“Dante, Hero of Sinners”

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“You already have your summer getaway planned, but what about your permanent vacation? Given your options, Hell may be less temperate, but its hidden perks make it well worth the trip.” [. . .]    –Michael Rottman, The Morning News, June 27, 2006

“Dante, Virgil To Tour L.A.”

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Found at The Onion, June 10, 1998

“Report: 92 Percent Of Souls In Hell There On Drug Charges”

report-92-percent-of-souls-in-hell-there-on-drug-charges“HELL. A report released Monday by the Afterlife Civil Liberties Union indicates that nine out of 10 souls currently serving in Hell were condemned on drug-related sins. ‘Hell was created to keep dangerous sinners off the gold-paved streets of Heaven,’ ACLU spokesman Barry Horowitz said. ‘But lately, it’s become a clearing-house for the non-evil souls that Heaven doesn’t know how to deal with.'”    —The Onion, October 12, 2005

“Tenth Circle Added to Rapidly Growing Hell”

tenth-circle-added-to-rapidly-growing-hell“CITY OF DIS, NETHER HELL. After nearly four years of construction at an estimated cost of 750 million souls, Corpadverticus, the new 10th circle of Hell, finally opened its doors Monday. The Blockbuster Video-sponsored circle, located in Nether Hell between the former eighth and ninth levels of Malebolge and Cocytus, is expected to greatly alleviate the overcrowding problems that have plagued the infernal underworld in recent years.”    —The Onion, September 23, 1998

Contributed by Ted Reinert (Bowdoin, ’05)

“The Close Reader: Let the Punishment Fit the Crime”

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“If sheer cultural influence is the measure of greatness, though, Dante Alighieri should probably rank higher than Shakespeare, since Dante dreamed up something that, sadly, has had even more impact than depth psychology. He invented the infernal. Dante’s ‘Inferno’ gave us our first glimpse of a universe we once again inhabit: a topography of graphic, gruesome suffering. The Dante scholar John Freccero might have been talking about Kosovo or Rwanda or any other post-genocidal landscape when he wrote, ‘The ruined portals and fallen bridges of Hell are emblems of the failure of all bonds among the souls who might once have been members of the human community.'” [. . .]    –Judith Shulevitz, The New York Times, March 9, 2003

“Blew Bayou”

michael-lewis-blew-bayou“No one knows that better than Lewis. In less than two years, the 5’8″, 165-pound bayou waterbug has gone from driving a beer truck, schlepping kegs for a Budweiser distributorship two doors down from the Saints practice facility, to leading the NFL with 1,950 total return yards (1,504 kickoff, 446 punt). At the NFL-ancient age of 29, with just a year of JV high school football and no college experience, Lewis began his journey through the darkest recesses of professional football like some kind of Dante character in shoulder pads. Now he’s 31, and fans have made him the leading vote-getter among kick returners in this season’s Pro Bowl balloting.”    –David Fleming, ESPN Magazine, December 10, 2002

“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