“An Architect’s Vision of Dante’s Hell”

“Based in Campinas, Brazil, Paulo de Tarso Coutinho is a professional architect with a passion for Dante who created the following videos to visually represent the spatial issues in play in the Dantean conception of hell. Drawing on the early modern reception of the Commedia, including Antonio Manetti (1423-1497) and Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), Coutinho incisively reads Dante’s infernal journey in architectural terms and shows how the form of the spiral is a necessary solution for the way that the space of hell is narrated in the poem. In similar fashion, his video of Sandro Botticelli’s (1445-1510) illustration of hell puts an emphasis on the concrete, creating a cross-section of the globe to put this infernal model in real space and highlighting Botticelli’s idiosyncratic use of staircases to think through the mechanics of Dante’s descent. Coutinho’s work is an important way of showing the degree to which Dante’s poetry was infused by the real, martialing mathematical and scientific currents to narrate a space that would inspire the sort of reception by later artists and thinkers who sought to map it in precise geographical and spatiotemporal terms. As Coutinho shows, that process continues still.”   –Akash Kumar, Digital Dante, 2018

Check out the Digital Dante site to view the videos.

The Dante Alighieri Diploma (2020/21)

“To celebrate the genius of Dante Alighieri, experimenter of the language and recall his gaze always turned beyond the borders, the sections of Ravenna, Florence and Verona of the Italian Radio Amateurs Association (ARI), organize, as part of the celebrations for the 700th anniversary of the death, the ‘Dante Alighieri Diploma.’

“Participation in the diploma is open to all radio amateurs and SWLs in the world. The diploma will be awarded to radio amateurs or SWL who will connect or activate ‘Dante places.’
Dante places are defined as:

  • Places related to the life of the poet (birth, residence, death, travel)
  • Places expressly mentioned in the Divine Comedy or in other Dante compositions
  • Places not explicitly mentioned, but whose identification is possible through periphrases or adjectives and which are normally accepted by Dante’s criticism.

“The Dante Places were identified using the database developed by Prof. Andrea Gazzoni of Pennsylvania University who surveyed over 300 geographic references in the Divine Comedy between cities, regions, rivers, mountains and nations.

“Prof Gazzoni’s database can be consulted on the website www.mappingdante.com.

“The diploma will begin on September 1, 2020 and end on September 30, 2021.”   –“Introduction,” Diploma Dante Alighieri

Contributed by Andrea Gazzoni

John Kinsella, “Divine Comedy: Journeys Through a Regional Geography” (2008)

john-kinsella-divine-comedy-journeys-through-a-regional-geography-2008“This mammoth new volume from Australia’s Kinsella (Doppler Effect) takes its template and three-line stanza from the three books of Dante’s epic, out of order: first Purgatorio, then Paradiso, then Inferno. Each of the three works, made from dozens of separate poems, joins allusions to Dante with sights, events and memories from Kinsella’s Australia, especially the farming region outside Perth, where he grew up and sometimes lives. The poet’s wife, Tracy (his Beatrice, he says), and their toddler, Tim, play roles throughout. Mostly, though, the poems concern places, not people; their ground note is ecological, with nature taking many forms (locust wings… at sunrise over shallow farm-dams steaming already) set against the ballast/ of cars and infrastructures that endangers it all. That motif of eco-protest dominates the Inferno (last blocks of bushland// cleared away to placate the hunger/ for the Australian Dream), but it turns up in all three of these (perhaps too similar, and surely too long) sequences. Like his compatriot Les Murray, Kinsella can sound uncontrolled, even sloppy. Yet he can turn a phrase (Who describes where we are without thinking/ of when we’ll leave it?). Moreover, he means all he says and never exhausts his ideas or ambition.”    –Publisher’s Weekly, Amazon

Contributed by Aisha Woodward (Bowdoin, ’08)