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Dante’s Divine Comedy

Tu/Th 2:00-3:15
Instructor: Prof. Maggie Fritz-Morkin (

Dante’s  Divine  Comedy introduces  English-speaking undergraduates to  Dante’s three-part vision of the afterlife,  which he wrote amidst the socio-political upheaval of  Florence at the turn of the 14th  century.  At once an homage to ancient authors,  a  scathing tabloid of contemporary  Italy,  a sublime love story,  a  hallucinatory dream-vision,  and an encyclopedia of theological and scientific knowledge,  the  Comedy invites many kinds of interpretation.  Through lectures,  small group discussions,  contact with manuscripts in  Wilson  Library’s  Special  Collections,  and coursework,  students will address the following questions:  How does  Dante’s  Comedy express his political,  ethical,  religious,  and aesthetic values?  Why does  Dante respond to political and personal crises through poetry?  How can we unfold the layers of meaning in a  complex,  wide-ranging text?  How have images reinterpreted  Dante’s masterpiece in different historical moments?  Assignments will ask students to engage with  Dante’s magnum opus in a  variety of ways that are both analytic and creative.

No Prerequisites

Fulfills Literary Arts (LA) and World Before 1750 (WB) General Education requirements

Counts as elective for Italian Major and Minor

Previously Offered: