Dante Murals at Saint Mary’s College, California

St-Marys-College-California-Dante-Murals-Inferno-Ellen-Silva

In 2006, artists Susan Cervantes and Ellen Silva collaborated on a series of Dante-themed murals for the walls of Dante Hall, at Saint Mary’s College of California.

“The powerful imagery of Dante’s Divine Comedy is leaping off the page and onto the walls of Dante Hall, where artists are transforming the drab first-floor corridor with colorful murals of Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso.

Beatrice-Dante-Mural-SMC-California-Ellen-Silva

“Shawny Anderson, associate dean of the School of Liberal Arts, proposed the project in 2005 for a class which never came to be, but the idea resonated with the school’s leaders.

“‘I always thought that the halls of the College should ‘sing’ of the authors they honor,’ Anderson says.” –Debra Holtz, “Visualizing Dante,” St. Mary’s College of California News

See Ellen Silva’s page here.

Dante nello spazio: Samantha Cristoforetti reads Paradiso from the International Space Station

In celebration of the 750th anniversary of Dante’s birth, Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti read from the first canto of Paradiso in a transmission aired from the International Space Station. The reading was aired at the Odeon Cinema in Florence on April 24, 2015.

Watch the transmission on YouTube here.

Read coverage from the Corriere fiorentino here.

Samantha-Cristoforetti-Legge-Dante-Spazio-Paradiso

The Virtual Memories Show: Prue Shaw on Time, Memory, Friendship, Poetry, & Art

Reading DanteThe Virtual Memories Show is a weekly podcast featuring interviews by Gil Roth. In Episode 111 of Virtual Memories, scholar and writer Prue Shaw discusses her book, Reading Dante: From Here to Eternity.

“We talk about our favorite parts of the Dante’s Commedia, the poem’s transformation for her over the decades, Dante’s challenge of expressing the inexpressible (especially in Paradiso), the fate of Jews in Dante’s afterworld, and the reasons why we all — poets and non-poets, believers and non-believers — should be reading Dante. [. . .]

We also talk about readers’ reticence toward starting the Commedia, why the Paradiso is the most difficult of the three books, the strange role of Ulysses in the poem, Dante’s ‘mercy rule,’ why she chose the structure and themes for Reading Dante, the perfect epigraph to her book, which she discovered too late for inclusion, and why I need to get to the Uffizi!”    —The Virtual Memories Show

Listen to the podcast here.

“Let it Go,” Dante’s Inferno Version (2014)

Let it Go

As part of a short film, “Chauncy Cobra and the Writing on the Wall,” students wrote and performed a parody of “Let it Go” from Disney’s Frozen. In the song, Dante laments his time spent in Hell, begging Beatrice, “Let me go!”

Watch the music video here.

 

Contributed by Mary Margaret Blum (Gettysburg College, ’18)

Church of Saints Peter and Paul, North Beach

Church of Sts Peter and Paul

In North Beach, San Francisco, the Church of Saints Peter and Paul has the first line of Paradiso running across its facade:

“La gloria di colui che tutto muove per l’universo penetra e risplende.”

Marcello Toninelli’s Dante: La Divina Commedia a Fumetti (2007)

Toninelli's DanteMarcello Toninelli, Italian cartoonist, published a comic-strip version of The Divine Comedy beginning in 2007.

“Così il fiorentino Alighieri raccontava il suo viaggio all’Inferno, ma è risaputo che… faceva la Commedia! Il senese Marcello la racconta in un altro modo, decisamente più divertente. Nell’Oltretomba nato dalla sua irriverente matita Omero gioca a mosca cieca, Cerbero mangia alla mensa diavoli e Virgilio fa, suo malgrado… il parafulmine! Seguendo rispettosamente il tracciato dell’opera originale ma occhieggiando continuamente al nostro presente, con quest’opera Marcello ha realizzato la più completa, esilarante e irresistibile parodia del capolavoro dantesco.”    —Amazon.it

Click here to visit Toninelli’s blog, “Io e Dante”.

Contributed by Angela Lavecchia

SAWTOOTH Dancers’ Ombra

Dance company SAWTOOTH performs a Dante-inspired piece, Ombra, at Dixon Place in Chelsea, NY, on July 24, 2014.

SAWTOOTH Dancers“Inspired by Dante’s Paradiso and Plato’s Cave, Ombra is a multimedia dance performance embedded within a dance party. Drawing in part from a hypnotic, Butoh-inspired physicality, the dance performance emerges as episodic dreamscapes within a clubbing experience and a live cabaret. Sound artist Michael Feld orchestrates an eclectic sound score that moves between live percussion, electronic sound art, and 90s dance hits.

“Ombra asserts that liberation is created, not revealed. With humor, Ombra (Italian for ‘shadow’) is a piece that hopes to offer a re-evaluation of the dark, and it seeks to relocate the site of true human ascendance within the shadows and the shadows we make.”    —Dixon Place

To read about SAWTOOTH, click here.

To read about Dixon Place, click here.

Francesco Gungui, Canti delle Terre Divise (2014)

canti-delle-terre-divise

Canti delle Terre Divise

Italian author Francesco Gungui completed the Canti delle Terre Divise trilogy this year: Inferno (2103), Purgatorio, and Paradiso (2014). Gungui’s young adult novels tell the story of Alec and Maj, two teenagers living in a dystopic city that resembles the landscape of The Divine ComedyGungui, a Milan native, is a popular young adult writer in Italy. The Canti delle Terre Divise series is his most recent work.

“Se sei nato a Europa, la grande città nazione del prossimo futuro, hai due sole possibilità: arrangiarti con lavori rischiosi o umili, oppure riuscire a trovare un impiego a Paradiso, la zona dove i ricchi vivono nel lusso più sfrenato e possono godere di una natura incontaminata. Ma se rubi o uccidi o solo metti in discussione l’autorità, quello che ti aspetta è la prigione definitiva, che sorge su un’isola vulcanica lontana dal mondo civile: Inferno.

“Costruita in modo da ricalcare l’inferno che Dante ha immaginato nella Divina Commedia, qui ogni reato ha il suo contrappasso. Piogge di fuoco, fiumi di lava, gelo, animali mostruosi rendono la vita difficile ai prigionieri che spesso muoiono prima di terminare la pena. Nessuno sceglierebbe di andare volontariamente a Inferno, tranne Alec, un giovane cresciuto nella parte sbagliata del mondo, quando scopre che la ragazza che ama, Maj, vi è stata mandata con una falsa accusa. Alec dovrà compiere l’impresa mai riuscita a nessuno, quella di scappare con lei dall’Inferno, combattendo per sopravvivere prima che chi ha complottato per uccidere entrambi riesca a trovarli…

“Il primo romanzo di una trilogia fantasy di grandissima potenza, scritta da uno degli autori italiani young adult più amati.”    —Amazon

Preserving Mont Saint-Michel

 

mont-saint-michel-smithsonian-image-divine-comedyIn some ways, the trip to the top offers a modern version of the medieval journey through life—a kind of Divine Comedy. The way up is demanding: One must pass through the tourist hell of the town below and make one’s way up the increasingly steep ascent to the abbey, where many must pause to catch their breath after one or other of a seemingly infinite set of stairs. As one ascends, the crowd thins, discouraged by the demanding climb, the lack of shops and cafés, or simply held in thrall by the distractions below. Suddenly, as one approaches the top, the views open up—the horizon widens; one can see the immense and gorgeous bay; the sand and water glisten in the sun. There is quiet other than the occasional cries of seabirds.”   –Alexander Stille, “The Massive and Controversial Attempt to Preserve One of the World’s Most Iconic Islands,” Smithsonian Magazine, May 20, 2014

Brigid Pasulka, Sun and Other Stars (2014)

brigid-pasulka-sun-and-other-starsIn his Sunday Book Review of Brigid Pasulka’s novel The Sun and Other Stars, Mike Peed describes the main character Etto: “. . . Etto tries to numb his pain with sarcasm and self-effacement. He is misanthropic and fatalistic, frequently funny and sometimes annoying. He explains himself by quoting Dante: ‘I found myself in a dark wilderness.’ Who will be his Virgil? Yuri Fil, a Ukrainian-born Italian soccer star ensnared in a match-fixing scandal who has absconded to San Benedetto’s supposed seclusion, inveigles Etto into playing regular pickup games and even fashions him a green-and-white jersey, ‘for hope and faith. When you do not have ability.'”    –Mike Peed, The New York Times, March 21, 2014