Visceral's Virtual Inferno: When Did Dante Become a Scythe-Wielding Badass?


Location: O'Shaughnessy Hall, Room 339

Denise J. Ayo, doctoral candidate, Department of English

In 2010, Visceral Games released Dante’s Inferno for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Despite—or perhaps because of—the designers’ changes to character and storyline, this game presents a nuanced understanding of its literary inspiration, Dante Alighieri’s Inferno. Dante’s (d)evolution from a cowering characterization of the poet to a fearless and brash crusader, and Beatrice’s from an unsympathetic admiral to a scantily clad damsel in distress are not crude debasements of the medieval poem but rather the result of an elaborate re-mediation. Using recent scholarship in adaptation and video game studies, Ayo argues that Dante’s Inferno does not warrant a critique of infidelity but rather exists as a successful and autonomous modern adaptation that also offers a critique of the gender stereotypes of its new medium and genre.

Ayo is a member of the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies and specializes in British and Irish modernism, with a special interest in gender and media studies. Her dissertation, “Constructing and Performing the Modern Woman of Letters: Virginia Woolf, Rebecca West, and Mary Colum,” examines how three prolific critics self-consciously construct and perform competing female critical personas during the interwar period. Her article “Scratching at Scabs: The Garryowens of Ireland” appeared in the 2010 Joyce Studies Annual, and she has a forthcoming article in Journal of Modern Literature titled “Mary Colum, Modernism, and Mass Media: An Irish-Inflected Transatlantic Print Culture.”

Where: 339 O’Shaughnessy Hall
Start Time: Oct 28, 2011 12:00PM EDT
End Time: Oct 28, 2011 01:00PM EDT