Donna Distefano’s “The Love That Moves the Sun and the Other Stars” Ring

“I created a one-of-a-kind ring inspired by Dante’s The Divine Comedy, Paradiso, Canto 33, The Final Vision. I’ve studied The Divine Comedy in both English and Italian and have always loved the way the poem combines so many seemingly disparate elements: mythology, realism, love, judgment, geometry, and astronomy to name a few. In Canto 33, Dante faces God and sees ‘the Love that moves the sun and the other stars.’ It is the moment when his life on earth intersects with his life outside of this earth.”   –Donna Distefano

The ring, which features pieces of actual meteorite, was featured in the exhibit “Out of this World: Jewelry in the Space Age” at the Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville, Georgia (November 7, 2020 – October 24, 2021). In Style magazine did a piece on it, too (see image below).

See also our previous post on Distefano’s “Elixir of Love” ring.

Contributed by Donna Distefano

Seth Steinzor, In Dante’s Wake (3 volumes)

In Dante’s Wake is a journey in poetry through the moral universe, from blinkered evil to heaven’s networks by way of the muddled-up places in between.

“Once Was Lost, the third and final volume of the trilogy, finds heaven on a North Atlantic beach, beginning with a breakfast of fried claims at sunrise, moving through encounters with people whose lives have been a blessing to humanity, and ending in a series of visions of psychedelic strangeness and power.”   —Seth Steinzor’s Website

Fomite Press published Steinzor’s Once Was Lost on June 18, 2021. Each of the three volumes of In Dante’s Wake revisits one canticle of Dante’s CommediaTo Join the Lost (Hell), Among the Lost (Purgatory), and Once Was Lost (Paradise). See our previous post of Steinzor’s To Join the Lost here.

Contributed by Seth Steinzor

Beatrice’s Eyes and Beauty in The Divine Comedy

“A scholarly essay published in VoegelinView describing the symbolism of Beatrice’s eyes in The Divine Comedy. The essay also has a few references to how such symbolism, and the role of Beatrice in general, are relevant to us today.”    –Darrell Falconburg, VoegelinView, December 22, 2020

Divine Comedy of Our Time

the-divine-comedy-for-our-time-2017“This summer, in Mississippi, I sat by my father’s bed for three weeks and watched him die. After that, I drove one of my kids from Kentucky to New England for a college visit. Along the way, we climbed a mountain and spent the night in a rest area when we couldn’t find a motel room. Then, with five-sixths of my family and three weeks’ worth of camping gear packed into (and onto) an aging minivan, we drove to Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. Along the way, in British Columbia, we went through an active wildfire and saw a tree explode into flames about 50 feet from our van. At Banff we saw a moose, two grizzly bears, and the vast acres of gravel left behind by the rapidly receding Columbia Icefield.

“On every step of this long, strange trip, I carried with me a big, fat, well-worn paperback book, its margins filled with my youngest son’s class notes. So, what did I do this summer? I read The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri. Every night—well, most nights—I spent 15 or 20 minutes accompanying the poet of the early 1300s down into the depths of Hell, up the winding mountain trails of Purgatory, and on to the beatific vision of Paradise.” [. . .]    –Danny Duncan Collum, SOJOURNERS, December, 2017.

Silk stole illustrations by Marco Brancato for Orequo

Illustrator Marco Brancato’s Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso silk stoles for the luxury Italian fashion company, Orequo.

Contributed by Angela Lavecchia

Magnum X Dante– Limited edition ice cream pops inspired by the Comedy

Limited edition ice cream pops made in honor of the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death.  Purgatorio pop arriving in May-June, and Paradiso pop in July-August.

“Magnum, la più alta espressione del piacere nel mondo del gelato, celebra Dante con un omaggio alla sua Divina Commedia, la più alta espressione d’arte della storia della letteratura italiana.  A 700 anni dalla morte del Sommo Poeta, arrivano tre limited edition dedicate alle tre cantiche Dantesche, per vivere un’esperienza coinvolgente e sorprendente.  Un viaggio che inizia dal gusto intrigante dell’inferno, per poi assaporare la dimensione multi-sensoriale del purgatorio e raggiungere il suo apice con il piacere puro e delicato del paradiso.”   —Magnum

Contributed by Brandon Essary

James Torrens and Brenda Schildgen on Par. 23 for “Canto per Canto”

“While in the two preceding cantos Peter Damian and Saint Benedict vehemently incriminate the corruption of prelates and monastic orders, in Paradiso 23 invective gives way to rhapsody. The canto begins with Beatrice looking up eagerly at the saints – a looking up which is part of the outside of the mind experience that Dante’s guide encourages him to have. In their conversation on the canto, James Torrens and Brenda Schildgen discuss the various registers that Dante uses to express this experience of going beyond the mind as well as to speak of the Virgin Mary. The language goes from sublime to humble for ‘the Virgin herself represents that humility, on the one hand, and the sublime on the other’. As Dante uses a wide range of poetic registers, so does he use a wide range of images of the Virgin – early images as well as images drawn from the vernacular versions. Enjoy!” —Leonardo Chiarantini

Watch or listen to the video of “Paradiso 23: Preview of the Finale” here.

Canto per Canto: Conversations with Dante in Our Time is a collaborative initiative between New York University’s Department of Italian Studies and Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, and the Dante Society of America. The aim is to produce podcast conversations about all 100 cantos of the Divine Comedy, to be completed within the seventh centenary of Dante’s death in 2021.

Robert Macfarlane’s Landmarks and Books About Walking

“It’s also a book about walking. Macfarlane is nothing if not boots on ground, following one path or another as he hoofs it from orchard to cottage to inn to pub, talking to the people who know the land best, the ones who live and work on it. Of course, he is not the first person to connect walking with writing. The first writers didn’t have any choice. Before cars and trains and airplanes, they could choose economy travel (by foot) or business class (via mule or horse); only the well-off could travel in first class (coach). Not that walking is a bad thing for a writer: ‘My wit will not budge if my legs are not moving,’ writes Montaigne.

Keats often walked as many as 12 miles a day, even when his consumption was raging. Dickens trod the streets of London all night ‘to still my beating mind,’ as he said. And before the Dante of the Divine Comedy legged it through the Inferno on his way to Purgatory and Paradise, the real-life Dante Alighieri wandered for years after his exile from Florence, crossing swamps where one might sicken and die in hours and following roads that gave way to paths dense with briars and thick with trees hiding thieves.”    –David Kirby, The Smart Set, August 10, 2020

Check out Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane on Amazon here.

“The Most Harrowing Paintings of Hell Inspired by Dante’s Inferno

“Dante Alighieri’s depiction of the afterlife has inspired generations of readers since the Divine Comedy was first published in 1472. In the 14,233 verses of this poem, Dante envisions a trip to the afterlife, guided first by the Roman poet Virgil, who leads him through Hell and Purgatory, and then by his beloved Beatrice, who leads him through Paradise. His detail-rich descriptions of Hell, envisioned as nine concentric circles containing souls of those “who have rejected spiritual values by yielding to bestial appetites or violence, or by perverting their human intellect to fraud or malice against their fellowmen,” have inspired artists for the last five centuries. Here are some of the most poignant visualizations of Dante’s Inferno.

[. . .]

Stradanus, Canto VIII (1587-1588)

Flemish painter Jan van der Straet, known by his Italian name ‘Stradanus,’ completed a series of illustrations of the Divine Comedy between 1587 and 1588, currently preserved at the Laurentian Library in Florence. This illustration refers to Canto VIII, where the wrathful and slothful are punished. Stradanus combines elements of Italian Mannerism, such as painstaking attention to detail, with distinctive Flemish traits like the physiognomy of the demonic figure steering Dante’s boat, who shows a deeply harrowing expression.”    –V. M. Traverso, Aleteia, July 17, 2020

Dante’s Hell

“Soon, the world will be able to see an extraordinary film based on Dante Alighieri’s literary masterpiece, the Divine Comedy – Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise.  Dante’s Hell is the first slate of a vibrant and historic documentary trilogy, which could be the blockbuster of the year.  Not until now, has this story been told so descriptively by visual art from artists of the highest caliber and an array of celebrities and known scholars.

Dante’s Hell, produced and directed by Boris Acosta, is a compelling four-quadrant and spectacular documentary like no other, presented as a visual and narrative journey to InfernoDante’s Hell is a rare and unique film featuring an amazing international cast such as Eric Roberts and Franco Nero, among more than 30 celebrities, scholars and artists from Italy, US, UK, including Monsignor Marco Frisina from The Vatican.”    —