Stefano Jossa, “Dante e Pinocchio, Fratelli d’Italia” (June 5, 2021)

“Quando una democrazia è debole ricorre ai simboli che unificano: simboli spossessati di qualsiasi rapporto con la realtà e funzionali alla rappresentazione di una comunità ideale. Servono, questi simboli, a eliminare i conflitti e favorire l’armonia: che è fittizia, naturalmente, perché una società moderna, democratica e funzionante si dovrebbe fondare sulla differenza anziché sull’omologazione, tranne nei casi in cui l’uniformità venga costruita a forza, com’è avvenuto storicamente, ahinoi, con i regimi totalitari. Nel caso italiano il simbolo unificante per eccellenza è Dante, cui è stato ora dedicato un giorno memoriale, il Dantedì, che si è celebrato il 25 marzo con grande clamore di iniziative, pagine giornalistiche, invenzioni figurative, riedizioni, letture e video: basta aprire i siti dei principali quotidiani italiani per trovare interviste ai discendenti di Dante, viaggi nell’Italia di Dante, sproloqui sul padre della patria e il padre della lingua, inviti alla coerenza e all’impegno, ecc. ecc.

“Dante onnipresente, vera e propria icona pop, che va dalle canzoni di Gianna Nannini su Pia de’ Tolomei e Caparezza su Filippo Argenti fino agli oli di Guy Denning e i graffiti di Kobra: un Dante dappertutto, sorprendentemente simile a quel Dante monumento che segnò la topografia italiana tra il Risorgimento e il Fascismo, quando sorsero piazze Dante, con monumenti a Dante, in tutta Italia, col culmine simbolico in quella piazza Dante a Napoli che segna l’identità tra Dante e l’Italia nelle parole di chi la promosse, spostandone definitivamente la ricezione dall’universo letterario a quello patriottico: se «Dante a Firenze è un grand’uomo», «Dante a Napoli raffigura l’ingegno, il sapere, le sventure, le glorie, le fatiche, le speranze e tutta la vita dell’intero Popolo Italiano».” [. . .]   –Stefano Jossa, “Dante e Pinocchio, fratelli d’Italia,” Doppio Zero (June 5, 2021)

“Defascistizzare Dante”

“[. . .] Per questo motivo, la storia di come nel nuovo millennio la poesia di Dante si possa trovare ad adornare uno studio medico di Roma Nord fianco a fianco a due manifesti di propaganda fascista è anche un po’ la storia irrisolta dell’Italia fascista e della sua defascistizzazione mancata. Il presente articolo, scritto nel settecentenario della morte del poeta e a quasi un secolo dalla marcia su Roma, racconta questa storia. È proprio in occasione dei festeggiamenti nazionali del centenario e del Dantedì, istituito per decreto e celebrato con retorica nazionalista che Antonio Montefusco ha analizzato sulle pagine di Jacobin Italia, che occorre riflettere sull’uso che si è fatto della figura di Dante, più che della sua poesia, nella storia d’Italia; e su come questo uso e questa storia siano ancora oggi intimamente compromessi col fascismo.” [. . .]   –Nicolò Crisafi, “Defascistizzare Dante,” Jacobin Italia, June 2, 2021

Trump and his Enablers belong in Dante’s 9th Circle of Hell

each-betrayal-begins-with-trust-martin-luther“If Dante’s deepest circle of Hell did exist, it would be reserved for Trump and his enablers. It would be reserved for those who betrayed our country and this beautiful blue world for profit. It would be reserved for those who allowed a pandemic to take tens of thousands of lives and affect millions. It would be reserved for those who are silent about the bounties placed on our active duty troops’ heads, who disparage our military, intelligence agencies, our scientists, and health care professionals. It would be reserved for those who place all that we love in danger.

“It would be reserved for those who supposedly care for us, but expect silence about their support of Trump or of those who support him.

“The list of betrayals in my life is long and old.” []    –Onomastic, Daily Kos, September 15, 2020

William Barr’s Circle of Hell

bill-barr

[. . .] “There are circles of hell for men such as Trump, and also for their enablers. For people who ought to know better but who go along with the inane, violent, crooked impulses of The Boss for reasons of political expediency. Barr is one such man.

“Dante reserved an entire section of hell for opportunists. Such people would, he wrote, be condemned to chase banners, and in turn to be chased by hornets and wasps, for all eternity.

“And this blind life of theirs is so debased,
They envious are of every other fate.
No fame of them the world permits to be;
Misericord and Justice both disdain them.”    –Sasha Abramsky, The Abramsky Report, April 27, 2019

India’s Covid Wards are Like Scenes From Dante’s Inferno

covid19-patients-in-india

“Ward rounds are now scenes from Dante’s Inferno. Row upon row of patients waging a desperate struggle to breathe, their cries for help often falling on deaf ears as overworked medical staff struggle just to keep going.” [. . .]    –Zarir Udwadia, The Financial Times, April 29, 2021

Florence hosts ‘re-trial’ of Dante

“Is justice delayed justice denied, or is it a case of better late than never? The poet Dante, author of the Divine Comedy, is being given a re-trial designed to posthumously clear his name.” []    —Deutsche Welle, May 21, 2021

COVID-19: Indians Going Through Nine Circles of Hell

“Akin to how characters in Dante’s poem paid for their sins in hell, Indians are paying with their lives during a pandemic for electing a government that is utterly incompetent and bigoted. [. . .]

“Dante and his imaginary guide Virgil were travelling through nine circles of hell on their way to heaven. Hell was used as a metaphor for human suffering for sins committed on earth. Although the punishment was severe, Dante’s poem portrayed them as fair and proportionate to the sins committed. The sufferings in India are not imaginary, but real, taking place while people are still alive, and most importantly, whatever their sins are, the fairness and proportionately of the punishments are definitely questionable. Yet the reference is fair and this column is designed to explain why.

“India is now in the proverbial ‘Ante-Inferno’ with a clear inscription written all over her, ‘Abandon all hope, you who enter here.’ India is now the case study of ‘what not to do’ in a pandemic, thanks to the conceit, egotism, and self-approbation of the Modi government.” [. . .]    –Debasish Chakraborty, The Wire, May 20, 2021

Liam Ó Broin’s Commedia Lithographs (2021)

Inferno-17-Usurers-Liam-O-Broin-Lithographs

Irish printmaker Liam Ó Broin completed a series of 100 lithographs based on Dante’s Commedia in honor of the 700th anniversary of the poet’s death in 2021. The lithographs are currently available to view in an online exhibit sponsored by the Centre for Dante Studies in Ireland (CDSI).

“Dante’s search on his journey was to go to the depths of the human imagination. In that journey he reveals himself as one who has a deep understanding of the nature, and importantly, the necessity of the human scheme of community. He also reveals, however flawed the mechanism from a political aspect was at the time, a very clear understanding of the way a city state, and by extension a nation, needs to be structured as an entity for good government – its core must be social justice. Here we have Dante the poet, Christian, philosopher and politician – fused into one.”   –From the Artist’s Statement.

Read more about Liam Ó Broin’s career at the artist’s personal website.

View our previous post on Ó Broin’s 2012 Inferno exhibition at Graphic Studio (Dublin) here.

We extend our great thanks to the artist for permission to reprint the image above.

Dantedì and the Italian Migrant Crisis

Getty-images-unidentified-migrant-tombs-Lampedusa

“Among supporters for the Dante day is Italy’s minister for foreign affairs Enzo Moavero Milanesi, who recently expressed his enthusiasm for the project in an article penned for Corriere. ‘Dante is fully and pervasively part of the genetic code of what it is to be Italian,’ Moavero Milanesi wrote. Given that Dante’s poem is heavily Catholic, and shows Prophet Mohammed split in half by a demon for ‘sowing schism,’ conflating Dante with modern Italian culture reflects ideas that are outdated – and nationalistic.

“This uncritical celebration of the past diverts attention from the dark conditions on Italy’s shores. While Dante’s pilgrim makes an arduous but enlightening journey towards paradise in order to escape the inferno, Moavero Milanesi and Salvini would prefer that the migrants remain in limbo. Rather than supporting their assimilation, Moavero Milanesi has laid out a plan that advises migrants against attempting the crossing. [. . .]   –Emma Leech, “A campaign to commemorate Dante distracts from a crisis on Italy’s coastline,” The New Statesman (July 30, 2019)

Vasuki Shastry, Asia’s 8 Circles of Hell

“Inspired by Dante’s Inferno, Shastry takes readers on a journey through modern Asia’s eight circles of hell where we encounter urban cowboys and cowgirls fleeing rural areas to live in increasingly uninhabitable cities, disadvantaged teenage girls unable to meet their aspirations due to social strictures, internal mutiny, messy geopolitics from the rise of China, and a political and business class whose interests are in conflict with a majority of the population. Shastry challenges conventional thinking about Asia’s place in the world and the book is essential reading for those with an interest in the continent’s future.”    –From the book description, Amazon