Leah Yananton’s Surviving Me: The Nine Circles of Sophie (2015)

“I made Surviving Me because I found from my own experience as an undergrad, that the pressure on our college campuses for women to be hypersexual is damaging to everyone. During my college years in post 9-11 NYC, the world around me stopped making sense and the social scene was full of chaos and escapism, yet in my Medieval poetry class I was reading themes that related to present day. My peers were testing the limits of defying convention regarding sexuality and traditional relationship values, asserting that being liberated meant you were superior to consequences. However, I had the feeling that I had fallen into the River Styx and was swiftly sinking to the bottom. In order to find solid ground, I had to fight for boundaries and integrity and I brought my battle into writing the script. Dante’s Inferno was a constant companion with its focus on behavior and consequences, and Surviving Me became a reflective creative journey.”  –Director’s Statement from Press Notes, Leah Yananton

The 2015 film was directed and written by Leah Yananton and released by Longtale Films. Contributor Alan R. Perry notes that the film is laced throughout with indirect references to Inferno, and the story line is accompanied by Blake’s watercolors, as is also visible in the movie poster at left.

Contributed by Alan R. Perry (Gettysburg College)

Matt Kish’s Inferno Illustrations (2020)

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“I have always been fascinated by the crude and vulgar spectacle of Inferno. Perhaps some of what follows is more personal than validated by scholarship, but despite his clear devotion to Christianity and deep and abiding belief in dogma, Dante seems to relish in his bizarre portrayal of the torments of Hell. I think I remember the poem was originally written in low, or street, Italian rather than formal language, because Dante wanted the tone to match the content and for the work to be something everyone could read. My experience growing up with comic books in particular was that they too were a kind of low, vulgar entertainment. Designed to titillate and provoke, but in no way were they deemed serious or valid art. There was a sort of dirty appeal to the comics I saw on the shelf in the grocery store, especially the pulpy black and white horror comic magazines like Creepy, Eerie, and Vampirella. For my approach to Inferno, I wanted to borrow heavily from this lurid, brightly colored, sickly appealing visual style as well as the connotations of what comics seemed to be to my young mind. So this is mirrored in my painting style, which is very bright and graphic and employs linework over tone and value (essentially, I paint like one should draw, I don’t paint like one should paint) as well as in my collaging bits of text and image from comics into the illustrations.”    —Matt Kish (personal email communication, September 28, 2020)

You can check out the full series and Kish’s other works on his website.

“I Wish to Thank Donald Trump for His Inspirational Presidency”

“Thank you Donald for the wake-up call and for providing an unwanted preview of Tim Burton’s adaptation of Alice In Wonderland staged in your nine circles of hell: Limbo, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Wrath, Heresy, Violence, Fraud, and Treachery.”    –J. P. Curtis, Sparta Independent, July 28, 2020

“Will Coronavirus Continue to Hold SEC Football Hostage?”

“A fall without college football sounds like the wickedest episode of the ‘The Twilight Zone’ or maybe even one of Dante’s nine circles of Hell.”    –Terry J. Wood, Fayetteville Flyer, July 28, 2020

Justin Meckes, Inferno (2020)

Inferno is a novella, a portion of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, in prose rather than the original verse. Inferno finds our protagonist enduring the very same tormenting journey through the rings of hell but in an expanded format.

“The work is retold in its original period, but it has been infused with somewhat less overt references to today’s politics. Thus, this Inferno will maintain a universal appeal and be made available in a Russian Flag edition.

“[. . .] Within this version, multiple Trump associates (e.g., Paul Manafort, Stephen Miller, Jared Kushner, etc.) make appearances in the place of their Florentine counterparts.”

Read a short excerpt here.

“What’s the Sneeze Etiquette in a Mask?”

“I’ll continue to comply and wear a mask— even with threat of a sneeze—because the benefits do seem to outweigh the negatives. Save the world and eliminate the need for Scope. That’s not a bad combo, and honestly, I’ll wear a mask through the nine circles of hell (AKA Columbia in August) if it helps bring back high school and college sports.”    –Mike Maddock, Columbia Star, August 13, 2020

“Great Moments in PC Gaming: Guiding Noobs Through a Co-Op Session”

“We were all that noob at some point. I have fond memories of a friend convincing me to give Halo a shot in co-op, him playing Master Chief and me playing his buddy, ‘The Spartan Who Disappears During Cutscenes.’ The first time I tried Portal 2‘s multiplayer mode it was at a gaming bar with an engineering student who, even drunk, knew everything there was to know about thinking with portals. Being able to return these favors by acting as Virgil to someone else’s Dante—except instead of the nine circles of Hell, it’s Borderlands 2 or whatever—feels like paying the experiences forward, ensuring some kind of cosmic scale is balanced.”    –Jody Macgregor, PC Gamer, August 15, 2020

“Dante’s Inferno” in Shadowrun

“The club is styled after the allegory of the nine circles of hell as described in the Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, having nine dance floors with each floor going further down with each corresponding circle of hell. They also have a digital host with which offline members and online members can react with the aid of AR. The club’s digital menu is for simsense users and deliberately designed as a scroll, and the digital lounge is designed to simulate the feeling of live flames.”    —Shadowrun Wiki, February 2, 2015

Learn more about the Shadowrun series, first launched in 1989, here.

“An Architect’s Vision of Dante’s Hell”

“Based in Campinas, Brazil, Paulo de Tarso Coutinho is a professional architect with a passion for Dante who created the following videos to visually represent the spatial issues in play in the Dantean conception of hell. Drawing on the early modern reception of the Commedia, including Antonio Manetti (1423-1497) and Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), Coutinho incisively reads Dante’s infernal journey in architectural terms and shows how the form of the spiral is a necessary solution for the way that the space of hell is narrated in the poem. In similar fashion, his video of Sandro Botticelli’s (1445-1510) illustration of hell puts an emphasis on the concrete, creating a cross-section of the globe to put this infernal model in real space and highlighting Botticelli’s idiosyncratic use of staircases to think through the mechanics of Dante’s descent. Coutinho’s work is an important way of showing the degree to which Dante’s poetry was infused by the real, martialing mathematical and scientific currents to narrate a space that would inspire the sort of reception by later artists and thinkers who sought to map it in precise geographical and spatiotemporal terms. As Coutinho shows, that process continues still.”   –Akash Kumar, Digital Dante, 2018

Check out the Digital Dante site to view the videos.

“The 9 Circles of Marathon Training Hell”

“Running a marathon is a great goal. You accomplish something only a small percentage of the population dares to do. You experience setting out and accomplishing something big. And you get to put that 26.2 sticker on the ass-end of your minivan.

Buuuuuut. Let me tell you something about marathons.

You have to train for them. And training for a marathon is like being in all 9 circles of hell at once…for six straight months.”    —DIS Fit Life, August 5, 2015