“In Persona 3 FES, areas are called Malebolge, Cocytus, Caina, Antenora, Ptolomea, Judecca, and Empyrean.” —Wikipedia
Deborah DeNicola, “The Big Enigma” (2021)
“The Big Enigma” is a poem included in the collection The Impossible by Deborah DeNicola, published by Kelsay Books in 2021. Of the inspiration for the poem, DeNicola explains, “In the end of the Inferno, there are souls under the ice. Only their faces are visible and they cry tears that freeze and poke them in the eyes. My poem references this because it is about a heart break that was very hard to get over. I never knew why this person madly loved me for quite a while and then went cold. And more to the point, I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t get over it for a long, long time, hence, the title ‘The Big Enigma’ and the reference to torment” (DeNicola, in a personal email communication).
The Impossible is available for purchase on Amazon. Our thanks to the author for permission to reprint.
Jim Shaw, Donald and Melania Trump descending the escalator into the 9th circle of hell reserved for traitors frozen in a sea of ice (2020)
Jim Shaw’s silkscreen print Donald and Melania Trump descending the escalator into the 9th circle of hell reserved for traitors frozen in a sea of ice (2020) depicts the former US President and First Lady passing into the ninth circle, populated by members of the Trump inner circle: John Bolton, Michael Cohen, Omarosa Manigault, Anthony Scaramucci, Jeff Sessions, and others. The lake of Cocytus appears to have been displaced to the ground floor of a dilapidated American shopping mall.
Simon Lee Gallery describes Shaw’s collected works thus: “The practice of American artist Jim Shaw (b. 1952, Midland, Michigan) spans a wide range of artistic media and visual imagery. Since the 1970s, Shaw has mined the detritus of American culture, finding inspiration for his artworks in comic books, pulp novels, rock albums, protest posters, thrift store paintings – his ever-growing collection of found artworks has been the subject of its own exhibition on several occasions – and advertisements. At the same time, Shaw has consistently turned to his own life and, in particular, his unconscious, as a source of artistic creativity. Providing a blend of the personal, the commonplace and the uncanny, Shaw’s works frequently place in dialogue images of friends and family members with world events, pop culture and alternate realities. Often unfolding in long-term, narrative cycles, the works contains systems of cross-references and repetitions, which rework similar symbols and motifs, allowing a story-like thread to be perceived.” –“Biography,” Simon Lee Gallery
See a discussion of Shaw’s exhibit Hope Against Hope, hosted by the Simon Lee Gallery (London) from October 20, 2020, to January 16, 2021, in The Art Newspaper.
Contributed by Deborah Parker (University of Virginia)
Cocytus – Wild Arms 2
In the video game Wild Arms 2, there is a gang of bandits called Cocytus, the members of which are named Caina, Antenora, Ptolomea, and Judecca.
Learn more about Media.Vision’s 1999 video game Wild Arms 2 here.
Cartoonist Steve Bell’s “Brexit Hell”
In early December 2018 British cartoonist Steve Bell published a series of Dante-inspired images in his If… cartoon strip. Adapting Doré’s illustrations of Cocytus (with one addition from the Malebolge), Bell’s cartoons comment on the Parliamentary Debate over Brexit. Contributor Nick Havely glosses, “[the cartoons] depict Theresa May’s journey through ‘Brexit Hell’ accompanied by Arlene Foster (leader of the N. Ireland ultra-Protestant DUP on whom May is dependent for her majority). The Dantean sequence began on 29 November and seems to have culminated last Thursday [6 December] in an encounter with Trump as Lucifer.”
The If… cartoons can be viewed on The Guardian‘s website at the following links: Nov 29, Dec 3, Dec 4, Dec 5, and Dec 6.
Contributed by Nick Havely