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May 19, 2009

Abandon all hope

Dantes_inferno The other day, in an essay on Dante's Divine Comedy in C. S. Lewis's Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Literature, I ran across this sentence:

. . . We include every appeal to the imagined exercise of the five senses, always excepting those images which are directly represented as parts of Dante's story and which would appear on the screen if anyone (which God forbid) made a film of it.

Poor Lewis. I hope he's really busy with heavenly matters and doesn't have time to follow what's going on here.

(Image © Electronic Arts)

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I really like how the article failed to mention that this video-game-turned-movie is presumably somehow based on the famous piece of medieval literature the title derives from. Classy.

The medievalist in me rages, but ah well. Video games have been spinning off of Dante since they began. I mean, they even name characters after him.

Jason Taylor

Well they also made a movie about Lord of the Rings. Neither Tolkien nor Lewis anticipated the advances in special effects. They would probably still disapprove but their point is somewhat less valid then in the 1940's.

In any case, the same objection could be made to any movie based on a tale that included fantastic or supernatural elements. One could argue that Dante himself was being as "cheeky" about the Other World, as film would be toward him.

The chief fear is not that special effects can't do it right. It can't but neither could Dante. The chief fear is that the film will be infected by secularist provincialism and that the writers and directors won't "get" Dante.


Hell, presented as entertainment? Seems like this maps to another thread...

Jason Taylor

Lee, my dear old chap. Have you considered that some modern entertainment might have a resemblance to Hell anyway?


Jason, old chum, I'll don labrialumn's mantle for a moment and declare that I believe you're confusing "Hell as subject matter" (here) and "Hell as source"...

Jason Taylor

How about "hell as metaphor for the consumer's experience"

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