraordinary Joseph Selle collection at the Visual Studies Workshop which contains over a million negatives from a company of street photographers working in San Francisco from the 40’s to the 70’s).
The book is set up in a repetitious way, to stress a sense of similarity, endlessness and interchangeability. The images are re-expressions of each other, and so are the texts.”    —Elisabeth Tonnard

Contributed by Guy Raffa (University of Texas – Austin)