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Dante’s Epic of Joy: Reading Paradiso with Dr. Joseph Luzzi

Dante’s Epic of Joy: Reading Paradiso with Dr. Joseph Luzzi


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Can't make this time? A video recording will be sent to all participants after the seminar.

What makes Dante’s Divine Comedy such essential reading today, even though it was written seven centuries ago? And why have so many readers throughout history rapturously praised the poetic majesty of Paradiso, which many believe to be the most beautiful of Dante’s three canticles? This seminar, led by Joseph Luzzi, the Asher B. Edelman Professor of Literature at Bard College, will explore the fascinating world of Dante’s epic poem in all its cultural and historical richness as we consider Dante’s relation to his beloved hometown of Florence, his lacerating experience of exile, and his lifelong devotion to his muse, Beatrice, among many other issues.

Our focus will be on Dante’s third and final canticle, Paradiso, which has enchanted readers for centuries because of its gorgeous language, meditations on human joy and transcendence, and extraordinary development of characters including Dante himself and his guide, Beatrice. Throughout our seminar, we will pay special attention to the originality and brilliance of Dante’s poetic vision, as we see how he transformed his great poem into one of the most influential works in literary history, both in Italy and throughout the world.

Joseph Luzzi received his Ph.D. from Yale University and is a Professor of Comparative Literature and Faculty Member in Italian Studies at Bard College, where he has taught since 2002 after being a visiting faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania. A frequent contributor to publications including the New York Times, TLS, and Chronicle of Higher Education, he is the author of 5 books, including "My Two Italies," a New York Times Editors' Choice selection and "In a Dark Wood: What Dante Taught Me About Grief, Healing, and the Mysteries of Love," a Vanity Fair “Must-Read” selection. His work has been translated into multiple languages and his many awards include a Yale College Teaching Prize, Dante Society of America Essay Prize, and Wallace Fellowship at Villa I Tatti, Harvard's Center for Italian Renaissance Studies. In 2017 he was named Cittadino Onorario/Honorary Citizen in Acri, Calabria, his Italian parents' birthplace. His next book is "Botticelli's Secret: The Lost Drawings and the Rediscovery of the Renaissance," which will be published by W. W. Norton. Professor Luzzi is the founder of the Virtual Book Club, an online community of readers dedicated to exploring some of the best books ever written. Learn more at JosephLuzzi.com.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 2 reviews
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J
Jim Goodridge (Chicago, US)
Dante: Poet of Hope

Dr. Luzzi's lecture on Dante's Paradiso was a pure joy. His thorough knowledge of Dante's epic, coupled with his deeply personal connection to the poet's work, was genuinely moving. It was courageous for Dr. Luzzi to recount the personal tragedy that led to his writing In a Dark Wood. His account added a layer of meaning to Dante's work and resonated, I'm sure, with all those who have suffered similar tragedies.
In these troubled and divisive times, we sorely need the genuine hopefulness of Dr. Luzzi. Finally, he said so eloquently, Paradiso is all about hope, arriving at a place where one has always wanted to be. "In his will is our peace." I thank Dr. Luzzi for redeeming these dark days by sharing both his scholarship and his personal connection to this timeless poem.

M
Monica Wolfe (Calabasas, US)
Approachable Dante

Dr. Luzzi's session was fascinating, enjoyable, full of content. Paradiso whet my appetite for the Inferno and Purgatory. I hope these will be available next.

Customer Reviews

Based on 2 reviews
100%
(2)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
J
Jim Goodridge (Chicago, US)
Dante: Poet of Hope

Dr. Luzzi's lecture on Dante's Paradiso was a pure joy. His thorough knowledge of Dante's epic, coupled with his deeply personal connection to the poet's work, was genuinely moving. It was courageous for Dr. Luzzi to recount the personal tragedy that led to his writing In a Dark Wood. His account added a layer of meaning to Dante's work and resonated, I'm sure, with all those who have suffered similar tragedies.
In these troubled and divisive times, we sorely need the genuine hopefulness of Dr. Luzzi. Finally, he said so eloquently, Paradiso is all about hope, arriving at a place where one has always wanted to be. "In his will is our peace." I thank Dr. Luzzi for redeeming these dark days by sharing both his scholarship and his personal connection to this timeless poem.

M
Monica Wolfe (Calabasas, US)
Approachable Dante

Dr. Luzzi's session was fascinating, enjoyable, full of content. Paradiso whet my appetite for the Inferno and Purgatory. I hope these will be available next.