Dante in Translation

Course Number
ITAL 310
About the Course

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, Purgatory and Paradise 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.

Course Structure
This Yale College course, taught on campus twice per week for 75 minutes, was recorded for Open Yale Courses in Fall 2008. The Open Yale Courses Series. For more information about Professor Mazzotta’s book Reading Dante, http://yalepress.yale.edu/yupbooks/book.asp?isbn=9780300191356 click here.

Syllabus

Professor
Description

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, Purgatory and Paradise 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.

Texts

Primary Texts:

Dante. Divine Comedy. Translated by John D. Sinclair. New York: Oxford University Press, 1968.

Dante. Vita Nuova. Translated by Mark Musa. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1973.

Secondary Sources:

Auerbach, Erich. Dante, Poet of the Secular World. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961.

Barolini, Teodolinda. Dante’s Poets. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984.

Boyde, Patrick. Dante, Philomythes and Philosopher. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1981.

Brandeis, Irma. The Ladder of Vision. Garden City: Doubleday, 1962.

Cachey, Theodore, ed. Dante Now. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1995.

Davis, Charles T. Dante and the Idea of Rome. Oxford: The Clarendon Press 1957.

Freccero, John. Poetics of Conversion. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1986.

Gilson, Etienne. Dante the Philosopher. New York: Sheed & Ward, 1949.

Harrison, Robert. The Body of Beatrice. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988.

Mazzotta, Giuseppe. Dante, Poet of the Desert. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1979.

Mazzotta, Giuseppe. Dante’s Vision and the Circle of Knowledge. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993.

Moevs, Christian. The Metaphysics of Dante’s Comedy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.

Singleton, Charles. An Essay on the Vita Nuova. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1977.

Recommended:

Saint Augustine. Confessions. Translated by Rex Warner. New York: New American Library, 1963.

Virgil. The Aeneid. Translated by Allen Mandelbaum. New York: Bantam Classics, 1981.

Requirements

Regular attendance is required.

Students will write a final paper of approximately 3000 words to be submitted two weeks after the last class.

Students will take two tests: one in mid-term, and one at the end of the term.

During lecture, a number of possible topics for the term papers will be suggested. A list of topics will be handed out in early November. The topics should be discussed either with the professor or the teaching assistant.

Grading

Midterm examination: 15%
Final examination: 15%
Final paper: 60%
Attendance and participation: 10%

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Course Books and Other Related Titles

Yale University Press offers a 10% discount on the books used in ITAL 310 that it publishes, as well as on other related titles. A portion of the proceeds from your purchases will be donated for the ongoing support and development of the Open Yale Courses program.