ITAL531 - THE COSMOS OF DANTE'S COMEDY

Section Description: 
This course provides an in-depth introduction to Dante’s masterwork as a point of entry to the history of Western literature, philosophy, and science. The core of the course consists of an intensive study of Dante’s encyclopedic poem in relation to the culture and history of Medieval Europe. We examine the poem as both a product and an interpretation of the world it describes. We also observe how the Comedycasts its long shadow on modern culture: in Primo Levi’s description of the horror of Nazi concentration camps, or in Amiri Baraka’s fragmentary representation of America’s infernal racist system. We investigate the challenges that Dante’s text elicits when it migrates to visual and cinematic arts (from medieval illuminations to Robert Rauschenberg to David Fincher), continuously camouflaging and adapting to different media. And we critically reflect on how, after seven hundred years, the Comedy has not finished saying what it has to say. Major topics of this course include: representations of the otherworld; the soul’s relation to the divine; Dante’s concepts of governance and universal peace; mythology and theology in Dante’s Christian poetics; the role of the classics in the Middle Ages; intertextuality and imitation; genres and genders in Medieval literature; notions of authorship and authority during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries; the culture and materiality of manuscripts in the Middle Ages; and the reception of Dante’s work from the fourteenth century to the present.
Day and Time: 

F 0145PM-0445PM

Section ID: 
ITAL531401
Title (text only): 
THE COSMOS OF DANTE'S COMEDY
Subject Area: 
ITAL
Term: 
2022A
Term Session: 
0
Activity: 
SEM
Course Number Only: 
531
Section Number Only: 
401
Cross Listings: 
    Status: 
    O
    Course ID: 
    ITAL531