Journey of Faith

  • Freya Umataliev

ISTD Student Awards 2020 | Paradiso

Typographically interpret Canto 33 of Paradiso, using the Longfellow translation, to introduce The Divine Comedy to a new audience

Does God exist? How did the universe begin? Why are we here? What is the meaning of life? What are you searching for? These are all questions that we have been asking for centuries, some even go to extraordinary lengths to find answers. Look at philosophers such as Socrates, Aristotle, Plato; they all asked these questions. It is in our human nature to be curious, we seek to find logic behind mystery, we are all searching for something more. Even in 14th Century Italy, Dante had the exact same human question as we all experience in this day and age.

Understanding that we are people of stories with generations worth of narratives, I wanted to collate modern day anecdotes that show this in accordance with Dante’s journey. Using people’s true stories enables the reader to discover their own path of question; it furthers the readers understanding of the canto whereby the testimonies are in sync with Dante’s journey. This is a strategic system that I devised in imitating the pace and trajectory of Dante’s journey to find God with those of today. This level of reader interaction allows the audience to read this poem like any other text, but it has been set in such a way that allows them to pace themselves in order to digest the story of Dante’s journey. The testimonials act as another element to give the readers context and bring Dante to their level of understanding and therefore interacting with the text in a much more accessible way.

Inspired by my research, this publication is a modern adaptation of a screenplay to personify Dante’s journey thus making the text more engaging, accessible and readable. Traditionally, screenplays are used to outline the scenes of a play; it gives a flavour to the characters as to their unique tone of voice and personality. Screenplays also include material that provides context to certain scenes or characters as to further your understanding of the emotions conveyed at a specific point or the current events within the canto. Typesetting Dante and the testimonies in the form of a screenplay allows for Dante and the testimonies to be brought to life as ‘actors’ or ‘voices’ in the play which will help the reader understand the themes raised in The Divine Comedy.

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    Falmouth University

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    • International Society of Typographic Designers (ISTD) logo

      International Society of Typographic Designers (ISTD)

      • Design