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Primitive Culture: A Star Trek History and Culture Podcast

Dec 28, 2019

Dante in the Delta Quadrant.

Far away from home, everyone could do with a guide. That’s true whether you’re a 14th-century Italian poet embarking on an ultramundane journey through the afterlife or a Starfleet captain stranded on the far side of the galaxy. While Dante is lucky enough to be aided by the ancient Roman poet Virgil, Kathryn Janeway—who received a copy of Dante’s Divine Comedy as an engagement gift from her fiancé, Mark—must turn to Neelix to guide her through her own dark wood.

In this episode of Primitive Culture, host Duncan Barrett is joined by Zachary Fruhling of Meta Treks and To The Journey for a look at how Dante’s Vita Nuova and Divine Comedy are referenced in Star Trek: Voyager, in the episodes “Latent Image” and “Shattered,” respectively. More generally, we consider how well Dante’s archetypal characters—Beatrice, Virgil, and the poet himself—might map onto some of Star Trek’s own protagonists. We also ask whether the cosmology of heaven, purgatory, and hell can tell us anything about the route home from the Delta Quadrant.

Intro (00:00:00)
Lost in Translation (00:23:05)
70,000 Light Years from Florence (00:38:24)
Dante’s Cosmology (01:02:26)
The (Other) Undiscovered Country (01:27:00)
Final Thoughts (01:35:32)

Duncan Barrett

Zachary Fruhling

Duncan Barrett (Editor, Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) Tony Black (Associate Producer) Clara Cook (Associate Producer) Norman C. Lao (Associate Producer) Amy Nelson (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager)