ENGL 157
Reading the 'Inferno'
Last Offered Fall 2019
Division I Writing Skills
This course is not offered in the current catalog

Class Details

This is an expository writing course, but also a journey through hell—more precisely, through Dante’s Inferno. Over the course of the semester, as we wind our way through the underworld, we will consider the circumstances of the damned, their guilt, their punishments, and the overall aims of Dante’s extraordinary vision. How and why are the condemned sentenced to an eternal afterlife in this underground kingdom of cruelty? What are we to make of the poem’s humor and malevolence, and how are we to understand its vast architecture? In writing about the fate of these sins and sinners we will focus on techniques to improve your critical reasoning and analytical skills with the goal of writing interesting and well-argued essays. Students will receive from the instructor timely comments on their writing skills, with suggestions for improvement.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 19
Class#: 2036
Grading: yes pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: four short 3-page essays and one 6- to 8-page essay
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills
WS Notes: The class is primarily design as a writing course. I plan on assigning series of three-page essays, one every other week, as we work our way through Dante's Inferno at the rate of three or four cantos per week. These shorter essays will be graded with comments, and either be peer reviewed, or short passages will be selected for class discussion and revision. This should provide sustained and structured feedback to the students. A final extended essay of six to eight pages will required.

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