Review: Matthew Pearl’s “The Dante Chamber”

“In “The Dante Chamber,” Matthew Pearl’s new thriller — a sequel of sorts to his 2003 bestseller “The Dante Club” — murder takes a literary turn. Sparked by Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, the crimes are solved by a crack team of poets and painters: Dante Gabriel Rossetti, his sister Christina Rossetti, Robert Browning, Alfred Tennyson and the American doctor-poet-essayist Oliver Wendell Holmes (not to be confused with his son and namesake, the great Supreme Court justice).

“The murders take place in London in 1870. In the first murder, a member of Parliament is killed in a London park; a massive stone has inexplicably been tied around his neck and broken it. Soon thereafter an attractive woman dies on a London street; her eyelids have been sewn shut.

“Gabriel Rossetti, who was in the park during the first murder, disappears. His sister and friends fear for his safety, even as the police suspect he was the killer. Gabriel is fond of opiates and given to erratic behavior. When his wife died he impulsively had all his unpublished poems buried with her. Later, to the horror of many, he had them dug up.” […]    –Patrick Anderson, The Washington Post, June 1, 2018

‘Dante’s Inferno isn’t hot enough for you,’ says judge

“STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Earlier this month, Anthony Morales admitted to slaying a neighbor and her son on a Mariners Harbor street two years ago.

“But the stocky 51-year-old defendant didn’t apologize for their deaths at his sentencing on Wednesday. Instead, Morales presented himself as the victim, claiming the decedents had harassed and tormented ceaselessly over the years, had followed him to a home he owned in Pennsylvania and had “come looking for” him on the day they died.

“State Supreme Court Justice Mario F. Mattei listened patiently to Morales’ rambling seven-minute monologue in his St. George courtroom packed with the victims’ distraught relatives. And when Morales finally sat down, the judge didn’t mince words or hide his disdain.” […]    –Frank Donnelly, SiLive, May 30, 2018

Dante and the Ninth Circle Align in a Shocking New “ARROW”

“Turns out Emiko isn’t just working for the Ninth Circle — she’s running it.

“After revealing last week that Emiko has been working with new big bad Dante, Laurel wasted no time bringing that factoid to Oliver’s attention. Then, by the second act or so, Oliver had confirmed it was true. This is one of those plot points they’ve been known to drag out in the past, so nice to see them just get to the meat of that reveal in “Inheritance” and start dealing with the fallout. Oliver is keen to give Emiko the benefit of the doubt, something she uses to her advantage to manipulate him for a while to get the drop on Team Arrow.” […]    –Trent Moore, SyFyWire, March 25, 2019

Why Dante’s Inferno Stays Relevant After 700 Years

“The 14th-century Italian poet Dante Alighieri couldn’t have foreseen contemporary forms of hideous, malicious behavior—the Holocaust, the trans-Atlantic slave trade, genocide committed by ISIS.

“Yet, Dante’s nearly 700-year-old, three-part epic poem, the Divine Comedy—of which Inferno is the initial part—remains an influential piece of literature in exploring the origins of evil.

“Dante’s work has influenced or inspired music, novels, films, mobile apps, and even video games. Medieval manuscript illuminators and artists, including Sandro Botticelli and Salvador Dalí, have produced paintings mirroring stories Dante told. Most recently, Dante’s work was adapted for the crime and mystery film Inferno, starring Tom Hanks.

“When you have an actor like Tom Hanks starring in a movie adapted from best-selling novelist Dan Brown, you’re bound to get more questions about Dante than usual,” says Fabian Alfie, a professor in the University of Arizona department of French and Italian.

“But interest in Dante has never waned in the 700 years since he died,” Alfie says. “There is an unbroken tradition of Dante’s influence in Western culture since the 14th century. Dante has never stopped being popular because his poem deals with questions that are always relevant.”

“Ultimately, Alfie says, Dante was attempting to address the “big questions” associated with being: “What is evil? What is human nature? What is redemption, goodness, sanctity?” […]   –Monica Everett-Haynes, University of Arizona, Futurity, November 17, 2016

The Dante Trap by Arnaud Delalande (2011)

“Murder follows murder, each more gruesome than the last, and as Viravolta begins to draw the connections between these deaths, and the torments reserved for sinners in each of Dante’s circles of hell, he finds himself embroiled in a terrible game of cat and mouse. As the streets of Venice fill with masked Carnival-goers, and as Anna and Viravolta are once again thrown together, he is drawn further into the inferno, to the heart of a secret sect and a plot to bring about the downfall of the city.” —Orion Books

Contributed by Alessandra Mazzocchi (Florida State University ’19)

Criminal Minds, “Burn” (S10E02)

Criminal_Minds_season_10_episode_2-Dante-Circles-Hell“There’s been a string of killings, from a drowning, to strangulation, to a hit and run. There seems to be no connection – except all the victims are fathers with sons the same age, and the killings are following the sins laid out in Dante’s Circle of Hell. Apparently, the UnSub has some serious daddy issues.” — CBS

During the episode, the killer hallucinates a voice repeatedly crying to him, “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

Lele Mora and the Ruby Sex Case

lele-mora-and-the-ruby-sex-case-la-repubblica-milano

Today (28 June 2013) Lele Mora, involved in the famous Ruby-sex-case as Berlusconi’s personal “talent scout”, delivered a speech in front of his judges stating that he wants to break free from the hellish (lustful!) hurricane to see the stars: “Voglio uscire da questa bufera infernale che mi ha tolto la luce voglio vedere le stelle e il cielo azzurro.”

Found at: La Repubblica Milano

See Also: “Ruby bis: Lele Mora in aula. L’udienza del talent scout dopo quella di Nicole Minetti e Emilio Fede (Diretta),” L’Huffington Post, June 18, 2013

“Madoff Is Sentenced to 150 Years for Ponzi Scheme”

if-bernie-met-dante“. . .Yes, Bernard L. Madoff went to jail on Thursday after pleading guilty to a gargantuan Ponzi scheme, and yes, he may face the rest of his life in prison when he is sentenced to as much as 150 years on June 16. But if even that dose of clinical justice seems like paltry penance to his many bilked and ruined investors, including charities, they can always turn to literature for a further measure of satisfaction–and to pronounce, perhaps, another kind of final judgment.
Mr. Madoff was 700 years too late to join Dante’s Who’s Who of sinners, but it is easy to imagine where the poet would consign this scam artist, who admitted to stealing as much as $65 billion: to the Pit, the Ninth (and deepest) Circle of Hell. It is where sins of betrayal are punished in a sea of ice fanned frigid by the six batlike wings of the immense, three-faced, fanged and weeping Lucifer. . .
It is fitting, Mr. Pinsky says. Betrayal destroys the trust that binds humanity, and with it, the betrayer himself. Dante was consumed by the sadness and mystery of sin–and what it did to the sinner.” [. . .]    –Ralph Blumenthal, The New York Times, March 14, 2009

madoff-is-sentenced-to-150-years-for-ponzi-scheme

“. . . Burt Ross, who lost $5 million in the fraud, cited Dante’s The Divine Comedy, in which the poet defined fraud as ‘the worst of sin’ and expressed the hope that, when Mr. Madoff dies — ‘virtually unmourned’ — he would find himself in the lowest circle of hell.” [. . .]    –Diana B. Henriques, The New York Times, June 29, 2009

 

David Hewson, “Dante’s Numbers” (2009)

david-hewson-dantes-numbers-2009“In the gorgeous grounds of Rome’s Villa Borghese park the glitterati of the movie world are gathered for a world premiere. A legendary Italian movie director has come out of retirement to create a blockbuster based on Dante’s Inferno. But, as Nic Costa and his colleagues attempt to guard the precious collection of historic artefacts attached to the event, the premiere is disrupted by tragedy and a horrific murder.” [. . .]    —David Hewson

Contributed by Patrick Molloy

Kathryn Harrison, While They Slept: An Inquiry into the Murder of a Family (2008)

kathyrn-harrison-while-they-slept-an-inquiry-into-the-murder-of-a-family-2008“In the Inferno of Dante, Count Ugolino, forced to cannibalize his children’s corpses, is led to narrate the horror by Dante’s offer to retell the story up in the world above. Genesis 19 not only tells the story of incest between Lot and his daughters, but proceeds to name their offspring: Moab and Ben-ammi, and the Moabites and Ammonites descended from them. Abel’s blood ‘cries out’ with its story, and the fratricide Cain is marked.” [. . .]    –Robert Pinsky, New York Times, June 8, 2008