“Writing/Righting Your Life the Dante Way,” a Coffee & Cocktails podcast episode (2020)

Podcast-Writing-Righting-your-life-the-Dante-Way“‘Writing/Righting Your Life the Dante Way,’ Or ‘How to awaken your potential, pin-point your goals, and discover a way forward in tough times’ with Dr. Kristin Stasiowski of Kent State University.

“This incredible talk by Dr. Stasiowski speaks to the importance of learning from our past and how historical literature can be a source of inspiration and motivation especially during dark times.”   —The Coffee & Cocktails Podcast with Dr. Ann Wand (November 23, 2020)

Alessandro Barbero’s “Lezione su Dante e il Potere” (2020)

alessandro-barbero-lezione-su-dante-e-il-potere-2020“Grazie alla consolidata collaborazione con la Casa Editrice Laterza, la Fondazione del Teatro Grande propone per questa Stagione una speciale Lezione di Storia che vede protagonista Alessandro Barbero, storico e scrittore italiano tra i più acclamati degli ultimi tempi. Domenica 18 ottobre alle 15.30, anticipando gli eventi legati alle celebrazioni per i 700 anni dalla morte del Sommo Poeta, il Professor Barbero darà vita a una imperdibile Lezione sul tema “Dante e il potere.” Un incontro che insisterà soprattutto sulla grande passione di Dante per la politica.

“Oltre alla poesia, e a Beatrice, la politica è stata la passione dominante di Dante. Non solo la politica fatta di riflessione teorica e di alti ideali, ma quella concreta e sporca, fatta di gestione del potere, di lotte fra correnti, di disciplina di partito e di appoggio agli amici, di interventi in aula e di votazioni pilotate, di scelte drammatiche e di espedienti meschini. Alla fine della sua carriera lo aspettava un processo – politico anch’esso – per malversazioni e abuso di potere, un processo che gli sarebbe costato l’esilio, e grazie a cui noi oggi abbiamo la Commedia.

“Alessandro Barbero è considerato uno dei più originali storici italiani ed è noto al largo pubblico per i suoi libri – saggi e romanzi – e per le sue collaborazioni televisive. Studioso di prestigio, insegna Storia medievale presso l’Università del Piemonte Orientale, sede di Vercelli.” [. . .]    —QuiBresica.it, October 14, 2020

Teddy Roosevelt and Dante

Portrait of President Theodore Roosevelt seated in garden, circa 1910s. (Photo by Fotosearch/Getty Images).

“Thomas Bailey and Katherine Joslin have recently argued in their book Theodore Roosevelt: A Literary Life (ForeEdge, 2018) that there is much to be gained in examining Roosevelt through the lens of his prolific writing and voracious reading throughout his life. By focusing our attention on Dante in particular, we can uncover a long-standing relationship that finds voice in particular aspects of Roosevelt’s political convictions and intellectual life.”   –Akash Kumar, Digital Dante, 2018

Check out the Digital Dante site to view the article.

In the Footsteps of Dante 2018

“Dr. Alvis has led us with the right blend of overview patterns and delicious historical tidbits as he weaves the narrative of Dante’s Renaissance world through its fragmented political entities, community structures, waves of republican and tyrannical governments, along with the artists and architects that illuminate the countless points of light on this complex palate. At the center of all is the narrative of Dante himself, and both the secular and religious references and implications of his works.”    –Montrose School, In the Footsteps of Dante 2018, June 22, 2018

Dante’s Tour of Hell

“All hope abandon ye who enter here.”

“That’s the inscription on the gate to Hell in one of the first English translations of The Divine Comedy, by Henry Francis Cary, in 1814. You probably know it as the less tongue-twisting ‘Abandon hope all ye who enter here,’ which is the epigraph for Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho, hangs as a warning above the entrance to the Disney theme park ride Pirates of the Caribbean, appears in the videogame World of Warcraft, and has been repurposed as a lyric by The Gaslight Anthem.

“But it’s just one line of the 14,233 that make up The Divine Comedy, the three-part epic poem published in 1320 by Florentine bureaucrat turned visionary storyteller Dante Alighieri. Literary ambition seems to have been with Dante, born in 1265, from early in life when he wished to become a pharmacist. In late 13th-century Florence, books were sold in apothecaries, a testament to the common notion that words on paper or parchment could affect minds with their ideas as much as any drug.” […]    –Christian Blauvelt, BBC, June 5, 2018

The Social Network of Dante’s Inferno

“The first product coming out from this crazy idea was “The Social Network of Dante’s Inferno“, presented in the 2010 edition of the “Arts, Humanities and Complex Networks” symposium of NetSci and then published in a 2011 special issue of the Leonardo journal. In this work we were moved by the question: is a network of characters following some particular predictive patterns? If so: which ones?

“So we took a digital copy of Dante’s Inferno, where all interactions and characters were annotated with extra information (who the character was, if she was a historic or mythological figure, when she lived, …). We then considered each character as a node of the network. We created an edge between two characters if they had at least a direct exchange of words. Normal people would call this “a dialogue”.

“The double-focus point of the Commedia emerges quite naturally, as Dante and Virgilio are the so-called “hubs” of the system. It is a nice textbook example of the rich-get-richer effect, a classic network result. But contrary to what the title of the paper says, we went beyond that. There are not only “social” relationships. Each character is also connected to all the information we have about her. There is another layer, a semantic one, where we have nodes such as “Guelph” or “Middle Ages”. These nodes enable us to browse the Commedia as a network of concepts that Dante wanted to connect in one way or another. One can ask some questions like “are Ghibelline characters preferably connected to historic or mythological characters?” or “what’s the centrality of political characters in the Inferno as opposed to the Purgatorio?” and create one’s own interpretation of the Commedia.” […]    Michele Coscia, Michele Coscia, 12 December, 2013

Tracy Daugherty, Dante and the Early Astronomer: Science, Adventure, and a Victorian Woman Who Opened the Heavens (2019)


[…] “Dante and the Early Astronomer is an eclectic and engaging look at the Victorian and Edwardian ages, from the perspective of minor-league astronomers working in the hinterlands. The story centers on Mary Acworth Evershed (pen and maiden name M.A. Orr), an Englishwoman born in 1867. She was a lover of both poetry and the celestial sky, and a trip to Italy at the age of 20 set the foundation for her life’s quest: to closely examine all the astronomical references in Dante’s The Divine Comedy, not only to catch the mistakes but to find the ‘poetic prologue to future discoveries,’ as the author puts it.” […]    –Marcia Bartusiak, The Washington Post, May 24, 2019

“The Hellish Descent of the Central African Republic”

“The death records of the Bangui morgue in the Central African Republic read like a chapter out of Dante’s Inferno: page after page of people killed by machetes, torture, lynchings, shootings, explosions and burning. The overwhelming stench makes it impossible to stay there for long. On really bad days only the number of dead is recorded – not their names nor the causes of death – before the bodies are buried in mass graves

“The morgue is a terrible symbol of the toll of communal violence in the Central African Republic (CAR), which has raged for months and claimed tens of thousands of lives, displacing even more. Recently, the Séléka, a predominantly Muslim group of fighters that seized Bangui, the capital, and toppled the CAR’s government in early 2013, have lost some ground – although they continue to terrorise wherever possible. In response Christian forces known as anti-balaka (balaka means ‘machete’ in Sango, the local language) have stepped up attacks against Muslim civilians in places where the Séléka no longer holds the sway it did a few months ago. ” [. . .]    –Peter Bouckaert, The Telegraph, February 19, 2014.

“On the Road with Dante” – Dante and Protestantism

“What might medieval Catholic poet Dante Alighieri teach Protestants today? A lot, actually. ” [. . .]

“While The Divine Comedy most clearly reflects the Catholic faith of the poet and his medieval world, it hints at some principles the Reformation would bring to bear on the church two centuries later. Dante purposely wrote in a low style that would have popular appeal despite its highly spiritual subject matter. While the church produced works in Latin, Dante wrote in the vernacular. His choice was revolutionary, ensuring the work could and would be read by common men as well as by women and children (who still study the work extensively in Italian schools today).

“Despite its loftiness, The Divine Comedy is firmly grounded in the gritty and the mundane. In fact, Dante didn’t use the word divine in his title. He simply titled it Commedia, which at the time meant a work with a happy ending as opposed to a tragic one. (The word ‘divine’ was added by a later editor and has stuck through the years.) In casting a fictional version of himself as the central figure, The Divine Comedy is prophetically personal, confessional, and autobiographical. In this way it emphasizes a surprisingly modern sense of self-determination, one that foreshadows the famous ‘Protestant work ethic.’ Moreover, in its accent on the salvation and purification of the individual soul, this work of the Catholic Dante anticipates the spiritual autobiographies of Puritans such as John Bunyan. The Divine Comedy is a story of someone seeking salvation. In Dante’s own words, the poem’s purpose is to lead readers from ‘a state of wretchedness to a state of happiness.’ And while depicting salvation in the afterlife, it’s clear Dante intends readers to find abundant life in the here and now.” [. . .]    –Karen Swallow Prior, The Gospel Coalition, October 21, 2015.

“Inferno Strikes Dante’s Bar in U-District”

“Dante’s erupted into a small inferno Tuesday morning after overheated electrical wiring caused a blaze at the popular University District bar.

Firefighters were called about 9 a.m. to the bar in the 5300 block of Roosevelt Way Northeast, dispatch records show. Initial reports described light smoke emanating from the building, but responding firefighters entered the bar to find heavy smoke.

Because Dante’s is made up of three separate buildings that became connected over time, crews experienced difficulty finding the fire and dug through the bar’s walls and ceiling to track it down, Seattle Fire spokesman Kyle Moore said. The blaze has since been brought under control.” [. . .]    –Lynsi Burton, SeattlePI, August 18, 2015.

Unfortunately, in the years since this fire, Dante’s has been permanently closed, with the land bought for apartment development.