Martino Marazzi, Danteum (2015)

DANTEUMMartino Marazzi’s 2015 book, DANTEUM: Studi sul Dante imperiale del Novecento, examines receptions of Dante during the twentieth century. It touches on Dante in Fascist Italy, among concentration camp prisoners in Germany during World War II, among Italian-American intellectuals, and in contemporary American criticism.

“Lungo il corso del Novecento – e con particolare intensità nel periodo fra le due guerre – Dante è stato letto come un autore ‘imperiale’: intellettuale interprete, attraverso la sua poesia e il suo pensiero, di una visione autocratica del potere; celebrarlo diventò presto una delle forme di espressione del consenso di massa.”    —Franco Cesati Editore

Primo Levi, Se questo è un uomo (1947)

primo-levi-if-this-is-a-man-1947Primo Levi’s harrowing account of life in Auschwitz includes many references to Dante’s Commedia, most noticeably in the chapter called “Canto di Ulisse.” In the chapter, Levi recounts a scene where he and a French prisoner discuss books from their respective homes. The canto of Ulysses (Inferno 26) comes to his mind and he recites several lines from it.

The memoir Se questo è un uomo (If This is a Man) appeared in English translation as Survival in Auschwitz. The chapter “Canto di Ulisse” is but one of many references to Dante not only in Se questo è un uomo but also across the rest of Levi’s corpus; we recommend consulting the works on the bibliography for more on Levi’s relationship to Dante’s works.

Janet Jensen, “Dante’s Equation” (2006)

janet-jensen-dantes-equation-2006“Science and sci-fi go hand in hand in this ambitious, if not entirely successful, thriller by Jensen (Millennium Rising), which incorporates elements of Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) as well as theoretical physics. During WWII, physicist and mystic Rabbi Yosef Kobinski vanished from Auschwitz in a blinding flash of light. Kobinski left behind at the camp his Kabbalist masterpiece, The Book of Torment, to be buried for safekeeping. Half a century later, a Jerusalem rabbi and an American journalist are trying to find it.”    –Publishers Weekly, Amazon