“Dante Rides Again” at Potsdam Museum

An interactive reading of Walter Noble’s translation of the Divine Comedy in Potsdam, New York, taking place on November 10, 2019.

“Dante’s Inferno as Limericks and Comics”

“Circle I (the unbaptised)

Underway with the underworld herewith,
and I’m with – no, you’re with – fine, we’re with
the dwellers of Hades
born BCs, not ADs –
not all, but the ones you’d have beer with.

[. . .]

Circle VII

‘By these treestumps, my Master, what’s signified?’
‘These souls are eternally lignified.
We saw others scream
in an ichorous stream:
for the violent, no ending is dignified.’

Circle VIII

The fraudsters inhabit these cum-pits,
the forgers and classical strumpets.
And going down levels
we stumble on devils
whose derrières double as trumpets”    –Harry Cochrane and Leonardo Cardini, The Florentine, February 26, 2020

 

The R Inferno

“Abstract: If you are using R and you think you’re in hell, this is a map for you.

[. . .]

We arrive at the third Circle, filled with cold, unending rain. Here stands Cerberus barking out of his three throats. Within the Circle were the blasphemous wearing golden, dazzling cloaks that inside were all of lead – weighing them down for all of eternity. This is where Virgil said to me, ‘Remember your science – the more perfect a thing, the more its pain or pleasure.'”    –Patrick Burns, Burns Statistics, April 30, 2011

Learn more about R, the programming language, here.

Learn more about The R Inferno here.

“The Seven Circles of Dishwashing Hell”

“I don’t want to be dramatic or anything, but sometimes, even the most mundane of chores becomes epic to me. Dante Alighieri may have been writing about Hell in his Inferno, but it seems just like dishwashing to me.

Every night after dinner, it goes something like this:

Limbo – Some people think dinner is over. Some people just finally sat down to eat 30 seconds ago. No one is actively clearing the table, but some dishes are in the sink.

[. . .]

Gluttony – So I ate the brownies and ice cream. And it became like the mud Virgil (Dante’s guide in the underworld, you’ll recall) fed to the three mouths of Cerberus.

[. . .]

Violence – A river of blood (how my hands feel right now) is where Dante finds those who are violent to their neighbor. Gnarled thorny trees (how my hands feel) are those who are violent to themselves. The great plain of burning sand (does anyone have any Bag Balm? I think the skin on my hands needs revitalizing!) is what awaits those who are violent toward God.

[. . .]

The absolute center of hell – Like Lucifer, half submerged in the ice lake, one last thing remains in the sink: the soggy, stubborn end of an onion, carelessly tossed in the there and causing a slow drain. I pluck it out and head literally to the TV room, but metaphorically into the River of Lethe, or forgetfulness. Otherwise, why would I do this again tomorrow night?”    –Beth McConnell, A Madison Mom, September 10, 2016

“Observations on Heaven from Dante’s Paradiso That Also Apply to These Stills of Linda Hamilton”

“In a literary and historicist sense, Dante’s Divine Comedy was a multi-volume narrative poem that advanced some notable theological suppositions about the afterlife as well as some hot takes about Italian political and religious figures of the age and also working in some somewhat yikes fantasies about Dante’s crush, Beatrice, and idealized bromance with dead poet Virgil. In a looser, more abstract, in some ways more honest sense, though, Dante’s hysterically adulating depictions of Heaven and his crush Beatrice hanging out in it in Paradiso are also about what a fucking unreal silver fox Linda Hamilton is in the latest Terminator offering, Dark Fate. (Mackenzie Davis gays, you will have your day; this one is mine.)

When Dante was writing about being so overcome with emotion at the luminous landscape of Paradise that he was unable to speak, he may have been originally referencing an extremely specific medieval Catholic spiritual concept — but we have the benefit of centuries of context and wisdom that Dante did not, and can see that in another, more accurate way, they also reference the fact that Linda Hamilton remains an untouchable smokeshow, and is arguably even more of one than when she originally featured as my root in Terminator 2.”    –Rachel, Autostraddle, October 9, 2019

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 Nine Circles of Hell and the Internet Inferno

“I’ve seen several references to various social media apps and the Seven Deadly Sins, but as I consider the darkness that seems to breed in social media circles — from teen bullying on Snapchat and Instagram, to Twitter trolls threatening female reporters in India with rape and abuse, to child pornography on the Dark Web and the children who suffer miserably, literally living in hell for predators’ public pleasure — Dante’s Inferno comes to mind, and how this ancient story from 1300 might actually describe our reality right now, as we enter the Information Age of our human development.

[. . .]

“Unfortunately our technology is held hostage by the worst of us. Until we can turn the technology around and use it against those who commit such evil, we can’t get out of the woods. However, Dante and Virgil do make it out of Hell. Interestingly the poets cross through the barren wasteland and to the river of forgetfulness, emerging from Hell on Easter morning.

“I find it interesting that they must forget the darkness in order to leave Hell and make their way to Heaven, where true connection, love and solidarity await. What must we forget in order to fulfill the promise of the Internet and the idea of a globally connected world?

“Our hate? Our jealousy? Our anger? Our fear? Our ignorance? Our greed? Our lust? Our mistrust?

“I imagine so. In the meantime, our experiences online seem to be on one hand accelerating and enabling those who wish to sow the seeds of discontent and on the other hand bringing us together, enabling the collection and sharing of information and knowledge, and making us aware of those places and people in our community who are in need. If we can rid ourselves of our lower natures and focus on the fact that when we’re online, we’re actively creating a world together, perhaps someday we will hold Beatrice in our embrace, and finally find human connection at the deepest, most satisfying level.”    –Nicole Sallak Anderson, “Dante’s Nine Circles of Hell and the Internet Inferno,” Medium, October 25, 2017

The Circles of Hell on a Trip to Mount Bromo (Indonesia)

Mount-Bromo-Indonesia-Ninth-Circle-Dantes-Inferno“Mount Bromo is located at about 4 hours drive from Surabaya, the capital of East Java, in Indonesia and it is part of the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. It is considered one of the top bucket list destinations in Indonesia, one of the places to visit in Indonesia. I suppose it deserves to be one of them.

“You see, I am an atheist and hardly a believer that heaven and hell exist. Yet, if I have to describe my experience in Mount Bromo, the first thing that comes to my mind are the Nine Circles of Hell of Dante’s Inferno. Much like Dante’s journey through hell, accompanied by his guide Virgil, I felt that I was also going through the nine circles, although in my case there was no real guide in sight but just other members of the tour group.” — Claudia Tavani, “Ring of Fire or Circle of Hell? Crossing Dante’s Inferno on Mount Bromo,” My Adventures Across the World, November 10, 2015

Read more about Tavani’s adventure on Mount Bromo here.

Vinson Cunningham, “How the Idea of Hell Has Shaped the Way We Think”

“The  great poetic example of the blurriness between the everyday and the ever after is Dante’s Inferno, which begins with the narrator ‘midway upon the journey of our life,’ having wandered away from the life of God and into a ‘forest dark.’ That wood, full of untamed animals and fears set loose, leads the unwitting pilgrim to Virgil, who acts as his guide through the ensuing ordeal, and whose Aeneid, itself a recapitulation of the Odyssey, acts as a pagan forerunner to the Inferno. This first canto of the poem, regrettably absent from the Book of Hell, reads as a kind of psychological-metaphysical map, marking the strange route along which one person’s private trouble leads both outward and downward, toward the trouble of the rest of the world.

[. . .]

“Insecurity is a tomb; these are the kinds of midlife crises from which few people recover. ‘Abandon all hope, ye who enter here’ is as applicable to certain poisonous habits of mind as to the gates of Hell. One leads, inexorably, to the other.” — Vinson Cunningham, “How the Idea of Hell Has Shaped the Way We Think,” Review of The Penguin Book of Hell in The New Yorker (January 21, 2019)

Lars von Trier’s The House That Jack Built (2018)

The-House-That-Jack-Built-Dante-Delacroix

“Director Lars von Trier has shared a new piece of art for his controversial The House That Jack Built that echoes Eugène Delacroix’s ‘The Barque Of Dante’ (1822), which is loosely based on fictional events taken from canto eight of Dante’s Inferno.

“’A leaden, smoky mist and the blazing City of the Dead form the backdrop against which the poet Dante endures a fearful crossing of the River Styx,’ wiki explains. ‘He is steadied by the learned poet of antiquity Virgil as they plough through waters heaving with tormented souls.’

“In the film, Matt Dillon (Wayward Pines) stars as a serial killer who views each of his murders as a work of art.” — Brad Miska, “The House That Jack Built Art Recreates Dante’s Inferno,” Bloody Disgusting, May 16, 2018

Throughout the film, Jack confesses his exploits in a retrospective narrative to a character named “Verge,” a nod to Virgil, voiced by Bruno Ganz and pictured in the role of Virgil in the image above.