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Art, Cinema, History & Politics, Italian American Issues, Literature, Photography

“… I Must Scream”

Dante in American Science Fiction

April 6, 2021
4:00 pm

Dante and…
Lecture on Zoom
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by 3pm on April 6

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“… I Must Scream”
Dante in American Science Fiction

Arielle Saiber, Bowdoin College

Introduced by Alison Cornish, NYU

Science fiction is a genre of screams. Not only the kinds of screams that horror media provoke in us, but cries of frustration vis-à-vis human behavior and our limitations as a species. In 1967, science fiction author Harlan Ellison published his famous short story, “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream,” which screams out Dante through its words and imagery. More recently, the SF t.v. series Westworld (2016 – ) titled one of its episodes “Contrapasso” and references Inferno throughout the show in a variety of ways. In the intervening years, many American producers of SF have created narratives that echo or cite the Commedia, often to express outrage at injustices, imagine retribution, and outline the costs of cruelty and selfish actions. Through a variety of SF authors, directors, and artists, this talk explores SF’s particular ways of using Dante and his poem.


Organized by Prof. Alison Cornish, “Dante and…” is a series of lectures that focus on Dante’s relevance in today’s world. These lectures feature scholars and experts from many different fields of interest, invited to present their unique readings of the poet’s works.


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