“Michael Hersch’s ‘a breath upwards’ Receives Baltimore Premiere”

“Scored for soprano, horn, clarinet, and viola, ‘a breath upwards’ has a sung text drawn from Dante — mostly Purgatorio, with some Inferno at the end — and another, un-sung text drawn from Ezra Pound’s Cantos. The fragmentary Pound lines are meant to be contemplated during four instrumental interludes in the 12-movement cycle.

[. . .]

This score, Hersch wrote in a program note printed in Thursday’s program, was his effort ‘to get away from illness, fear and loss,’ that he turned to parts of Dante’s epic poem about purgatory and hell might not seem the most logical way of going about this attitude shift, but it’s a perfectly natural choice for the deep-thinking Hersch.

[. . .]

The most extraordinary and moving passage was the final song, when the dark mood lifted just enough, leading to a long, beautiful melodic arc for the singer in the final line: ‘And then we emerged to see the stars again.’ The sudden cut-off at the end of that line — like the way a falling star evaporates in an instant — was a master stroke.”    –Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun, April 24, 2015

The Swoon, Neverland/ben son ben son Beatrice (1990 album)

Christian rock band The Swoon released an EP in 1990 titled Neverland/ben son ben son Beatrice. Click the image of the album cover to listen to one of the tracks, “Via Dolorosa,” on YouTube. An image of the track list, as printed on the CD, is below (image from Amazon.com).

Read a 1991 review of the album in Hope College’s student newspaper The anchor, here.

Florencia Gutman’s Artwork for Purgatorio 33

Florencia Gutman is an illustrator and graphic designer based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her work has been published in a number of outlets, such as La Nación newspaper, Adn Cultura, and Anfibia digital magazine, among numerous others. As part of the #Dante2018 social media movement, Gutman created the above illustration for Purgatorio 33.

To check out more of Gutman’s stunning work, you can follow her on Facebook, Behance, and you can visit her website.

See other posts related to #Dante2018 here.

Contributed by Pablo Maurette (Florida State University)

Esteban Serrano’s #Dante2018 Illustrations

Esteban Serrano is a designer and cartoonist, and also goes by Cien Perros online. During the #Dante2018 collective reading on social media, Serrano created a cartoon for each canto of the Divine Comedy. The artwork above are a few of Serrano’s illustrations. Clockwise from the top right is an illustration for Paradiso 26,  an illustration for Purgatorio 29, an illustration for Inferno 34, and an illustration for Inferno 24.

You can see all of Serrano’s illustrations for the Divine Comedy on Medium.

To check out more of Serrano’s artwork, you can follow him on Instagram and Twitter.

See other posts related to #Dante2018 here.

Contributed by Pablo Maurette (Florida State University)

Maru Ceballos’ #Dante2018 Illustrations

Maru Ceballos is a visual artist known for her striking, inky, horror style. During the #Dante2018 social media initiative, Ceballos created a variety of pieces based on the Divine Comedy, and her work was used as promotional art by Museo Mitre for the exhibition “Los círculos del Dante.” Pictured above are a few of her pieces from this series. Clockwise from the top right is an illustration for Paradiso, an illustration for Purgatorio, a portrait of Dante, and an illustration for Inferno.

Maru Ceballos, autora/ilustradora de los libros Los Idiotas y Muertos de Amor y de Miedo es diseñadora gráfica y desde hace un par de años ha trabajado sobre la Divina Comedia ilustrándola. ‘Si bien lo había intentado hace mucho, no lo había leído antes,’ confiesa Maru que arrancó con una edición en verso que después perdió, pero no fue hasta hace un par de años que retomó su lectura, esta vez con una edición en prosa. ‘Fue así que agarré el libro y empecé a leer. Pero no lo hice en función de ilustrarlo. En realidad me dieron ganas de ilustrarlo cuando lo empecé a leer. Me rompió tanto la cabeza el manejo de imágenes visuales que tiene el Dante que empecé a hacer esquemas, porque la obra es larga, compleja y muy simbólica. Cuando avancé en la lectura me di cuenta que ameritaba una ilustración más conciente y empecé de cero, prestando atención a los simbolismos.'” — Interview with Barbi Couto, “La Divina Comedia, un libro para descubrir y descubrirse,” La nueva Mañana (July 3, 2018)

To view more of Maru Ceballos’ artwork, you can follow her on VSCO, Instagram, and Twitter.

Relatedly, you can read an interview with Maru Ceballos here.

See other posts related to #Dante2018 here.

Contributed by Pablo Maurette (Florida State University)

Bárbara Pistoia’s Illustration for Purgatorio 33

Bárbara Pistoia is a visual artist and essayist. Her work has appeared in the anthologies Ensayos x la identidad (2007), and Matar al macho (2019), and in 2017 published Dinosaurios, a book of illustration. As part of the #Dante2018 social media movement, Pistoia created the above art of Dante and Beatrice for Canto 33 of Purgatorio.

To see of more of Pistoia’s work, you can follow her on Twitter and on her blog.  Additionally, Pistoia coordinates Hiiipower Club, an online space dedicated to hip hop culture and black artists.

See other posts related to #Dante2018 here.

Contributed by Pablo Maurette (Florida State University)

Alfredo Jaar, “The Divine Comedy” (2019)

“A new tunnel, named Siloam, is an AUD$27M (£15m) underground extension to David Walsh’s privately owned MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) in Hobart, Tasmania. The complex of chambers, gallery spaces and connecting tunnels of Siloam feature works by Ai Weiwei, Oliver Beer and Christopher Townend but the centrepiece is a new commission by Alfredo Jaar.

Jaar’s immersive installation The Divine Comedy (2019), is a three-room installation based on Dante’s The Divine Comedy: Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso. Visitors enter—ten at a time—into three pavilions interpreting each of the realms of the 14th-century epic poem. They will encounter fire and flood in Inferno; hover between life and death with a film by the US artist Joan Jonas in Purgatorio; and, finally, simply exist in the sensory void of Paradiso.”    –Tim Stone, The Art Newspaper, July 18, 2019

What Rod Dreher Ought to Know About Dante and Same-Sex Love

“Dante saved my life,” testifies Rod Dreher, senior editor and blogger at The American Conservative, in his recent book, How Dante Can Save Your Life (Simon & Schuster, 2015) about how the poet’s Divine Comedy can save yours as well. His soul-baring account of how Dante Alighieri and two other spiritual guides — a Christian Orthodox priest and an evangelical therapist –helped him escape a dark wood of stress-induced depression and physical illness is smart, moving, and thoroughly engaging. Dreher’s Dante, like Virgil in the poem, does the lion’s share of the guiding, and so earns top billing and occupies most of the narrative’s prime real estate. In showing how the poem brought deeper understanding of himself and his relationships with his father, sister, and God, and in sharing the substance of those life lessons with readers (mostly in appendices to the chapters), the author does not disappoint.

“For those of us who have studied, taught, and written on Dante’s works and their legacy over many years, Dreher’s understanding and use of the Commedia will undoubtedly raise legitimate doubts and objections. However, I found myself more often than not nodding in recognition at his deft discussion of characters, scenes, and themes of the poem. Most of his sharpest points pierce the surface of famous inhabitants of Hell — amorous Francesca, proud Farinata, worldly Brunetto, and megalomaniacal Ulysses are among the highlights; oddly for a book on rescuing lives and souls, he devotes fewer words to the saved individuals in Purgatory and Paradise.” […]    –Guy P. Raffa, Pop Matters, January 21, 2016

The Social Network of Dante’s Inferno

“The first product coming out from this crazy idea was “The Social Network of Dante’s Inferno“, presented in the 2010 edition of the “Arts, Humanities and Complex Networks” symposium of NetSci and then published in a 2011 special issue of the Leonardo journal. In this work we were moved by the question: is a network of characters following some particular predictive patterns? If so: which ones?

“So we took a digital copy of Dante’s Inferno, where all interactions and characters were annotated with extra information (who the character was, if she was a historic or mythological figure, when she lived, …). We then considered each character as a node of the network. We created an edge between two characters if they had at least a direct exchange of words. Normal people would call this “a dialogue”.

“The double-focus point of the Commedia emerges quite naturally, as Dante and Virgilio are the so-called “hubs” of the system. It is a nice textbook example of the rich-get-richer effect, a classic network result. But contrary to what the title of the paper says, we went beyond that. There are not only “social” relationships. Each character is also connected to all the information we have about her. There is another layer, a semantic one, where we have nodes such as “Guelph” or “Middle Ages”. These nodes enable us to browse the Commedia as a network of concepts that Dante wanted to connect in one way or another. One can ask some questions like “are Ghibelline characters preferably connected to historic or mythological characters?” or “what’s the centrality of political characters in the Inferno as opposed to the Purgatorio?” and create one’s own interpretation of the Commedia.” […]    Michele Coscia, Michele Coscia, 12 December, 2013

Dante’s Psychological Comedy

[…] “My own background is in psychoanalysis, and I have recently translated the Purgatorio in an attempt to get as close as possible to the actual movement of Dante’s thought. It is “a psychology” in a certain sense, but not a precursor of the modern science. It differs from what we think of as science in at least two respects…”

D.M. Black, Los Angeles Review of Books, July 7, 2019