All That Man Is (2017) by David Szalay

David Szalay’s All That Man Is, published in 2017 by Vintage, tells the stories of nine different men at varying stages of life, and explores the issues and psych of the 21st century man. The book was a finalist for the 2016 Man Booker Prize, and the winner of the 2016 Paris Review Plimpton Prize for Fiction. The fourth story of the novel cites the first three lines of the Inferno, as the story’s protagonist, a medieval scholar in crisis, drives into a pine forest.

“Pine forests on hillsides start to envelop them on the east side of the Main. And fog.

Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
Mi ritrovai per una selva oscura
Ché la diritta via era smarrita

“Well, here it is. Dark pine forests, hemming the motorway. Shapes of fog throw themselves at the windscreen.” [. . .]    –David Szalay, All That Man Is (p. 146).

You can purchase Szalay’s book here.

Kateřina Machytková, paintings (2016)


Paradiso 28.
See Kateřina Machytková’s website for her illustrations of the Commedia.

Nine Circles of Hell (1989 Cambodian film)

nine-circles-of-hell-1989-film“The Czech-Cambodian Devět kruhů pekla (Nine Circles of Hell) is a poignant love story set amidst the hell of the Pol Pot regime. As the Khmer Rouge carves a path of death throughout the land, a Czech doctor Milan Knazko falls in love with a Cambodian woman Oum Savanny. Their relationship, though sorely strained by the war’s horrors, produces a child. The doctor is separated from his family once Pol Pot assumes control. Devět kruhů pekla was financed in part by the Ministry of Culture of the Kampuchean People’s Republic.” — Synopsis from film-enstreaming.com

The film was screen at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival.

420PEOPLE, “Inferno – Variations on Dante” (2014)

Inferno - Variations on DanteCzech dance company 420PEOPLE has created a piece entitled “Inferno – Variations on Dante“, which premiered on September 30th, 2014. The performance is described on the 420PEOPLE website as

“A tragicomic parable on a human fight with sorrow, boredom and laziness that sneak into our lives with middle age. Inferno is not a place, it is a state of soul.”

 

Contributed by Michele Torresani

Smetana, Sibelius, and the Dante Quartet

smetana-sibelius-and-the-dante-quartet“Though both Jean Sibelius and Bedrich Smetana are well-known for their contributions to the nationalistic movements in their respective countries, the semi-autobiographical quartets of both composers (two for Smetana, one for Sibelius) instead focus on dark, tragic aspects of their own lives. Smetana’s quartets highlight some of the positive events in his life, but are more a representation of the gradual march toward deafness and the decline of his career. Sibelius, who struggled with depression and isolation, writes an equally revealing depiction of his more private inner turmoil. Performing these three emotionally charged works is the equally emotive, demonstrative Dante Quartet. Conceptually, its playing is ideal for showing listeners the very raw emotions present in these scores.” [. . .]    –Mike D. Brownell, Allmusic