COMP 221
Dante and the Medieval World Spring 2024
Division I

Class Details

This course explores Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy vis-à-vis the medieval world. Through a close reading of this epic poem, students will consider Dante’s use of language, allegory, and cultural knowledge to depict the afterlife and assess medieval society’s social, political, and religious systems. The course will also examine the poem’s relationship with global literature, art, and culture. We will read the Divine Comedy (with a focus on the Inferno) along with selections from the Aeneid, the Apocalypse of Saint Paul, the Voyage of Saint Brendan the Abbot, the Kitab al-Miraj, Ibn Fadlan and the Land of Darkness, and other texts that will help us depict a better idea of the global Middle Ages and the exchange of ideas. By the end of the course, students will have a deep understanding of Dante’s contributions to global cultural and literary traditions and how his work continues to inspire contemporary artists and thinkers. Students will develop critical analysis and research skills through class discussions and writing assignments.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 20
Expected: 20
Class#: 3934
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: No prior knowledge of Italian or the Middle Ages is necessary. Students will be evaluated on their participation through in-class and online discussions, three short mid-term papers, and a final project.
Prerequisites: None.
Enrollment Preferences: Comparative Literature majors, English majors.
Distributions: Division I

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