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, “If This is a Man” (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 of Ulysses.” In the chapter, Levi recounts a scene where he and a French prisoner discuss books from their respective homes. The canto of Ulysses (Inferno XXVI) comes to his mind and he recites several lines from it.

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