Italian Language and Literature

The Department of Italian Language and Literature at Yale houses linguistic, literary, and historical approaches to Italian culture in all periods, with an emphasis on Italy's influential role in the development of the core arts, philosophies, and materials of Western culture. The undergraduate program requires intensive language training and is at its core interdisciplinary. The department routinely offers courses in a wide variety of areas and specialties, including film, philosophy, literature, history, art, architecture, and music. Learn more at
Dante in Translation
with Giuseppe Mazzotta

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.