Andrew Frisardi, Love’s Scribe: Reading Dante in the Book of Creation (2020)

frisardi-loves-scribe-reading-dante-in-the-book-of-creation-2020“In a few passages of his writings, Dante identifies himself as ‘Love’s scribe’—the scribe, that is, of all love, from natural and human love to the “Love that moves the sun and the other stars.” Another fundamental notion in Dante, and in medieval thought in general, is that the manifold things of the creation are like pages bound together by divine love into a unified book, a series of successive analogies of God—a book written by God, in which can be discerned images and resemblances of divinity. As the current volume shows, this way of reading the creation also opens a vista into Dante’s or any traditional metaphysical-symbolist author’s works as an analogia entis—as a series of signs corresponding to multiple levels of reality, each resonating with others in the hierarchical chain of being.” [. . .]    –Andrew Frisardi, Angelico Press, 2020

Check out the Angelico Press website to read praise for Love’s Scribe.

Dante’s Road: The Journey Home for the Modern Soul (2019) by Marc Thomas Shaw

“This spiritual guidebook follows in the footsteps of Dante on his journey through the Divine Comedy. A fresh, modern take on this path, the book invites us to explore these questions: what is my hell and how do I move through it? What is my purgatory and what lesson do I need to take away? What is my paradise; how do I get there and how do I stay there? With wisdom distilled from the great myths, scriptures, and the world’s mystics, this book is an invitation to ever-greater awakening and wholeness” [. . .]    —Amazon

Dante’s Road was written by Marc Thomas Shaw and published by Amanchara Books on February 27th, 2019.

Spiritual Direction from Dante: Avoiding the Inferno (2019) by Fr. Paul Pearson

“Hell and how to avoid it are perennial topics of interest for believing Christians and others. With good reason. Entire libraries have been written on the subject. Most people, even those familiar with his classic, do not realize that Dante Aligheri’s Divine Comedy, chock-full as it is of history and politics, is a masterpiece of spiritual writing. The most famous of his three volumes is the Inferno, an account of Dante’s journey through the underworld, where he sees the horror of sin firsthand. [. . .]

“A reading experience like no other, Spiritual Direction from Dante, will educate and entertain you, but most importantly, will help you avoid the inferno!”    —Amazon

Spiritual Direction from Dante was written by Father Paul Pearson and published by TAN Books February 4th, 2019.

Enrico Castelli Gattinara, Come Dante può salvarti la vita (Giunti, 2019)

Enrico-Castelli-Gattinara-Come-Dante-puo-salvarti-la-vita-2019“Nell’era dell’effetto Dunning-Kruger, quella distorsione per cui chi meno sa più crede di sapere, è bello scoprire che invece ci sono stati casi – e tanti – in cui sapere, ricordare, rievocare ha fatto letteralmente la differenza tra vivere o morire, tra fortuna e miseria, tra resistenza e disperazione. E non il conoscere pratiche estreme di sopravvivenza, ma il fatto di riportare alla mente il brano di un grande classico imparato a memoria ai tempi della scuola, di sapere come posare le dita su uno strumento musicale, di riuscire a immaginare un dipinto o poter scattare una fotografia, di comprendere, se non interpretare, un’opera teatrale. Il fatto di avere l’opportunità di accedere alla cultura. Sì, alla cultura. Enrico Castelli Gattinara tutti i giorni deve trovare il modo per convincere i suoi ragazzi che conoscere serve. E quando loro sbuffano alla richiesta di imparare qualche verso di Dante a memoria, comincia a raccontare loro la storia di un uomo che grazie a quelle terzine è sopravvissuto al campo di concentramento.”    — Giunti catalog

Contributed by Jessica Beasley (Florida State University ’18)

Marco Santagata, Dante: The Story of His Life (2016)

“Unlike Shakespeare, whose corpus one searches in vain for insight into the author’s selfhood, we have abundant access to Dante’s psyche, thanks to the self-editorializing drive in all his major works, from the Vita Nuova to the Convivio to The Divine Comedy. Dante funneled everything—history, truth, cosmos, salvation—through his first-person singular, the famous “I” who finds himself “in the middle of our life’s way” as the poem opens. Yet despite his bold self-exposure, the writing of the Comedy remains a mystery. How did the vision come to him, and how much of it did he have inside his mind when he began writing?

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“Marco Santagata, a professor of Italian literature at the University of Pisa, has written an impressive new biography that takes into consideration every bit of reliable and semireliable information available to us about Dante’s life, from his birth in Florence in 1265 to his death in Ravenna in 1321, yet you reach the end of its 485 pages without getting one step closer to understanding how an electrician joined the ranks of Einstein and Fermi. That is because little in Dante’s life story helps us understand how he conceived, composed, and completed the Comedy, this despite the fact that much of what was going on around him at the time found its way into his poem.” — Robert Pogue Harrison, “Dante: He Went Mad in His Hell. Review of Marco Santagata, Dante: The Story of His Life,” New York Review of Books, Oct. 27, 2016

Contributed by Pamela Montanaro

Kevin Lincoln, “The Death of the Bargain Bin” (2014)

kevin-lincoln-the-death-of-the-bargain-bin-2014

“. . .We, as in the public, are beholden to these people to some extent, because like Dante descending into hell, we need a Virgil to guide us through the terrors that are YouTube and worse (on the Internet, there’s always worse). There has been a severe hamstringing of our agency not only as consumers of art, but also as patrons. What we’ve made up for in efficiency, we’ve lost in potential, and that loss of potential — the feeling that boundaries exist on the artistic world — is immensely dissatisfying. We are becoming increasingly tethered to these algorithms and these influencers, and for a reason: What we’ve created, with the advent of almost unlimited access, is as close as the human race has ever come to the elimination of scarcity. There is still a cap on the amount of movies and TV and music out there waiting for us. But like the edges of space, it is something we’re never going to see.” [. . .]    –Kevin Lincoln, The New York Times, March 14, 2014

Edmund White, Inside a Pearl (2014)

inside-a-pearl-edmund-white-2014Jay Parini describes Marie-Claude de Brunhoff, a main character in Edmund White’s memoir Inside a Pearl: My Years in Paris, as “a kind of fragile Virgil to White’s dewy-eyed Dante, leading him with gusto into the labyrinth of Parisian life.”    –Jay Parini, The New York Times, February 7, 2014

Review of Jessica Lamb-Shapiro, Promise Land (2014)

promise-land-jessica-lamb-shapiro-2014“It’s ingrained in human nature to look at ourselves with a weary awareness of all that’s wrong within, and the optimism that someone, somewhere can tell us how to fix it. As Jessica Lamb-Shapiro points out in her ambitious if unfulfilling new memoir-cum-odyssey, Promise Land, we’ve been gobbling up self-help advice for nearly as long as the written word has existed, devouring it in the ancient Egyptian Sebayt writings and the Book of Proverbs. But our contemporary mania for the wisdom of Dr. Phil is different from what generations past gleaned from Epictetus or even Dale Carnegie, and Lamb-Shapiro aims to explain how. Along the way, she’s on a quest to fix herself. Lamb-Shapiro, who has written for The Believer and McSweeney’s, is a witty and enjoyably self-aware writer. She’s certainly a far more entertaining guide through hellish terrain — like a preshow interrogation by a ‘Dr. Oz’ producer — than Dante was given.” [. . .]    –Mary Elizabeth Williams, The New York Times, January 3, 2014

Enrico Cerni, “Dante per i manager” (2010)

enrico-cerni-dante-per-i-manager-2010     dante-per-i-manager-inferno

This how-to book, published in 2010, was written as a guide for managers and entrepreneurs to navigating the business world. Through the sections Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso, Enrico Cerni creates a book-long metaphor using the famous characters and sites from Dante’s Divine Comedy. 

See Dante for Life for more information.

Italian Commuting

italian-comuting-tim-parks   tim-parks-italian-ways

“Mr. Parks lives in Milan, where he runs a postgraduate translation program at Istituto Universitario di Lingue Moderne. Living here saves him from the hellish predawn 100-mile commute from Verona, a Dante-esque daily journey that he writes about at the outset of Italian Ways.”    –Rachel Donadio, The New York Times, June 7, 2013

See Tim Parks’ book, Italian Ways: On and Off the Rails from Milan to Palermo (NY: W. W. Norton, 2013)