Anne Isba, “Gladstone and Dante: Victorian Statesman, Medieval Poet” (2006)

anne-isba-gladstone-and-dante-victorian-statesman-medieval-poet-2006“From the point at which he first read the Commedia, at the age of twenty-four, William Gladstone was to consider Dante Alighieri one of the major influences in his life, on a par with Homer and St Augustine, and to identify himself strongly with the poet. Both were statesmen as well as scholars, for whom civic duty was more important than personal convenience. Both were serious theologians as well as simple spiritual pilgrims. Both idealised women. This book shows how Gladstone found in Dante an endorsement of his own beliefs as he negotiated a path through life. Isba traces the development of his enthusiasm against the background of a resurgent Italy in a new Europe, and in the context of the Victorian fashion for all things medieval. She also examines the parallels between the two men’s attitudes to sex and religion in particular, and closes by analysing the quality of Gladstone’s own writing on Dante (he was to become an internationally recognised Dante scholar).”    —Boydell & Brewer

Contributed by Michael Richards

Gianfranco Casadio, Dante Nel Cinema (1996)

Dante Nel CinemaDante Nel Cinema is a scholarly work by Gianfranco Casadio which investigates Dante’s work’s influence in films.

Click here to view a review of Dante Nel Cinema in the publication Quaderni d’Italianistica.

 

 

 

 

Contributed by Dennis Looney

“Il Postino” (Michael Radford, 1994)

il-postino-michael-radford-1994I think that there is a valid connection between Il Postino and Dante… where Mario could be seen as the poet Dante, Beatrice is (unsurprisingly) Beatrice (his inspiration in both contexts), and Pablo Neruda is Virgil, Dante’s (and thus, Mario’s) poetic ‘father’ figure. Also, upon examining the film’s script, there is a direct reference in the scene with Mario and Neruda speaking at the cafe:

Mario: I’m in love, really, really in love.
Neruda: Who are you in love with?
Mario: Her name’s Beatrice.
Neruda: Beatrice. Dante. Dante Alighieri. He fell for a certain Beatrice. Beatrices have inspired boundless love. What are you doing?
Mario: Writing down the name Dante. Dante I know, but Alighieri–

Contributed by Aisha Woodward (Bowdoin, ’08)

Jane Langton, “The Dante Game: A Homer Kelly Mystery” (1992)

jane-langton-the-dante-game-a-homer-kelly-mystery-1992“The latest Homer Kelly mystery unfolds in Italy, where he joins the faculty of the newly formed American School of Florentine Studies. As students and professors read their way through Dante’s Divine Comedy , they and the author draw parallels to modern-day Florence, where a bank official (and secret heroin smuggler) plots to assassinate the anti-drug-crusading Pope, using a Beatrice-like student as hostage. After three murders at the school, Homer and a friend investigate. The novel’s strolling pace accelerates only near the very end, but there is adequate amusement for Langton or Dante fans, or both.”    –Library Journal, Amazon

Kimberly Heuston, “Dante’s Daughter” (2004)

kimberly-heuston-dantes-daughter-2004“When political upheaval forces her family to flee and separate, Antonia takes her brother’s advice to heart as she journeys through Italy and France with her father, the poet Dante Alighieri. She becomes a pilgrim who also embraces interior journeys: she struggles with her difficult, inattentive father; with her heart’s desire to paint as her father writes; and with her first tastes of young love. All the while Antonia harbors dreams that others tell her women are not entitles to dream. Dante’s Daughter portrays a life in full, one that beautifully answers Antonia’s own questions: “Had my journey made me wise? Had my secret griefs made me strong?” This highly imagined story–based on the few known facts of Antonia’s life–is set against the dramatic background of pre-Renaissance Europe, rendered in rich detail by storyteller and historian Kimberley Heuston.”    —Amazon

Anthony Maulucci, “Dear Dante” (2006)

anthony-maulucci-dear-dante-2006“With echoes of The Name of the Rose, comes this thought-provoking novel about an attempted murder and its mystical consequences. Part mystery, part psychological drama about love, part depiction of the duality of human nature, of good and evil, of heterosexuality and bisexuality, part exploration of the making of a Christian mystic, Dear Dante simply defies easy categorization. Anthony Maulucci has compressed many layers into his well-wrought narrative and finely tuned characterizations. The main narrator of Dear Dante is an English-born Italian named John, a professor of Renaissance studies living in Tuscany and writing a book about Dante. A bi-sexual father in the midst of a marital and spiritual crisis, John has visions of Dante and Beatrice while listening to his former student’s story of a redemptive journey through a personal hell — the attempt to murder his lover’s husband and his struggle to choose between the two women in his life — that reawaken his creative energies and help bring about his spiritual renewal.”    —Amazon

“Rome Journal; An Inferno of Vehicles Expands a City’s Circle of Suffering”

rome-journal-an-inferno-of-vehicles-expands-a-citys-circle-of-suffering“On a remarkably pleasant night in early August, Patrizia Dolcini, a 44-year-old hotel worker, was jolted from her sleep by a series of violent explosions just outside her first-floor bedroom window in one of Rome’s most upscale areas.
Ms. Dolcini ran outside, where others were gathering, as a frightening scene unfolded: more than a dozen parked motor scooters had burst into flames, transforming an entire intersection into an inferno. The blaze engulfed a nearby tree and leapt five stories in the air. Black smoke billowed above this city’s fairy-tale skyline. From a few blocks away, there came another explosion. Then, from a different direction, another.” [. . .]    –Brian Wingfeld, The New York Times, September 5, 2005

“Hannibal” (Ridley Scott, 2001)

hannibal-ridley-scott-2001Hannibal is set in Florence where the notorius Hannibal Lecter is posing as a medievalist and Dante scholar. He lectures on the Divine Comedy and recites poetry from the Vita nuova, as well as attends an operatic adaptation of the Vita nuova. Apart from these explicit references to Dante, there is also a sense in which the homicidal methods he employs mirror, contrapasso like, the sins of his victims, all of whom are in some sense bad. The noble folk, Starling and a nurse, are spared, despite HL’s ample oppourtunities to kill them. It is difficult to equate any of the movie’s characters with those of the Divine Comedy, although Lector does in a sense play Virgil to Starling’s pilgrim; but in his role as avenger of evil, serial killer, HL appears more like the wrathful Old Testament God.”    –Peter Schwindt

For a compilation of references to Dante in the film, see the post on the website greatdante.net.

Contributed by Peter Schwindt