“In one sense, things have improved in recent years. Once a scene from Dante’s hell–the few outsiders who visited sometimes described thousands upon thousands of half-naked men, women and children clawing into the rock in search of jade–the mining is now a largely mechanical process executed by industrial backhoes and dump trucks. A few mines still employ human diggers, and earlier this year one such site collapsed, killing 20.” [. . .] —Daniel Pepper, The New York Times, October 4, 2008
“Seeing the angel wings on Marianne’s bare back, the burn victim starts to melt. He also likes Marianne’s captivating conversational style. (‘For now, may I tell you a story about a dragon?’) He wonders if, how and why she is crazy. He finds a reassuring internal consistency to the string of lovelorn fairy tales she tells him, and to the 14th-century biography she claims is her own. He finds it fitting that she wants to take a badly burned man on a guided tour of Dante’s circles of hell. . . Although The Gargoyle is defiantly uncategorizable, Doubleday is hard at work taming it. (Suggested question for book club group discussions: ‘What sort of tailor-made suffering might Dante have invented for you?’).” –Janet Maslin, The New York Times, July 31, 2008
Contributed by Sara Washington
“In his video short, Christian Anthony has appropriated film and television clips creating a collage of images and scenes describing the afterlife. These fragments, taken from the last several decades, emphasize the tension between the media-driven, pop culture representations of heaven, hell and purgatory and people’s personal perceptions of these concepts. Anthony’s portrait of the collective afterlife is at times comic, violent and wicked as it tosses up stereotypes, self-righteousness and fear.” —San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art
Watch the video here.
“The Vatican announced on Friday the results of a papal investigation of the concept of limbo. Church doctrine now states that unbaptized babies can go to heaven instead of getting stuck somewhere between heaven and hell” [. . .] –Michelle Tsai, Slate, April 23, 2007
Contributed by Zac Milner (Bowdoin, ’07)