During this three-part course, led by award-winning author, scholar, and professor Joseph Luzzi, we will discover what makes Virgil’s great work “tick” by exploring the brilliant formal and thematic qualities that give The Aeneid its unusual force, even now, two millennia after it was composed.
We invite you to explore the lecture outlines below for additional details. And to experience additional seminars and courses being led by Dr. Luzzi, please click here.
Our first session will introduce us to the major issues and concerns of Virgil’s epic poem, especially the character of its protagonist, Aeneas “the pious,” his struggle to find a “new Rome,” and his star-crossed love with the Carthaginian Queen Dido, as we focus on the Aeneid, Books 1–4.
Lecture Two: From the Underworld to the Battlefield
Our second session will take us through the dramatic visit of Aeneas to the Underworld, where he meets the spirit of his father—and the ghost of his lost love Dido—and will also discuss the contentious arrival of Aeneas at the site of the future Roman Empire, as we focus on Aeneid, Books 5–8.
Lecture Three: Triumph and Disaster
Our third and final session will explore the mix of “triumph” and “disaster” in the series of conclusive battles between Aeneas’s Trojan armies and the Latin tribes, culminating in the bloody encounter between Aeneas and Turnus, a character modeled on Homer’s Achilles, as we focus on Aeneid, Books 9–12.
About Your Expert
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.
When will I receive the Zoom link?
This conversation is suitable for all ages.
90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.
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This was my first course with Dr. Luzzi, but it will certainly not be my last. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment. His enthusiasm for the classics, his knowledge of them, and his skill in bringing his students 'along for the ride' is truly special. Dr. Luzzi gives me great hope that the classics will remain alive and relevant forever. Keep up your fine work, Dr. Luzzi, and your students will most definitely follow.
This is the third course I've taken with Dr. Luzzi, the others being on The Iliad and the Odyssey. All of them have been excellent. Dr. Luzzi's courses are well-organized, informative and memorable. His enthusiasm for his subjects is infectious. I intend to take more of his courses!
Dr. Luzzi is an outstanding teacher. This was a very good introduction to The Aeneid, including the reasons why it was written, how it differs from the Homeric epics, and the most important parts/scenes of the book. I very much enjoyed this course.
Was very insightful.