From Exile into Paradise: Dante's "Divine" Comedy|
Spring 2015 not offered
ITAL 226, COL 234, RELI 218|
Where will I go after I die? Is there an afterlife, and if so, will I be saved, damned, or something in between? Just as important, who has the power to tell me about the hereafter and so to shape my actions in this world? The church? The government? God himself? Or the makers of art and literature? These are the questions that the Comedy poses, and they remain highly relevant today. Dante's remarkable poem can be read in many ways: as religious praise, as historical commentary, as a journey to self-knowledge, and as philosophical discourse. Our aim is to gain understanding of how these different modes of writing come together both in Dante's time as well as in the critical reception of the poem.
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Discussion||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (COL)(ITST)(MDST-MN)(MDST)(MDST-Art/Arch)(MDST-History)(MDST-Lang/Lit)(MDST-Phil/Reli)(RELI-MN)(RELI)(RMST)(SISP-Reli Conc)
Alighieri, Dante. Inferno
Recommended translations: Durling and Martinez (publisher Oxford) (preferred) or Hollander (publisher Doubleday)
You should feel free to buy any edition you choose. Ebooks are also available, if you prefer that format.
|Examinations and Assignments: |
3 close readings of a single canto, one each from Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso; longer, final
essay; student presentations.
To help place the poem in context, in each class we will look at a "paratext" from one of the following categories: (1) a brief selection from a work which influenced the Comedy or which serves as an analogue for some aspect of it; (2) a later text on which Dante himself exerted an influence; (3) a critical essay or book chapter on Dante. Students will present each class's paratext, summarizing or describing the salient points and analyzing its relevance to our ongoing discussions. These comparisons are intended to provide a background to the poem, to pique your curiosity, and to give you ideas for research projects.
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments: |
Your active and engaged participation in class will be an important part of your grade in this seminar, so please come armed with cogent and interesting thoughts about all of the primary and secondary material. The instructor encourages you to prepare your close readings of the single cantos in groups of 3-4 students working on the same, or adjacent, cantos. These groups will meet for discussion prior to drafting your paper and again to propose revisions to your drafts before final submission. The final essay, however, should be completed without consultation with one another. Students should meet with the instructor to discuss the topic of their final paper. This course counts towards the Religion Department major "Historical Traditions" requirement.
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