“A White Canon in a World of Color,” by Sierra Lomuto

“I was recently in my hometown of San Francisco, walking through the Mission district on Christmas Eve looking for a place to pop into and get some work done. I had some grading to finish for my Chaucer class. I worked for a bit in a café at Valencia and 24th St. But when it closed early at 4pm, because of the holiday, I made my way toward the local library a couple blocks away.

[. . .]

“Wrapped around the face of the building were etchings of names, six per column, and the first read: Homer, Virgil, Rabelais, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Dante. My eyes followed the carved words around to the side where they ended, each name digging a pit deeper into my stomach. Here I was, in the heart of the Mission, a Latinx neighborhood for as long as most San Franciscans’ memories can reach back to, and a building that is meant to represent knowledge, learning, community, safety. . . is encased with the names of white men. I wanted this old stone building, this old library in the Mission, to offer me some solace amidst a devastating present, to remind me that knowledge, education, and learning are paths out of socio-economic oppression.

“Instead, it reminded me that those paths too often lead us toward our own epistemological oppression—and do too little for the places and people we came from. The façade of the Mission library reminded me that those paths belong to white men; the rest of us merely walk them. [. . .]”   –Sierra Lomuto, “A White Canon in a World of Color,” Medievalists of Color (March 26, 2019)

Dante’s Treachery: Bass Library

“If you are ever wondering what the absolute bottom of hell is like, step no farther than (B)ass Library. This tri-level torture chamber has everything: sleep-deprived students, crying teens, those who have brought their entire desktop computers just to play Fortnite, some old people, the occasional free doughnut and self-centered students taking up an entire four-person table. Don’t pretend you’re not a little curious about all the sad, eye-bagged Yalies who look like they’d rather be literally set on fire than trudging down those steps into the dark abyss. Behold: a multilayer, cubicle-filled hell of self-inflicted punishment and internal damnation that you’re doomed to revisit even after you swear it’s too “scene-y” during your first semester of the year. Welcome to Bass.

“When you walk into the library, you’ll first find yourself in Bass Cafe. Consider this your purgatory. Here, you’ll find round tables with obnoxious clubs trying to harass you as you’re on your way to study and people sitting there solely looking to be seen “studying” with just a laptop out — they’re probably watching Netflix or copying down the most recent economics problem set. Once you enter the library, you’ll see the first layer of this hell. This level feels slightly less terrible than the other pits because it has the suggestion of sunlight. But don’t be fooled; before you hit the steps down into the lower levels, look to your right and you will see roughly six to 14 people completely knocked out in uncomfortable chairs, each in pretzel-like positions having tried but given up on ever making it back outside.” […]    –Lindsay Jost, Yale Daily News, October 25, 2018

“Dante and Virgil Attend an Exhibition,” Caricatures by Antonio Manganaro at Princeton University

“Since Dante’s Divine Comedy (Divina Commedia) first appeared in 1320, visual artists have been rethinking Dante’s trip into hell with Virgil as his guide. Eugène Delacroix chose the subject for his first major painting, The Barque of Dante, also known as Dante and Virgil in Hell, which introduced the artist at the Salon of 1822. A few years later, William Blake drew visions of the Divine Comedy in London while G.G. Macchiavelli did the same in Bologna. William-Adolphe Bouguereau painted Dante and Virgil in Hell in 1850; Edgar Degas finished Dante and Virgil at the Entrance to Hell in 1858; and Gustave Doré financed his own Inferno in 1861, finishing the trilogy in 1868.

“In the wake of Doré’s popularity, the Italian caricaturist Antonio Manganaro (1842-1921) translated Dante’s epic to his own era, imagining what would happen if Dante and Virgil attended the opening of The International Maritime Exhibition held in Naples in 1871. Manganaro’s rare lithographic volume, recently acquired by the Graphic Arts Collection, includes plenty of ghosts, fish, and wine.” — “Dante and Virgil Attend an Exhibition,” Website of the Graphic Arts Collection, Rare Books and Special Collections, Firestone Library, Princeton University (May 20, 2017)

Dante at UVA

Dante

This bust of Dante watches over a University of Virginia library.

Jennifer Moses, “In Search of Oxford”

in-search-of-oxford-bodleian-libraryJennifer Moses describes the Bodleian Library at Oxford: “. . .Certain key scenes in the Harry Potter franchise were filmed here, but if it’s more current stuff you’re after, go through the courtyard to the Radcliffe Camera, a classical circular building closed to the public but open to students, who these days are as likely to be studying their Facebook pages as their Dante, but whatever. There’s an almost endless amount of music, theater, dance, movies and lectures to go to in and around the university, as well as evensong at Christ Church Cathedral and various college chapels.”    –Jennifer Moses, “In Search of Oxford,” The New York Times, March 21, 2014

Outside On a Billboard, Bodleian Libraries, Oxford, England

billboard-bodleian-libraries-oxford-england

Bodleian Libraries, Oxford, England

See also: the 14th century manuscript from North Italy (Genoa?)

Contributed by Dien Ho

Peter Kattenberg’s Progress on the Divine Comedy

peter-kattenberg-divine-comedy-drawingsSunday, Sept. 12th, 2010 an exposition of Peter Kattenberg’s work in progress on Dante’s Divina Commedia will open at Arminius, Rotterdam (NL). The guerilla exhibition is part of Festival Witte de With that celebrates the opening of the new Arts Season. Kattenberg’s Dante exposition runs up to Dante’s Day of Death (Sept. 14th) to commemorate the poet and opens during a remonstrant church service to give Dante a new lease on life, both visually and spiritually.

See mores images on YouTube and Vimeo.

Also, at Leiden University Library, there is an exhibition called “Dante, Darling of the People” that opens Sept 14th, 2010.