Hyperallgeric: “Why is Dante the Florentine still present with us 700 years after his death?”

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“Recognition of the poem’s importance began very early. The first man to write a commentary on The Divine Comedy was Dante’s eldest son, Jacopo. A full exegesis of the work came several decades later. There are 800 early manuscripts of the poem in existence

“It is in some of these that we begin to see the different ways in which artists responded to this often dense and difficult text, with its multiple layers of meaning. First we spot small illustrations of the poem’s principal characters at the beginning of each hand-scribed canto. A little later, scenes from the poem begin to appear in churches, on frescoes by Luca Signorelli in Orvieto Cathedral (c. 1500), for example.

“The most important visual interpreters of the poem were three: Sandro Botticelli, who lived in the 16th century, William Blake, and Gustave Doré, both of whom lived in the 19th: a Florentine (like Dante himself), an Englishman, and a Frenchman.” [. . .]    –Michael Glover, Hyperallergic, February 13, 2021.

 

“How the Passion of Hannibal Lecter Inspired a New Opera About Dante”

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“When you hear the name Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a few things spring to mind—and none of them are likely to involve Italian poet Dante Alighieri or opera. Of course there’s good reason for this, with Lecter’s exotic cooking ingredients superseding his gentler affectations. But even so, when author Thomas Harris first imagined how the character might move in the wild for the novel Hannibal, it was with baroque glee he unleashed the doctor in Florence: Italy’s Renaissance city and Dante’s medieval stomping grounds.

“Director Ridley Scott similarly understood that secret recipe. His film version of Hannibal relishes every Italian colonnade Anthony Hopkins walks under, or the way the shadow of the statue of David casts darkness on its star’s face, often as he stands in the same spot where men were hanged or immolated centuries ago. In its better moments, Scott’s movie savors that this is a story about a devil who covets the divine; it delights in playing like an opera.

“Hence for the picture’s best sequence, the filmmakers commissioned a new ‘mini-opera,’ one that would for the first time put music to verses that Dante wrote more than 700 years ago. And in the decades since the movie’s release, those fleeting  minutes of music have blossomed into a real, full-fledged opera about to have its world premiere. Once again the doctor’s distinct tastes and influences appear singular within the realm of movie monsters.” [. . .]    –David Crow, Den of Geek, February 17, 2021.

A Divina Comedia (1991)

Released in 1991, the Portuguese drama film A Divina Comèdia was written and directed by Manoel de Oliveira.

Robert Schwentke, dir. R.I.P.D. (2013)


“There are many descriptions of the afterlife in fiction that can be traced back to Dante’s imaginative journeys. The wacky afterlife universe depicted in the 2013 movie R.I.P.D (Rest in Peace Department) can’t shake off the legacy.

“When a Boston police officer is killed by his renegade partner, he is immediately whizzed up to a questionable Heaven where he discovers that everyone has to answer for past crimes in the thereafter – or join R.I.P.D, Inferno’s police force. The task of the R.I.P.D is to catch ‘Deadoes’, the souls of the deceased who refuse to accept their fate and instead return to the world of the living in order to spoil it.

“The ascent to where R.I.P.D resides is a helical ride for the recently departed, a cocktail of two shots of Inferno, half a Purgatorio and one of Paradiso.  Sitting under the department of ‘Eternal Affairs’, R.I.P.D is run by a chief, half Virgil, half Minos, whose role is to give the new recruit a tour of the establishment. The movie seems to suggest that if you’re not simply visiting Hell (like Dante the pilgrim), then you’re either a convict or an (infernal) law-enforcement officer, whose job is to keep the damned away from the living.

“Dante’s circles of Hell are alluded to in the prison cells of the R.I.P.D precincts and in its staff’s crammed offices. Hell is other people working in the next R.I.P.D cubicle.”    –Cristian Ispir

Will Brewbaker on Shane McCrae’s “Sometimes I Never Suffered”

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“This act of holding together both heaven and earth pervades Shane McCrae’s Sometimes I Never Suffered, the prolific poet’s latest collection. Racial injustice, economic inequality, simple human cruelty — McCrae addresses all of these subjects, these facts of the world, head-on — while, like Dante, transposing the literal into the otherworldly.  [. . .]

“The final two poems in Sometimes I Never Suffered return explicitly to Dantean territory. Famously, the last word in each section of Dante’s Comedy is the Italian word ‘stelle,’ meaning ‘stars.’ In a sly parallel, McCrae makes this Limber’s last word, too. After describing meeting one of those souls who were ‘babies when they died […] [who] walk around in sailor hats with blank / Looks on their faces’ — another ingenious creation — Limber says:

… when I tried to talk to
Him it was like I wasn’t there
So    I peeked    in his mouth

and in his mouth was the whole sky and stars

“Not only does this final line offer a remarkably coherent cosmic scope, but it also serves as a segue into the book’s last movement — a multipage poem that returns to the hastily assembled angel’s story and finds the angel first building, then climbing the ladder to heaven.” [. . .]    —Will Brewbaker, Los Angeles Review of Books, October 13, 2020.

Read more of Brewbaker’s reviews here.

G-Dragon, “Divina Commedia” (2017)

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“The end of hardship Divina Commedia…”

Click on the image above to access the lyric music video, released in 2017, on Youtube.

“I’m not Dante, and you’re not Vergilius” – Resident Evil: Revelations

“You said yourself, ‘Abandon hope all ye who enter here.’ But I’m not Dante, and you’re not Vergilius.”

Learn more about Capcom’s 2012 video game Resident Evil: Revelations here.

Cesare

From Volume 2, Chapter 10, in Fuyumi Soryo’s 2005 manga series Cesare, which makes extensive reference to the Divine Comedy.

Learn more about Cesare here.

“Lelouch’s Little Light Reading” in Code Geass R2 (2006)

“Eagle-eyed viewers of Code Geass R2‘s first episode may have spotted that Lelouch is reading Dante’s Divina Commedia while Rollo gives him a lift. (As a child, I never loved anyone enough to give them my last Rolo.)

Slightly more obsessive viewers will have discovered that he is in fact reading the Purgatorio Canto XXII.”    –Thaliarchus, Animanachronism, April 9, 2008

Learn more about Sunrise’s 2006 anime Code Geass here.

Robert Macfarlane’s Landmarks and Books About Walking

“It’s also a book about walking. Macfarlane is nothing if not boots on ground, following one path or another as he hoofs it from orchard to cottage to inn to pub, talking to the people who know the land best, the ones who live and work on it. Of course, he is not the first person to connect walking with writing. The first writers didn’t have any choice. Before cars and trains and airplanes, they could choose economy travel (by foot) or business class (via mule or horse); only the well-off could travel in first class (coach). Not that walking is a bad thing for a writer: ‘My wit will not budge if my legs are not moving,’ writes Montaigne.

Keats often walked as many as 12 miles a day, even when his consumption was raging. Dickens trod the streets of London all night ‘to still my beating mind,’ as he said. And before the Dante of the Divine Comedy legged it through the Inferno on his way to Purgatory and Paradise, the real-life Dante Alighieri wandered for years after his exile from Florence, crossing swamps where one might sicken and die in hours and following roads that gave way to paths dense with briars and thick with trees hiding thieves.”    –David Kirby, The Smart Set, August 10, 2020

Check out Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane on Amazon here.