Course Description

IN PERSON: Everyone has heard of Dante's "Comedy” (popularly known as "The Divine Comedy”), but few have read it. Fewer still have read the troubadour poets from whom Dante drew. Some scholars have described "Comedy" as the greatest achievement of the human intellect — an encyclopedia of ethics, culture and history expressed through great poetry. We will read this great work and discuss its meaning and place in Western cultural history. Students will learn of its debts to ancient classic writers (Homer, Virgil), medieval church scholarship and troubadour poetry. Most important, we will experience and discuss the poem itself — a work with no rival. Our goals are: an understanding of the flow of thought about human destinies, awareness of the links from Dante back through the Middle Ages to antiquity, and appreciation of a monumental work of art. We will seek to become better readers, able to enjoy enriched experiences with all great literature. This discussion-based course will be in English. | Facilitated discussion.

Max enrollment: 15.

Location: Judea Reform Congregation, 1933 W. Cornwallis Rd, Durham NC 27705

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Section Title
Reading Dante
Classroom - In Person
11:00AM to 12:30PM
Jan 31, 2024 to Apr 03, 2024
Schedule and Location
Contact Hours
Delivery Options
Classroom - In Person  
Course Fees
Section Notes

Please note: Students should choose an English translation with line numbers (important) and all three sections of “Comedy.” Used copies are widely available online. The instructor will use Robert and Jean Hollander's “The Inferno” and John Sinclair's “Purgatorio” and “Paradiso.”

Recommended reading:
Maurice Valency, "In Praise of Love" (9780805207156)
C. S. Lewis, "The Allegory of Love" (9781107659438)
Erich Auerbach, "Dante: Poet of the Secular World" (9780226032078)

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