Literature, Medieval and Renaissance, Poetry, Reviews

Through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise—and now cyberspace

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With Danteworlds: A Reader’s Guide to the Inferno, Guy P. Raffa decoded Dante’s epic poem for a new generation of readers. And with the forthcoming The Complete Danteworlds: A Reader’s Guide to the Divine Comedy Raffa has expanded his project to encompass the entire text, through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise—and into cyberspace. As the New Yorker‘s Vicky Raab notes in a recent article, Raffa’s online version of Danteworlds offers “an integrated multimedia journey” through Dante’s Divine Comedy, perfectly marrying medium with message to launch the reader “right into the allegorical action, heightening rather than dulling appreciation and comprehension.” Raab continues:

Canto by canto, as Virgil and then Beatrice lead the benighted Dante through “circles of Hell, terraces of Purgatory, spheres of Paradise,” so the clear-eyed Guy P. Raffa, a classics professor at the University of Texas at Austin who conceived and developed the site, leads students in Dante’s steps, urging them to click on regions within each realm. I go straight to Circle Nine, of course, the lowest depths of the Inferno, peopled by the grisliest creatures: the giants Nimrod, Ephialtes, and Antaeus, the cannibalistic Ugolino, who eats the back of Ruggiero’s head, “so that one head to the other was a hat,” and, of course, the supersized, winged, tri-colored Beelzebub.

Continue reading Raab’s article on the New Yorker website, or navigate to and check out the cyber version of Danteworlds for yourself.