Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Dante Goes Digital

I was perusing Jacket Copy earlier this week when this article about a University of Texas professor caught my eye. As a fiercely proud Longhorn, I try to read anything that has to do with my alma mater. For all you fans of Dante and medieval Italian literature, this is pretty cool. Guy Raffa, a professor of Italian at UT, has brought Dante to the world of Web 2.0, Flash enabled websites and digital awesomeness with his website, Danteworlds. The site is an interactive companion to his academic title, Danteworlds: A Reader's Guide to the Inferno (U. of Chicago Press, 2007).

Danteworlds allows visitors to "walk" through the three worlds of the afterlife as presented in Dante's Divine Comedy. You can visit Inferno, Purgatory and Paradiso and click on regions that exist in each realm. The various nooks and crannies of the site also include explanatory notes, study questions, artistic images by Botticelli and Suloni Robertson (some of which are quite terrifying,) and audio snippets read in Italian. According to the website, all this is "aimed at enriching the experience of reading Dante's poetic vision of a voyage literally out of this world." Personally, I think the site achieves this goal and then some. What a neat resource for students and fans of Dante's works.

Authors, take note. While it's certainly not necessary to create a tricked out, Flash enabled hypertext, be creative when it comes to your web efforts. Don't be afraid to pursue "outside the box" ideas for your website or blog. An excellent example is that of a new favorite author of mine, Ed Park. Park has made his website a series of e-mails sent back and forth between characters in his critically acclaimed novel, Personal Days. The e-mails contain news about the novel, media hits and so on. It's a cool, different way to keep readers informed of what's going on with the book.

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Blogger Sarah Boulden, Director of Publishing Services said...

I took his class when he was just developing this web site. Very cool!

January 21, 2009 at 6:06 PM  

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