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

Dante for fun, Illustrated Children’s Books

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“When we got to the gift-shop, we discovered an improbable set of children’s picture books that retell Dante for young people: it’s called Dante for fun and it comes in three volumes (naturally): Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise.”    –Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing, February 18, 2014

Contributed by Gabrielle E. Orsi, Ph.D.

Illustrations by Mattotti, Glaser, and Moebius (1999)

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In 1999, Nuages Gallery in Milan published these three illustrated editions of Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. See Nuages to learn more about the illustrators (Lorenzo Mattotti, Milton Glaser, and Moebius) and the project as a whole.

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

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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.

Dan T’s Inferno Hot Sauces

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“Dishes from Downunder… and we don’t mean Australia”    —Dan Ts

dan-ts-paradiso-orange-chipotle-sauce dan-ts-inferno-sauce dan-ts-paradiso-raspberry-sauce
“It began as a flicker in the eye of culinary adventurer and graphic designer Dan Taylor when he decided to get serious about a sauce recipe he’d concocted while he was in university. The sauce for chicken wings quickly became a great hit with friends and family. With the dawning knowledge that the recipe was more than just a wing sauce, Dan T’s Inferno Spiced Cayenne Sauce was born.
The name is a saucy play on Dante’s Inferno, the first book of the 13th century poem The Divine Comedy, which describes the poet Dante’s allegoric descent into hell.”    —Dant Ts

Contributed by Sally Ahlquist (Luther College, ’11) and Luisa Burnham (Middlebury College)

Musea/Colossus Project: “Dante’s Divine Comedy” Parts I, II, III (2009-2010)

“Musea’s collaboration with Finnish Colossus Society has been fruitful in these last years, and the newest release is the most ambitious so far: a 4 cd set, with a comprehensive booklet, featuring 34 bands to address the 34 cantos of the “Inferno” part of the legendary 14th century epic poem ‘The Divine Comedy’ by Dante Alighieri (Purgatory and Paradise will be the concept of future releases, in order to complete the trilogy).
With such an amount of bands coming from different grounds within the progressive aesthetics, it is only natural that the conducting line is only maintained by the story and by the usage of vintage instruments (moog, mellotron, etc) which are common to all the guest bands. In part, and besides the fact that this approach secures a wide array of styles and different musical perspectives, it is also true that it makes the album not being as cohesive and focused as the Epic Poem that muses it would deserve. But hey! There are 4hours+ of pure “regressive” symphonic rock to fully enjoy!”    –Nuno, Proggnosis

Click album covers below to see track titles and credits:

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“Paradiso e Inferno” Restaurant in London

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Photo contributed by Ben Le Hay (Bowdoin, ’08)

“Fa come natura fece in foco”: Glassworks Exhibit at the Venice Biennale

padiglione-vezenia-biennale“In 1972, glass ceased to have its own section at the Venice Biennale, when the inclusion of what were considered ‘decorative arts’ was abandoned. But at this year’s event, glass has made a comeback in two separate shows: ‘Glasstress,’ an official parallel exhibition at Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti on the Grand Canal, and ‘Fa come natura fece in foco,’ which borrows a line from Dante’s Divine Comedy (‘Do as nature does in the flame’) [Paradiso IV, 59] to evoke the fiery glass furnaces of Murano, at the Padiglione Venezia in the Biennale’s Castello Gardens (both until Nov. 22).” [. . .]    –Roderick Conway Morris, The New York Times, August 7, 2009

Metamorfosi, “Inferno” (1972) and “Paradiso (2004)

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This Italian progressive rock band released “Inferno” in 1972 and, 32 years later, “Paradiso.” The album tracks correspond with Dante’s journey through the afterlife, although in some cases the musicians did alter some of the sins punished in hell.