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    Vassar College
   
 
  Nov 23, 2017
 
 
    
Catalogue 2017-2018
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ITAL 237 - Finding Dante: A Reader’s Guide to Getting Out of Hell

Semester Offered: Spring
1 unit(s)


As Jorge Luis Borges–the great Argentinian writer–once said, no one should deny oneself the pleasure of reading Dante’s Divine Comedy. This course offers you a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to read and discuss a masterpiece of world literature that inspired revolutionary artworks (such as Rodin’s “The Kiss” and “The Thinker”), and changed the lives of Michelangelo, James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, Franz Liszt, J.F. Kennedy, and many others at different times and in different walks of life. An epic poem about a journey of self-discovery, the Comedy defies all assumptions about literary genres, styles, and the meaning of narrative. The poem’s most daring challenge, however, confronts readers on their existential and ethical beliefs. Written during the dark times of Dante’s exile, in a world ridden with political instability, the Comedy voices a poet’s claim to have conquered death, only to discover his own inherent fragility and need for others. Such claim questions our modern understanding of the bonds that tie any individual to the whole of humanity. Balancing a full reading of the entire poem in translation, with in-depth discussions of the text, this course takes you on a journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise, addressing the same existential questions faced by the author: why is it worth living in the face of evil and violence? And what is our duty as members of the human community? Filippo Gianferrari.

Open to all classes.

May be counted towards the Italian major.

Two 75-minute periods.



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