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 5: Inferno IX, X, XI

4.1 ( 11 )

Lecture Details

Dante in Translation (ITAL 310)

In this lecture, Professor Mazzotta discusses Inferno IX-XI. An impasse at the entrance to the City of Dis marks Virgils first failure in his role as guide (Inferno IX). The invocation of Medusa by the harpies that descend while they wait for divine aid elicits Dantes first address to the reader. The question of literary mediation, posed in the previous lecture in the context of Inferno V, is explored further, and the distinction Dante draws between the "allegory of poets" and the "allegory of theologians" is introduced. Inferno X is read with a view to the uniqueness of the sin it deals with - heresy. The philosophical errors of the shades encountered here, Farinata and Cavalcante, are tied to the political turmoil they prophecy for Florence. From the disorder of the earthly city, Dante moves on to the order on its infernal counterpart, mapped by Virgil in Inferno XI. The moral system of Dantes Hell is then discussed with a view to its classical antecedents.

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

This course was recorded in Fall 2008.



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

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Great course. Thank you very much.