Discover why Dante's Divine Comedy has inspired writers and readers for nearly 700 years in this engaging interdisciplinary discussion of some of the select canti (sections of poems) from the Purgatorio, Inferno, and Paradiso in turn. We will delve deep into the fantastical world of Dante's imagined afterlife and discuss his writing not only in its medieval context but also with an eye to its enduring relevance to modern-day readers.
This course is an introduction to Dante and the history of Florence through critical reading and discussion of the entirety of Divine Comedy. Close readings of select canti will explore the literary, political, theological, and philosophical concerns of the poem to understand Dante's work within the intellectual and social context of the Middle Ages. Some of the central topics of the course will include Dante’s relationship to Florence, his relationship with the people he encounters, and the unique aspects of his vision of the afterlife, including a variety of thematic concerns such as Dante’s understanding of poetry, grace, love, and divine justice. We will also discuss how the Divine Comedy offers an enduring message for citizens of the modern world.
Led by an expert in Italian literature and culture, Kristin Stasiowski, Ph.D., this interactive seminar will introduce participants to Dante and the Divine Comedy through an in-depth discussion of the second volume of this masterpiece of world literature. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of the ways that Italian literature presents us with themes still relevant to us today.
Please Note: We don't suggest this course for learners who have already enjoyed Dr. Stasiowski's Dante-focused courses, as content will overlap significantly.
Lecture 1: Into the Abyss – Prologue to the Inferno
This lecture will cover the first few canti of the Inferno and offers an introduction to the major themes and issues of the Divine Comedy.
Lecture 2: Love, Lust, and Country Music Lyrics – Canto V of the Inferno
This lecture will offer an in-depth interdisciplinary investigation of Canto V of the Inferno and Dante's intertextual poetic brilliance.
Lecture 3: This Side of Paradise – Dante's Poets of Discord and the City of Dis
This lecture will discuss the various poets, teachers, and influencers that Dante features as sinners throughout the poem and will raise questions like: "what is the role of the artist in society today?"
Lecture 4: The Poetry of Purgatory
This lecture will cover a selection of canti of the Purgatori and offer an introduction to the major themes and issues of the historical and theological idea of Purgatory.
Lecture 5: The Path to Paradise
This lecture will cover a selection of canti of the Paradiso and offers an introduction to the major themes and issues and will discuss Dante's final vision of God.
Kristin Stasiowski, Ph.D. is the Assistant Dean of International Programs and Education Abroad for the College of Arts and Sciences and is also an Assistant Professor of Italian Language and Literature in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages at Kent State University. She received her Ph.D. from Yale University in Italian Language and Literature and has taught Italian language, literature, cinema, history, and culture in both Florence, Italy, and at Kent State. She recently published a chapter entitled "A Divine Comedy for All Time: Dante's Enduring Relevance for the Contemporary Reader" in Italian Pop Culture: Media, Product, Imageries. Rome, Italy: Viella Editrice s.r.. Her current research is focused on Dante, Boccaccio, and the modern poet Clemente Rebora.
How does it work?
This is a five-part course held weekly and hosted on Zoom. Please check the schedule above for the specific dates and times for each lecture.
When will I receive the Zoom link?
The link used to enter your Zoom room will be the same for each lecture in the course. It will be sent to the email address that was used to place your order 30 minutes prior to each session's start time.
What if I've already taken Dr. Stasiowski's other courses exploring the life and works of Dante?
For learners who have already enjoyed Dr. Stasiowski's Dante-focused courses, we would suggest that much of the same material will be covered in this course. This five-part course combines the highlights of Dr. Stasiowski's previous courses:
- To Hell and Back–Dante's Divine Comedy and Our World Today: A Three-Part Course with Dr. Kristin Stasiowski
- Dante's Divine Comedy–Purgatory: A Three-Part Course with Dr. Kristin Stasiowski
- Dante's Divine Comedy–Paradiso: A Three-Part Course with Dr. Kristin Stasiowski
Is there a reading list?
Though the course is open to participants with no background on this topic, there will be suggested readings made available for further investigation. Our recommended edition of the text is:
Inferno: The Divine Comedy, Volume 1 (Galaxy Books) Revised Edition
by Dante Alighieri (Author), John D. Sinclair (Translator)
Publisher : Oxford University Press; Revised edition (December 31, 1961)
● ISBN-10 : 0195004124
● ISBN-13 : 978-0195004120
How long are the lectures?
Each lecture is 90 minutes long with time included for Q&A.
How much is the course?
The course is $175 USD for five lectures.
Is a recording available?
Yes. All registered participants will be sent a recording within 48 hours of each event's conclusion.
This conversation is suitable for all ages.
90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.