Dante in Translation

Yale,, Fall 2008 , Prof. Giuseppe Mazzotta

Updated On 02 Feb, 19


(ITAL 310) The course is an introduction to Dante and his cultural milieu through a critical reading of The Divine Comedy and selected minor works (Vita nuova, Convivio, De vulgari eloquentia, Epistle to Cangrande). An analysis of Dante's autobiography, the Vita nuova, establishes the poetic and political circumstances of the Comedy's composition. Readings of Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso seek to situate Dante's work within the intellectual and social context of the late Middle Ages, with special attention paid to political, philosophical and theological concerns. Topics in The Divine Comedy explored over the course of the semester include the relationship between ethics and aesthetics; love and knowledge; and exile and history.


Lecture 3: Inferno I, II, III, IV

4.1 ( 11 )

Lecture Details

Dante in Translation (ITAL 310)

Professor Mazzotta introduces students to the Divine Comedy, focusing on the first four cantos of Inferno. Stylistic, thematic and formal features of the poem are discussed in the context of its original title, Comedy. The first canto is read to establish the double voice of the poet-pilgrim and to contrast the immanent journey with those described by Dantes literary precursors. Among these is the pilgrims guide, Virgil. The following cantos are read with special attention to the ways in which Dante positions his poem vis-� -vis the classical tradition. The novelty of Dantes otherworldly journey is here addressed in terms of the relationship, introduced in the previous lecture in the context of the Vita nuova, between love and knowledge or, more precisely, between their respective faculties, will and intellect.

0000 - Chapter 1. Explanation of Title; Three Levels of Style; Formal Structure
0007 - Chapter 2. Canto I and Its Double Narrative Focus
1902 - Chapter 3. Shifting the Language from Mind to Body
2531 - Chapter 4. Meeting Virgil the Poet and Neo-Platonic Philosopher
3701 - Chapter 5. Canto II Identity and Purpose of Journey
4221 - Chapter 6. Canto III Entering the Gate of Hell; An Idea of a Linear Novel
5131 - Chapter 7. Canto IV Into the Garden and Limbos Fantastic Figures
010413 - Chapter 8. Question and Answer

Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website httpopen.yale.educourses

This course was recorded in Fall 2008.



4 Ratings
comment person image


Excellent course helped me understand topic that i couldn't while attendinfg my college.

comment person image


Great course. Thank you very much.