Cities and Memory’s Inferno Soundscapes (2020)

“To mark the 700th anniversary of Dante’s masterpiece The Divine Comedy, more than 80 artists from all over the world have created his vision of Hell through sound – this is the Cities and Memory Inferno.”   —Cities & Memory website (posted November 23, 2020)


Listen also to Cities and Memory‘s soundtrack to Giuseppe de Liguoro’s 1911 film L’Inferno, available on YouTube:

John Took, Why Dante Matters: An Intelligent Person’s Guide (2020)

“The year 2021 marks the 700th anniversary of the death of Dante Alighieri, a poet who, as T. S. Eliot put it, ‘divides the world with Shakespeare, there being no third.’ His, like ours, was a world of moral uncertainty and political violence, all of which made not only for the agony of exile but for an ever deeper meditation on the nature of human happiness.

“In Why Dante Matters, John Took offers by way of three in particular of Dante’s works – the Vita Nova as the great work of his youth, the Convivio as the great work of his middle years and the Commedia as the great work of his maturity – an account, not merely of Dante’s development as a poet and philosopher, but of his continuing presence to us as a guide to man’s wellbeing as man.

“Committed as he was to the welfare not only of his contemporaries but of those ‘who will deem this time ancient,’ Dante’s is in this sense a discourse overarching the centuries, a discourse confirming him in his status, not merely as a cultural icon, but as a fellow traveller.”   —Bloomsbury

See also the Virtual book launch event held at UCL’s Institute for Advanced Study, November 24, 2020.

“Dante’s Inferno” at Kirkstall Forge

“This was the large shed to the south of the water and my position is a best guess, especially as this area is now flat. This shed contained several hammers but these two were hard at work and quite spectacular. I think they were of eastern European construction (possibly Polish). Although working on compressed air these were essentially the same as steam hammers.”    –Chris Allen, Geograph, February 17, 2010

The Leeds Dante Podcast

The [Leeds] Centre for Dante Studies runs a podcast, which can be subscribed to freely from anywhere in the world. The podcast is designed both to enrich undergraduates’ study of Dante, and to be of interest to a broader audience.

“The Leeds Dante podcast offers regular short items on three major areas:

  • Key Moments in the Commedia: a series of brief commentaries on short passages selected from the Commedia;
  • Interviews with scholars about their recent work on Dante;
  • Reviews of recent publications of interest in Dante studies.

“Individual talks and lectures held in Leeds are also made available for download.

“The podcast is available in MP3 format, and is freely available to listen to on your PC or portable device. You can also subscribe using iTunes.”   — Leeds Dante Podcast Homepage

Episodes can also be downloaded directly from the homepage here.

Dante Today readers will be especially interested in the “Conversations on Dante” series, which features discussions with scholars doing original research on Dante’s reception beyond the Middle Ages, and especially in contemporary culture. Kudos to our colleague Matthew Treherne (Univ. of Leeds) for his wonderful interviews and insightful discussions!

Mark Vernon’s Podcast Dante’s Divine Comedy (2020)

“This year, 2020, marks the 700th anniversary of the completion of the great Divine Comedy. I invite you to experience the odyssey, too, by accompanying me as I discuss each canto.

“Dante begins his journey by waking up in a dark wood. The air tastes bitter. He becomes fearful. Truth is out of reach. But his crisis is a turning point.

“Many today, too, are waking up to something that’s gone wrong. We’re in a spiritual crisis. We must see the world afresh and understand. I believe Dante can help us discover how.

“I’ll post reflections on two or more cantos each week as we reach for the highest heavens. Follow every step of the way on YouTube [. . .] or via the podcast, Dante’s Divine Comedy.”  — Mark Vernon

Classic Serial: Dante Alighieri – The Divine Comedy

BBC Radio 4’s Classic Serial program offers a reading of the Divine Comedy by professional actors, as well as a few behind-the-scenes clips on the making of the radio program.

“Blake Ritson, David Warner and John Hurt star in Stephen Wyatt’s dramatization of Dante’s epic poem – the story of one man’s incredible journey through Hell, Purgatory and Paradise.”     –BBC Radio 4, Classic Serial, 2019.

You can see more of the Classic Serial episodes and behind-the-scenes extras on the BBC Radio 4 site.

“Circles of Hell… A Dysfunctional Family Tree of British Cinematic Misery”

Film Comment 47.6 (November/December 2011), pp. 40-41

Film Society of Lincoln Center

Dante’s Inferno: Too Darn Hot in Derby Trial

“The outstanding two-year-old of 2018 gets his first chance to show if he can be the outstanding three-year-old of 2019. We are set to learn plenty but one thing is clear – Too Darn Hot is returning in one darn hot Dante.

“Andrew Lloyd Webber’s unbeaten son of Dubawi spent the winter dominating the 2,000 Guineas market after ending his juvenile season with the same Racing Post Rating posted by the mighty Frankel as a two-year-old. However, the runaway Dewhurst Stakes winner failed to make the Newmarket Classic.

“Instead, he makes a belated return as clear favourite for a wonderfully exciting Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes – but no longer as favourite for the Investec Derby.” […]    –Lee Mottershead and David Jennings, Racing Post, May 16, 2019

Review of “Caroline’s Bikini”: a Modern-Day Mash-Up of Dante, Milton and Metafiction

“Writing a book review about a novel that is about a book reviewer writing a novel, and that references the act of novel writing, often in footnotes, is the self-reflexive task of appraising Kirsty Gunn’s latest offering. A modern-day mash-up of Milton, metafiction and Dante, and of Renaissance swooning in Richmond, Caroline’s Bikini questions myth and reality through an exploration of the nature of fiction and the projection of love.

“Courtly love is the fabric on which this modern story is sewn. The book includes sections of Il Canzoniere, a sonnet sequence written by Petrarch after having fallen in love with a 14-year-old girl exiting a church. The 14th-century poet wrote yearningly about her for a period of 40 years without ever meeting her.” […]    –Rebecca Swirsky, New Statesman, June 27, 2018

From Dante to “I Love Dick”: 10 books about Unrequited Love

“Katherine Mansfield’s exquisite long short story At the Bay, Beryl, a middle-aged woman still fantasising about the young girl she once was and the lovers she could have captured then, stands in a darkened room half-imagining someone is out there in the dark, desiring her. So much of fiction is about desire, a yearning of some kind or another … the love of reading itself a sort of intense affair.

“These thoughts and more were whirling around in my mind when I wrote my own novel about unrequited love, Caroline’s Bikini, the story of middle-aged Evan’s great love for his landlady, the desirable but always just out of reach Caroline Beresford.

“The Divine Comedy by Dante- Dante follows hard on his heels, of course, and was writing before him – his Divine Comedy a kind of early novel, as I think of it, in three parts, that was inspired by a similar kind of experience. Dante never knew his Beatrice either, yet the idea of her propelled his great work about visiting Hell and Purgatory and Heaven, to be met there by her: another fantasy made true in words.” […]    –Kirsty Gunn, The Guardian, June 27, 2018