Dante in poster for HBO’s series, “Succession” (2019)

Image on wall is a painting entitled “Dante and Virgil” (1850) by William-Adolphe Bouguereau.  It appears to be the falsifiers of Inf. 30, Capocchio and Gianni Schicchi, in combat.

Contributed by Kristina Olson 

The original painting, currently held in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, France, below.

Stephen Colbert on Trump and heresy

Anderson Cooper: And the punishment for heretics is…?
Stephen Colbert: I think it’s red hot iron coffins in Dante’s Inferno.
(0:25 on)    –CNN, Politics of the Day Video, August 15, 2019

Contributed by Nicolino Applauso

Khan’s Bookshelf in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

star-trek-wrath-khan-bookshelf-infernoStar Trek: The Wrath of Khan involves a complex weaving of many borrowed elements, the most important of which is the Star Trek television series, as well as Moby-Dick, and A Tale of Two Cities. The intertextual mix is suggested in a shot early in the film when we are first introduced to Khan by scanning his bookshelf. In addition to a sign from his ship, the Botany Bay (named after a historic port in Australia through which many convicts entered the country), there are Dante’s Inferno, King Lear, The King James Bible, Moby-Dick, and two copies of Paradise Lost. Each book suggests aspects of Khan’s character. Though other references remain implicit, the Moby-Dick references are explicitly explored throughout the movie.” — Posted by ebreilly on Critical Commons

BioWare Animator Creates Gorgeous ‘Dante’s Inferno’ Short Film

“BioWare animator Tal Peleg released a new animated (NSFW) short film based on Visceral Games’ 2010 action title ‘Dante’s Inferno’ on Sunday.

“The game was loosely based on Dante Alighieri’s long narrative poem The Divine Comedy. But, it reimagines the poet as a Templar knight who goes on a bloody journey through the nine circles of Hell to rescue Beatrice from Lucifer.

“Peleg created his first ‘Dante’s Inferno’ fan fiction short four years ago. As a lover of both fantasy/medieval art and action-RPGs, he said in a recent behind-the-scenes blog post the game couldn’t have come out at a better time.” […]    –Stefanie Fogel, Variety, November 20, 2018

 

“Dante, Trump and the moral cowardice of the G.O.P.”

“One of John F. Kennedy’s favorite quotes was something he thought came from Dante: ‘The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who in time of moral crisis preserve their neutrality.’

“As it turns out, the quote is apocryphal. But what Dante did write was far better, and it came vividly to mind last week as Republicans failed to take a stand after President Trump’s racist tweets and chants of ‘Send her back,’ directed at Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, who immigrated here from Somalia, at a Trump rally in North Carolina.

“In Dante’s Inferno, the moral cowards are not granted admission to Hell; they are consigned to the vestibule, where they are doomed to follow a rushing banner that is blown about by the wind. When Dante asks his guide, Virgil, who they are, he explains:

‘This miserable way is taken by sorry souls of those who lived without disgrace and without praise.

They now commingle with the coward angels, the company of those who were not rebels nor faithful to their God, but stood apart.’

“They are destined to be forgotten. ‘The world will let no fame of theirs endure,’ Virgil explains. ‘Let us not talk of them, but look and pass.’ Dante describes the vast horde who chase after the elusive banner that ‘raced on so quick that any respite seemed unsuited to it.’ Behind the banner, he writes, ‘trailed so long a file/ of people—I should never have believed/ that death could have unmade so many souls.’

“And to those ranks we can now add all the politicians, pundits and camp followers who refused to take a stand when they were confronted with this stark moral choice posed by Mr. Trump’s racist attacks on four minority freshmen Democratic women.” [. . .]    –Charles Sykes, America, the Jesuit Review, July 21, 2019.

Contributed by Martin Kavka, Florida State University

The 9 Circles of Beaumont Hell – and Who You’ll Meet There

“The Italian poet Dante Alighieri was kind of a twisted dude. His 14th-century opus, the Divine Comedy, led readers into the depths of a nine-layer hell filled with flaming tombs, rivers of boiling blood and giant worm-monsters. He spent plenty of time in the Inferno, the first part of the Divine Comedy, outlining all the sins that can get you a one-way ticket to Satan’s inner circle. But by 2014, a lot of those sins feel pretty out-of-date — we stopped burning heretics at the stake a while back, and I’m not even sure that simony is still a thing.

“With Dante’s colorful imagery in mind, I updated and localized his nine circles of hell as a reminder to Southeast Texans that if you’re not going to be polite because it’s the right thing to do, at least be polite to avoid retribution in the afterlife.” […]    –Beth Rankin, Beaumont Enterprise, December 6, 2014

And the Tenth Circle of Dante’s Hell is …

“Hell, Dante tells us, has nine circles, each one reserved for souls guilty of particular sins. The greedy, for example, go to the Third Circle, while heretics are flung down into the Fourth. If you’ve lived a lustful life, full of debauchery and fornication, you will find yourself in the second circle, writhing and naked with millions of other lustful souls who — wait, how exactly is that a punishment?  According to Dante, the worst Circles of Hell are reserved for fraudsters and traitors, suggesting that he’d had an unfortunate disagreement with his publisher over royalties. But the great Italian fell short in his demonic visions, because there is another Circle of Hell: the Tenth. It is a place of infinite suffering and utter despair, echoing with the wailing of the damned. It is a movie theatre called Cinepolis Junior.” […]    –Tom Eaton, Rand Daily Mail, March 14, 2017

A Profound Meditation on Hell

When I had journeyed half of our life’s way, I found myself within a shadowed forest, for I had lost the path that does not stray …’

“So opens the 14th-century poem Divina Comedia (The Divine Comedy) by Dante Alighieri.

“The blurb on the back cover of a new book, Spiritual Direction From Dante: Avoiding the Infernoby Oratorian Father Paul Pearson, tells its readers that no prior knowledge of the celebrated text is necessary to appreciate or enjoy its riches: “Reading Dante not required!” That is because Father Pearson gives an excellent explanation of the poem, and both its cultural and spiritual significance, in just over 300 pages.

“Fusing practical advice about how to live one’s Christian vocation with a piece of high art from the Middle Ages is not an easy thing to do. Father Pearson carries it off superbly, and while doing so, he gives the reader a fresh appreciation of Divina Comedia.

“The structure of the book is a straightforward journey through the 34 cantos that make up the first part of the poem, namely, Inferno (hell). For anyone unfamiliar with Divina Comedia, this epic poem recounts how Dante, accompanied by the pagan poet Virgil, journeys through the many circles of hell, purgatory and then heaven.” […]    –K.V. Turley, National Catholic Register, June 8, 2019

The Social Media of Hell

“People, especially people’s troubles, are not fit entertainment, but can be entertaining. That’s not good. We need justice, but doing justice is not so we can make a Netflix series and gaze slack jawed at the bad guys and marvel at their talk.

“A Christian is called to love his enemies and that’s hard to do if they are providing your amusement for the evening. Social media can send a swarm of us after the latest example of someone breaking down or being taken down on Twitter.

“When I participate, I am going down to Hell and listening to the endless natter, the continuous stream of accusations, justifications, and whines that mark the damned or so Dante’s Inferno would suggest. There Dante gets stuck in a dangerous place, because he wishes to hear the social media stream of damnation.” […]    –John Mark N. Reynolds, Patheos, April 2, 2019

Dante to College Administrators: On Debt

“I do not know if then I was too bold when I answered him in just this strain: ‘Please tell me, how much treasure did our Lord insist on from Saint Peter before He gave the keys into his keeping? Surely He asked no more than ‘Follow me.’

“So says Dante to Pope Nicholas. The pontiff is in torment in Dante’s hell for simony: profiting from selling church offices for money. Others will join him soon and he is only the latest of many before he came. Dante shows him upside down, feet in the air, because this false shepherd has loved money more than God or God’s people. He has turned the non-profit work of the church to profit and so inverted the calling of the church.

“Only a master as great as Dante can combine beautiful poetry with a jeremiad against the church that was so true, good, and lovely that Christians called his comedy divine.” […]    –John Mark N. Reynolds, Patheos, March 30, 2019