Jodi Picoult, Tenth Circle (2006), Dustin Weaver (Illustrator) Wildclaw (2006)

“The book was called The Tenth Circle.

“The main plot of the novel is a family drama focusing on a relationship between a father and daughter, but there is a secondary story in the form of the father’s comic book which we see pages of between each chapter. The father is a professional comic writer/artist, who in his super hero comic, “WildClaw”, is writing a story that parallels the drama in his life.

“The superhero, WildClaw, journeys into hell to rescue his daughter from the devil in a Dante’s Inferno inspired tale. Along the way he is forced to face the darkness within himself.

“I was very aware that this was not just a typical comic book, it was also an illustrated novel and I decided to take a more illustrative approach to the art.  Running with the Dante’s Inferno inspiration I tried for an art style reminiscent of the engraved art of Gustave Dore.

“I also chose a layout stile where one panel would serve as a kind of anchor illustration To me this style of layout creates a sense of each page being “a piece” onto itself. It’s a style that I think isn’t usually preferable in comics. In comics you mostly want to keep the reader moving through the story. In this I wanted to create illustrative pages that kept you looking at them.” […]    –Dustin Weaver dustinweaver.blogspot.com, September 3, 2014

Joseph Pearce, Catholic Literary Giants (2005)

Pearce-Catholic-Literary-Giants-Dante“Taken as a whole, one can see Eliot’s major work as paralleling that of his master, Dante. The Waste Land and ‘The Hollow Man,” were his Inferno, ‘Ash Wednesday’ and The Rock were his Purgatorio, and Four Quartets were his vision of Paradise. What a legacy he has bequeathed to posterity!” (176) — Joseph Pearce, Catholic Literary Giants: A Field Guide to the Catholic Literary Landscape

Contributed by Ellie Augustine (University of Kansas, 2020)

Gregory Bellow, “Crises of the Spirit: Dante and Bellow”

Greg-Bellow-Crises-of-the-Spirit-Dante-Saul-Bellow

In an essay entitled “Crises of the Spirit: Dante and Bellow,” Gregory Bellow, oldest son of Saul Bellow and author of Saul Bellow’s Heart: A Son’s Memoir, compares three of his father’s novels to Dante’s three canticles. “Crises of the Spirit” parallels the pilgrim’s psycho-spiritual crisis and recovery with those of Bellow’s characters, and with the novelist’s own biography. Using private anecdotes and personal recollections, Gregory Bellow traces his father’s mid-life “crisis of spirit” through the Dantean themes of evil, spiritual cleansing, and love.

A PDF copy of the essay is available here, with permission of the author.

Stilnovo e Oulipo

No-Curves_The-Supreme-Poet

“Come avrebbe reagito Dante Alighieri davanti all’Oulipo? Scopriamolo su Betwyll con #Stilnovo a settembre, preparandoci alla mostra ‘Il volto di Dante, per una traduzione contemporanea.’ […]

“Giocheremo a #Stilnovo sperimentando un approccio diverso, oltre al consueto: ogni giorno leggeremo e commenteremo una parte della poesia seguendo una delle regole elaborate dall’Oulipo e messe in pratica da Raymond Queneau nei suoi Esercizi di stile. Ogni giorno, i partecipanti potranno perciò trascurare nei loro tweet e twyll l’uso di particolari lettere (lipogramma), oppure riscrivere la strofa al passato remoto, o ancora commentarne il contenuto con un tweet formale e burocratico, facendo paragoni gastronomici o cromatici.”

More info here

Dwight Garner, “‘Echo’s Bones,’ A Beckett Short Story Rediscovered”

Beckett-Echos-Bones-Belacqua-Dante“When the British publisher Chatto & Windus agreed in 1933 to publish Samuel Beckett’s first book of fiction, a collection of 10 interrelated stories titled ‘More Pricks Than Kicks,’ it asked him for one final story, a culminating wallop.

“There was a problem. Beckett had killed off the book’s protagonist, a Dublin intellectual named Belacqua Shuah, in an earlier story. He had to be nonchalantly resurrected. A second problem arose. Beckett’s editor at Chatto & Windus, Charles Prentice, found the new story Beckett delivered, ‘Echo’s Bones,’ to resemble less a comely infant than a troubling heap of placenta and broken forceps.

“’It is a nightmare,’ Prentice wrote to Beckett. This was the start of one of the great rejection letters in literary history. ‘It gives me the jim-jams.’ He declared: ‘People will shudder and be puzzled and confused.’

It’s not you, Prentice continued. It’s me. ‘I am sitting on the ground, and ashes are on my head.’ [. . .]

“Its pleasures border on the painful; you will have to like the sound of breaking glass. You may wish to exclaim about ‘Echo’s Bones,’ as Belacqua does about his re-emergence on earth, ‘My soul begins to be idly goaded and racked, all the old pains and aches of me soul-junk return!’

Soul-junk isn’t a bad term for Beckett’s prose here. ‘Echo’s Bones,’ as Mr. Nixon’s annotations make clear, is a magpie’s assortment of references, allusions and quotations, with nods to Dante, Shakespeare, Dickens, Mozart, biographies, folklore, movies, popular songs. Set amid all this are cosmic stage directions of the sort we later became familiar with in Beckett. Here’s one: ‘Doyle ate dirt.'”    –Dwight Garner, “A Castoff Joins a Master’s Canon: ‘Echo’s Bones,’ A Beckett Short Story Rediscovered,” New York Times

Dante in a Genealogy of Literature

mendelsohn“This is the essentially genealogical model of influence taught in college literature courses: Homer begat Virgil, Virgil begat Dante, and so on.”    –Daniel Mendelsohn, “Which Authors of Books Have Worked on You as ‘Negative Influences’?” New York Times, January 21, 2014

“Books, Just Like You Wanted”

03bits-knightley-tmagArticle“Kiera Knightley in the 2005 film “Pride and Prejudice.” The book by Jane Austen is among the most opened books on Oyster but is finished less than 1 percent of the time.”

“Anyone can publish a book these days, and just about everyone does. But if the supply of writers is increasing at a velocity unknown in literary history, the supply of readers is not. That is making competition for attention rather fierce. One result: ceaseless self-promotion by eager beginners.” […]

“Another commentator quoted the poet Joseph Brodsky, who wrote that ‘in cultural matters, it is not demand that creates supply, it is the other way around. You read Dante because he wrote The Divine Comedy, not because you felt the need for him: you would not have been able to conjure either the man or the poem.’ ” […]    –David Streitfeld, The New York Times, January 3, 2014

Susan Jihrad, Dickens’ Inferno (2013)

jhirad“This book is a fascinating and original insight into two authors who have inspired us for centuries. Perhaps unique among world authors, Dickens and Dante create comprehensive moral systems still strikingly relevant in today’s world, filled with greed, religious hypocrisy, fraud, violence and war. At the same time their compelling characters can still move us to tears and laughter. By dropping them into their appropriate circles of Dante’s Inferno, Professor Jhirad delves deeply into Dickens’ villains in a way that is both scholarly and accessible to the average reader. Additional chapters on Dickens’ Purgatory and Paradise add richness to the book.”  —Amazon

“Kindred Spirits: A Juxtaposition of Dante & Dickens”

dante-and-scrooge“. . . I cannot recall a time when I didn’t know the story of A Christmas Carol. The images and themes have delighted or haunted me since my childhood, either in the form of the ‘Dickens Village’ adventure at the mall or the hundredth or so viewing of the Muppet version. (Michael Caine, you will always be my Scrooge.) So when I studied Dante’s Commedia in college, it was no leap for me to recognize the countless similarities between the two stories. I would write C.C. in the margin every time I came across another bit of Dickens in Dante. At long last, I can pitch some these ideas to the wider world.”     –Kathyrn (blogger), Through a Glass Brightly, December 18, 2013

Contributed by Patrick Molloy