Dante’s Treachery: Bass Library

“If you are ever wondering what the absolute bottom of hell is like, step no farther than (B)ass Library. This tri-level torture chamber has everything: sleep-deprived students, crying teens, those who have brought their entire desktop computers just to play Fortnite, some old people, the occasional free doughnut and self-centered students taking up an entire four-person table. Don’t pretend you’re not a little curious about all the sad, eye-bagged Yalies who look like they’d rather be literally set on fire than trudging down those steps into the dark abyss. Behold: a multilayer, cubicle-filled hell of self-inflicted punishment and internal damnation that you’re doomed to revisit even after you swear it’s too “scene-y” during your first semester of the year. Welcome to Bass.

“When you walk into the library, you’ll first find yourself in Bass Cafe. Consider this your purgatory. Here, you’ll find round tables with obnoxious clubs trying to harass you as you’re on your way to study and people sitting there solely looking to be seen “studying” with just a laptop out — they’re probably watching Netflix or copying down the most recent economics problem set. Once you enter the library, you’ll see the first layer of this hell. This level feels slightly less terrible than the other pits because it has the suggestion of sunlight. But don’t be fooled; before you hit the steps down into the lower levels, look to your right and you will see roughly six to 14 people completely knocked out in uncomfortable chairs, each in pretzel-like positions having tried but given up on ever making it back outside.” […]    –Lindsay Jost, Yale Daily News, October 25, 2018

The Tenth Circle: College Applications

“Not even one quarter through my life, I lost my way in a dark bedroom. The only illumination was the pale glow of the Common App website. This is a godless place. I switched from the Common App to Netflix and sulked.

“Distressed and lonely, I cried out, ‘SCREW COLLEGE! SOMEBODY HELP ME!’ and at that moment, a shade appeared in the doorway.

“’O hey dood,’ said the great poet Marsalis AdrianoHe still wore his backpack and his face sported a smarmy grin that was still somewhat inviting. Perhaps it was just the light from my monitor playing off his mochaccino skin, but I felt I could trust him.

“’Hey wanna go to hell dood? It’s right down there,’ he pointed towards the door, ‘might be cool to put on your college app.’

“As I had nothing better to do, I decided to oblige the great mystic in my bedroom, after all, Netflix only distracted me for so long.

“He led me out the door to a platform where, just beyond the edge, was a great black chasm. The jagged edges of the chasm were decorated with graduation caps with the tassels torn off and old forgotten football helmets of formerly glorious players. Marsalis looked to me and shrugged a quick shrug, pursed his lips, and raised his eyebrows skyward. He motioned me to the edge of the platform, where a seemingly endless flight of stairs led into the pit.” [. . .]    -Cole Murphy’s writing, posted by Elliot Quartz, The Current, January 21, 2015.

Continue reading Cole’s perilous journey applying to colleges at The Current, Malibu High School’s Student Newspaper.

You can read more posts by Elliot Quartz here.

Nine Circles of Columbia Hell

Artwork by Charlotte Voelkel/Head Spectrum Illustrator, Columbia Daily Spectator, March 30, 2016

Campus Circles of Hell (University of Chicago)

“Third Circle (Gluttony): The Coffee Station

You stare at the dispenser with reluctance, but the tiredness and headaches you’ll avoid by pouring yourself a cup demand that make you fill it. Oh, how you wish to sip coffee that’s, for lack of a better word, remotely palatable. Knowing that despite the bitterness, this coffee isn’t the strongest of brews, you get cup after cup . The make-you-have-to-pee effects of caffeine aren’t helped by the sheer amount of liquid you’re drinking or all the sugar you put in it (looking at you, frappucinos, as delicious as you may be) to make it bearable. palatable, Alas, and you do have to go to class at a certain point, so you jitter your way out of the dining hall.” [. . .]    –Nico Aldape and Teddy Zamborsky, Chicago Shady Dealer, May 14, 2016.

You can read the full list of the UChicago Circles of Hell on Chicago Shady Dealer.

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 at UVA

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This bust of Dante watches over a University of Virginia library.

Sympathy for the Devil: Satan, Sin, and the Underworld

Witkin, The Devil as TailorStanford University’s Cantor Arts Center is running an exhibit focused on the tradition of portraying Hell and the Devil in art, titled “Sympathy for the Devil: Satan, Sin, and the Underworld“. It explores the way the concept of the Devil has changed throughout the Western canon; we can think about how Dante’s silent Satan in frozen Hell fits into the story.

The exhibit’s description reads:

“The Cantor has Rodin’s famous masterwork the Gates of Hell. As Jackson Pollock’s important painting Lucifer comes to Stanford as part of the Anderson Collection, it is interesting to explore the visual history of the Devil and his realm. Also known as Satan, Lucifer, Mephistopheles, etc., the Devil and Hell itself are only briefly mentioned in the Bible; yet this source inspired artists.

“During the period from about 1500 to 1900, the Devil evolved from the bestial adversary of Christ to a rebellious, romantic hero or shrewd villain. In the 20th century this long tradition of graphic representation largely disappeared, as Hell came to be seen as an aspect of this world and its denizens as ‘other people.’ 

“Based upon the collections at Stanford and augmented by several loans, this exhibition traces the dominant Western tradition over approximately four centuries. A variety of prints, drawings, sculpture, and paintings— including works by Albrecht Dürer, Hendrick Goltzius, Jacques Callot, Gustav Doré, Max Beckmann, and Jerome Witkin—reveal how artists visualized Satan and his infernal realm and draw inspiration from religious sources and accounts by Homer, Dante, Virgil, and Milton.”

The exhibit runs from August 20th, 2014, until December 1st, 2014, and is open to the public.

Dante Digitized: Debates in the Digital Humanities, ed. Matthew Gold (2012)

Debates“From defining what a digital humanist is and determining whether the field has (or needs) theoretical grounding, to discussions of coding as scholarship and trends in data-driven research, this cutting-edge volume delineates the current state of the digital humanities and envisions potential futures and challenges.” [ . . . ] — DH Debates Website

For more information about the volume and the 2013 open-access edition, click here.

Was Dante Narcoleptic?

was-dante-narcoleptic“According to a study published this week by Giuseppe Plazzi of the University of Bologna’s Sleep Laboratory, Dante may have been narcoleptic: a sufferer from the neurological disorder that, among other symptoms, causes people to drift off suddenly at all times of day.” [. . .]    –Sarah Bakewell, “If Dante was a narcoleptic, why should it matter?” The Guardian, September 27, 2013

“Dante Now!”: Notre Dame students perform the Divine Comedy

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Students in the Italian program at the University of Notre Dame stage public readings of the Divine Comedy across campus (fall 2012).

“Organizers said the event was meant to bring the ‘vibrant immediacy’ of The Divine Comedy to life for a modern audience. ‘Students of Dante will know that reading his works alone and silently can be a life-changing experience, the fruits of which will endure and ripen,’ said Anne Leone, postdoctoral research fellow in Italian studies. ‘But reading his works aloud—and together—promises to be another experience entirely.'”    —Notre Dame News

For video coverage of the event, click here.