“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.

Cleaning the ‘Gates of Hell’

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“Somebody has got to keep the Gates of Hell safe from the elements. Meet the students on Stanford’s outdoor sculpture preservation crew. They conduct preventative maintenance on Rodin’s Gates of Hell and 100 other outdoor sculptures across campus. In other words, they get lots of hands-on-the-art experience because they have permission to touch.

“Given the nature of their work, which combines art and science, it’s no surprise that the crew, led by Elizabeth Saetta, is an extension of the Cantor Arts Center’s Art+Science Learning Lab, run by Susan Roberts-Manganelli.” […]

” ‘Regular care protects the sculpture from exposure to the elements, pests and public, and also prevents the need for invasive conservation treatment or repairs in the future,’ Saetta said. She is currently seeking a hands-on student to join the crew – one who’s not afraid of waxing hell.”    —Stanford Report

Paul William Bear Brewer, “Opening Dante’s Gate” (2012)

bear-brewer-cover“Columbia University Physics professor, Andrea Mandola, discovers that a near Earth passing of Mars in 3000 B.C. explains the mysteries behind the construction of the pyramids, Noah’s flood, ancient civilizations’ worship of Mars, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and proves Dante’s Gate to Hell actually existed. Using her knowledge of physics and a handsome colleague’s passion for Dante, Andrea’s team uncovers and activates Dante’s Gate. When one of Andrea’s team steps through the Gate his entire life on Earth is erased and the world is forever changed. Dante’s Gate blurs the lines between historical fiction, science fiction thriller and technothriller genres. The book intertwines stories covering 5000 years of history, throws in a little romance and builds to to a suspenseful climax in present day New Jersey.”    —Amazon

1000+ illustrations of the Commedia from Cornell University’s Fiske Dante Collection on Shared Shelf

1000-illustrations-of-the-commedia-from-cornell-universitys-fiske-dante-collection-on-shared-shelf “Dante Alighieri’s 14th-century epic poem Divina Commedia has had an incalculable impact on Western culture, not least through its inspiration of visual artists. After all, Dante’s descriptions of grotesque figures, fantastic landscapes, and inventive punishments virtually beg to be depicted visually.
Now anyone can view and download approximately 1,000 of these images from eleven editions of the poem published between 1487 and 1846 courtesy of Cornell University Library’s Divine Comedy Image Archive (DCIA). These images are available free in Shared Shelf Commons, the open-access library of images from institutions that subscribe to Shared Shelf, ARTstor’s Web-based service for cataloging and managing digital collections. The DCIA plans to make available a total of approximately 2,000 images from editions dating through 1921.”    —Artstor, November 7, 2012

Contributed by Emma Pyle (Bowdoin, ’12)

A College Education. . .

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“A COLLEGE education aims to guide students through unfamiliar territory — Arabic, Dante, organic chemistry — so what was once alien comes to feel a lot less so. But sometimes an issue starts so close to home that the educational goal is the inverse: to take what students think of as familiar and place it in a new and surprising light.” [. . .]    –Ethan Bronner, The New York Times, November 1, 2012

Ron Jenkins, “To See the Stars” (2012)

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“Lynda Gardner, Saundra Duncan, and Deborah Ranger will give a reading of a new play at a Harvard University conference next week. A different kind of alma mater qualifies them for this appearance: York Correctional Institution in Niantic, Conn., a high-security state facility for female offenders.

“While behind bars at York, all three joined theater workshops with Wesleyan University professor Ron Jenkins and students from his Activism and Outreach Through Theater course. They got to know Shakespeare and Dante, and it changed their lives.

“‘I spent my first six months [in York] trying to figure out ways to kill myself, and the next four and a half years trying to see how much more I can live,’ says Gardner.

“Inspired by these three and other inmates he worked with, Jenkins wrote a play about their existence behind bars, ‘To See the Stars,’ which mingles inmates’ stories with bits of Dante’s epic 14th-century poem, Divine Comedy.

“The women have their own perspective on ‘Divine Comedy.’ They tend to say that they are still working on its third part (Paradise) but that they are well versed in the first two (Hell and Purgatory).

“‘I’ve been in a lot of the circles of hell,’ says Gardner, 63. ‘It really isn’t about hell; it is about hope. Climbing out of those circles.’

“The trio will perform ‘To See the Stars’ on March 3 in a lightly staged reading at a Harvard conference on race, class, and education called Disrupting the Discourse: Discussing the ‘Undiscussable,’ sponsored by the Graduate School of Education’s Alumni of Color. The Harvard performance is open to conference participants only, but the public can attend a free performance at Brown University’s Lyman Hall in Providence on March 2 at 3:30 p.m.”  — Joel Brown, Boston.com, February 12, 2012 (retrieved on July 9, 2012)

See also Rachel Apfel’s piece in the Harvard Ed. Magazine.

BYU’s Divine Comedy

divine-comedy-brigham-young-university“In 1994 two BYU students were in a communications class together and found that they had a common love of sketch comedy that was clean but still really, really funny. They decided to start a comedy troupe. They held auditions for cast members and behold, Divine Comedy was born. Each year a few members would leave the group and they would hold auditions to replace them. Being in Divine Comedy is a bit like being the Dread Pirate Roberts.”    —Divine Comedy, Brigham Young University

Metro Station, University of Naples

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“On March 26, the 40,000 commuters of Naples, Italy, who pass daily through the University of Naples metro station found that virtually every surface had been transformed into a candy-colored kaleidoscope by the American designer Karim Rashid. . . . He printed wire-frame patterns on quartz flooring, applied portraits of Dante and Beatrice to the stairs and tiled the walls with words coined in the digital age.” [. . .]    –Shonquis Moreno, The New York Times, April 20, 2011

Contributed by Hope Stockton (Bowdoin, ’07)

Dante Project, Wesleyan University – Prison Outreach

dante-project-wesleyan-university-prison-outreach“. . .Dr. Jenkins, who has taught in Wesleyan’s theater department for 11 years, introduced prison outreach into the curriculum in 2007, bringing students to the York Correctional Institution, a women’s prison in Niantic, to work with inmates on literary classics. In 2009 and 2010, they began concentrating on ‘Inferno’; this year, because of construction at York, the class took place at the men’s facility in Niantic, the J.B. Gates Correctional Institution. . .
The semester culminated with performances. The Gates inmates presented their work to their peers, and at Wesleyan, the students performed the writings of the inmates for the college community. In the classroom at Sing Sing, the inmates performed for the Wesleyan students, and then the students presented the Gates men’s words, for which they received a standing ovation from the inmates. All of the performances ended with the same line, the last of the poem: ‘E quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle.’ “And then we emerged to look again at the stars.” [. . .]    –Susan Hodara, The New York Times, December 24, 2010

Hell’s Half Acre, Lazarides Gallery London, October 12-17, 2010

hells-half-acre-lazarides-gallery-london-2010“Dante: no other medieval author continues to exert such an extraordinary force on the modern imagination. Those who’ve read his Comedia never recover; those who’ve never read him still feel like they know the Inferno, and because it has become such a cultural norm, they probably do know it. At Cambridge, Prof. Robin Kirkpatrick has been undertaking a massive critical and creative engagement with Dante over the past couple of years in a project entitled Performance, as well as a conference at CRASSH entitled Pain in Performance and ‘Moving Beauty’. This year, on October 30th, Performance 2010 will further explore Dante and other texts in a series of performances, music, dance, art and drawings.” [. . .]    —Miglior Acque, October 22, 2010

Contributed by Patrick Molloy