Dantes Divine Comedy

Literature in Translation/Medieval Studies/Religious Studies 253

Web site for Wisconsin Alumni Association course: Dante's Inferno and Medieval Italy


Christopher Kleinhenz

Office: 608 Van Hise Hall (262-5816) web site for Literature in Translation course: http://frit.lss.wisc.edu/lt253

Texts (required) | Calendar | Requirements | Grade Composition | Grading Scale |
Dante Sites on the Web | Images shown in Class | Suggested Supplementary Readings

Texts (required): 

Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy, trans. Allen Mandelbaum (Bantam Books), 3 vols.: Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso


Sept. 6:   Introduction. Italy and Florence in the Age of Dante
  8:   Italy and Florence in the Age of Dante. Dante's Life and Times

11:   Inferno 1
13:   Inferno 1-2
15:   Inferno 3-4

18:   Inferno 5
20:   Inferno 6-7
22:   Inferno 8-9

25:  Inferno 10-11
27:  Inferno 12-13
29: First Hour Exam

Oct.2:   Inferno 14-15
4:   Inferno 16-18
6:   Inferno 19-20 

9:   Inferno 21-23
11:   Inferno 24-25
13:   Inferno 26-27

16:   Inferno 28-30
18:   Inferno 31-32
20:   Inferno 33-34

23:   Purgatory1-2
25:   Purgatory 3-5
27:   Purgatory 6-8

30:   Purgatory 9-10
Nov.1:   Purgatory 11-12
3: Second Hour Exam

6:   Purgatory 13-15
8:   Purgatory 16-18
10:  Purgatory 19-20

13:   Purgatory 21-22
15:   Purgatory 23-25
17:   Purgatory 26-28

20:   Purgatory 29-30
22:   Purgatory 31-33

Thanksgiving Recess

27:   Paradise 1-5
29:   Paradise 6-10
Dec.1: Third Hour Exam

4:   Paradise 11-14
6:   Paradise 15-17
8:   Paradise 18-20

11:   Paradise 21-26
13:   Paradise 27-30
15:   Paradise 31-33

Tuesday, Dec. 19: Final Paper Due, 12:25 p.m.


1. Three Hour Examinations (September 29, November 3, and December 1)

2. Final Paper Due: 12:25 p.m., Tuesday, December 19. The topic will be distributed on November 29.

3. Short (one-page) writing assignments (6-7) either in-class or take-home (no late submissions)

The class will be a combination of lectures and discussions. In the course of the semester we will read the entire Divine Comedy, and even though we may not be able to discuss each and every canto in class, you are responsible for the entire work for the writing assignments, the final paper, and the hour examinations.
Composition of grade  Grading scale 
First hour exam:                    20%
Second hour exam:                20%
Third hour exam:                   20%
Final Paper:                           15%
Writing Assignments:              15% 
Attendance / participation:       10%
94-100             A
90-93               AB
83-89               B 
79-82               BC 
72-78               C
65-71               D
0-64                 F

Suggested supplementary readings

On-line Readings

Teodolinda Barolini, "Dante and the lyric past"  http://dante.ilt.columbia.edu/books/cambr_com/cc2.html

Joan Ferrante, "A poetics of chaos and harmony"  http://dante.ilt.columbia.edu/books/cambr_com/cc10.html

Electronic Reserves (Login to My UW-Madison at http://my.wisc.edu/  using your campus NetID and password.
Click the tab labeled 'Academics'  Look under 'Course Resources'  Click 'Library/Reserves' to access your library course materials.)

1. “Life of Dante,” Giuseppe Mazzotta, in: R. Jacoff, ed., The Cambridge companion to Dante, Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1993.

2. “The vita nuova,” Thomas G. Bergin, in: Dante, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Co., 1965.

3. “Convivo,” Paget Toynbee, in: Dante Alighieri: His life his works, NY: Harper Torchbooks, 1965.

4. “De monarchia & De vulgari eloquentia,” Paget Toynbee, in: Dante Alighieri: His life his works, NY: Harper Torchbooks, 1965.

More supplementary readings

Primary works:

Dante's minor works (Vita Nuova, Rime, Convivio, Monarchia, De Vulgari Eloquentia, Epistles)
Virgil, The Aeneid
Ovid, Metamorphoses
Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy

Secondary works:

William Anderson, Dante the Maker
Erich Auerbach, Dante: Poet of the Secular World
Teodolinda Barolini, Dante's Poets and The Undivine Comedy
Thomas G. Bergin, Dante
The Cambridge Companion to Dante (ed. R. Jacoff)
Marc Cogan, The Design in the Wax: The Structure of the Divine Comedy and Its Meaning
Dante and Modern American Criticism (Annali d'Italianistica, 8; ed. Dino S. Cervigni)
Dante: Contemporary Perspectives (ed. A. A. Iannucci)
Dante for the New Millennium (ed. T. Barolini & W. Storey)
Dante Now: Current Trends in Dante Studies (ed. T. J. Cachey, Jr.)
Dante's Divine Comedy: Introductory Readings. 3 vols. Inferno-Purgatorio-Paradiso (ed. T. Wlassics)
Dante: The Critical Complex, 8 vols. (ed. R. Lansing)
Joan Ferrante, The Political Vision of the Divine Comedy
John Freccero, Dante: The Poetics of Conversion
Robert Hollander, Allegory in Dante's Commedia and Dante: A Life in Works
Lectura Dantis: Inferno. A Canto-by-Canto Commentary (ed. A. Mandelbaum et al.)
Joseph Anthony Mazzeo, Medieval Cultural Tradition in Dante's Comedy
Giuseppe Mazzotta, Dante, Poet of the Desert and Dante's Vision and the Circle of Knowledge
Helene Nolthenius, Duecento: The Late Middle Ages in Italy
Ricardo J. Quinones, Dante and Foundation Sacrifice in Dante's "Commedia"
Paul G. Ruggiers, Florence in the Age of Dante
John Scott, Dante's Political Purgatory and Understandting Dante
Charles S. Singleton, Commedia: Elements of Structure and Journey to Beatrice
Karl Vossler, Mediaeval Culture: An Introduction to Dante and His Times (2 vols.).

Some Dante Sites on the Web

Sites in English

http://www.the-orb.net/encyclop/culture/lit/italian/danindex.html [Dante Alighieri: a guide to online resources: a good starting place for access to other sites]

http://members.aol.com/lieberk/welcome.html [Otfried Lieberknecht's Home Page for Dante Studies; general resources for the Middle Ages]

http://dante.ilt.columbia.edu/new/ [Digital Dante Project, Columbia University; general Dante materials]

http://www.dantesociety.org/index.html [Dante Society of America web page with links to EBDSA and the American Bibliography]

http://danteworlds.laits.utexas.edu/ [Very fine site for the Comedy with images and commentary]

http://www.princeton.edu/pdp [Very good. Contains electronic versions of all Dante's works with English translations and an archive of visual materials]

http://dante.Dartmouth.EDU [Dartmouth Dante Project; excellent site for searchable medieval, Renaissance and modern commentaries on the Comedy]]

http://www.italnet.nd.edu//Dante/ [Renaissance Dante in Print, 1472-1629]

http://www.labyrinth.georgetown.edu [Many valuable resources for the study of the Middle Ages, Georgetown U.]

http://www.greatdante.net/ [Dante Alighieri on the Web]

http://www3.iath.virginia.edu/dante/ [The World of Dante: Inferno; U. of Virginia]

http://ebbs.english.vt.edu/medieval/medieval.ebbs.html [many web resources for the Middle Ages]

http://www.italianstudies.org/dante/ [SUNY-Stony Brook Dante site]

http://www.brown.edu/Departments/Italian_Studies/LD [Lectura Dantis on line]

http://www.wisdomportal.com/Dante/DanteResources.html [Dante Resources on the Internet]

Sites in Italian

http://www.dantesca.it/ {Italian Dante Society site with links; English version available]

http://www.mediasoft.it/dante/ [Text of the Comedy and commentary]

Site in Spanish

http://www.servisur.com/cultural/dante/ ;

Images shown in Class

To view some of the images shown in class, click here: 1-219 (Inferno 1-3), 220-313 (Inferno 4-17), 314-721 (Inferno 18-34; Purgatory 1-33; Paradise 1-33), The Celestial Rose

NOTES:  Florence , Dante's minor works , Structure of the Divine Comedy (1-4) , Convivio (The Banquet) , Unam Sanctam, Chronicle of John Villani , Divine Comedy (5-18) , Divine Comedy (19-34) , Purgatory , Paradiso

Back to Top