Tag Archives: Dante Alighieri

It would be a hell of a lot of fun.

My latest brilliant idea — somebody should make a board game based on Dante’s Inferno. Like a send-up of Monopoly or Sorry.

Hell, you wouldn’t even need advertising art. All those Gustave Dore illustrations are in the public domain.

RUN WITH THIS, people.

 

Pur_12_aracne

Pictured: fun.

 

 

Illustration of Canto 7 of Dante Alighieri’s “Inferno,” by Gustave Dore, 1892

The artist died in 1883.  The date above refers to the illustration’s publication by Cassell and Company in its 1892 edition of Dante’s Inferno.

The caption reads, “Now seest thou, Son!/ The souls of those, whose anger overcame. — Canto VII, Lines 118-119.”

Inferno_Canto_7_lines_118-119

Illustration of Charon for Dante Alighieri’s “Inferno,” Gustave Dore, 1857

Engraving.  Plate IX: Canto III: Arrival of Charon. “And lo! towards us coming in a boat / An old man, hoary with the hair of eld, / Crying: ‘Woe unto you, ye souls depraved!'” (Longfellow’s translation) “And, lo! toward us in a bark / Comes an old man, hoary white with eld, / Crying “Woe to you, wicked spirits!”

 

Charon_by_Dore

Eggsbenedict Londontumbler reads Dante Alighieri.

Here’s Benedict Cumberbatch reading excerpts from Dante’s “Divine Comedy.”  (I’m sorry; I cannot resist making fun of this man’s name.)  I don’t know how Cumberbatch’s quotes were compiled for this … Maybe they were taken from a documentary about the “Divine Comedy” that he narrated?

By far the most interesting is the quote from Canto 3 of “The Inferno.”  It’s compelling in light of what’s transpiring in America, and it reminds me of my favorite quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer — “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless.  Not to speak is to speak.  Not to act is to act.”

Canto 3 in its entirety is below:

“Master, what is it that I hear? Who are
those people so defeated by their pain?”
And he to me: “This miserable way
is taken by the sorry souls of those
who lived without disgrace and without praise.
They now commingle with the coward angels,
the company of those who were not rebels
nor faithful to their God, but stood apart.
The heavens, that their beauty not be lessened,
have cast them out, nor will deep Hell receive them –
even the wicked cannot glory in them.”
And I: “What is it, master, that oppresses
these souls, compelling them to wail so loud?”
He answered: “I shall tell you in few words.
Those who are here can place no hope in death,
and their blind life is so abject that they
are envious of every other fate.
The world will let no fame of theirs endure;
both justice and compassion must disdain them;
let us not talk of them, but look and pass.”

 

First sonnet of Dante Alighieri’s “La Vita Nuova,” translated by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

This is me reading Dante Gabriel Rosetti’s stylized translation of “La Vita Nuova,” by Dante Alighieri.

 

To every heart which the sweet pain doth move,

And unto which these words may now be brought

For true interpretation and kind thought,

Be greeting in our Lord’s name, which is Love.

Of those long hours wherein the stars, above,

Wake and keep watch, the third was almost nought,

When Love was shown me with such terrors fraught

As may not carelessly be spoken of.

He seemed like one who is full of joy, and had

My heart within his hand, and on his arm

My lady, with a mantle round her, slept;

Whom (having wakened her) anon he made

To eat that heart; she ate, as fearing harm.

Then he went out; and as he went, he wept.

 

An excerpt from the first sonnet of “La Vita Nuova,” by Dante Alighieri (read by Eric Robert Nolan)

This is not the complete sonnet. Neither is it necessarily the best translation of Dante’s original words.  It is merely one of the more direct and literal translations that one can find online (and it’s therefore easy to read). Fans of Ridley Scott’s “Hannibal” (2000) might recognize this as being featured in the film.

 

Evolution stinks sometimes.

Soooooo, I finally gained a true appreciation earlier tonight of how bad a skunk could smell.  I’ve smelled them before … I’ve been in Virginia for a while now, and I actually spotted my first skunk in upstate New York when I was a kid.  (They’re not pretty.)  But this is the first time I’ve encountered a full dose from an animal that was evidently nearby.

Dear Lord.

This was the olfactory equivalent of Dante Alighieri’s worst visions of hell.  The odor was at once strangely metallic, horribly organic and chemically toxic.   If one of Michael Bay’s “Transformers” were possessed by the demon from William Peter Blatty’s “The Exorcist,” and it wielded flatulence to punish the damned, this would be it.  If the three Kryptonian villains from 1980’s “Superman II” had been poisoned by chili laced with spoiled pork and Ex-Lax, this would be it.

Skunks might now top my list of hated animals, were it not for my enduring abhorrence of alligators.

Earwigs are moving up on that list, too — at least since I spotted one at 7:15 tonight in my kitchen.  Earwigs look like God tried to make a proper beetle while on acid.