The Divine Comedy" /> <span>Dante's "Purgatorio": A 700th-Anniversary Exploration of <span style="font-style:italic">The Divine Comedy</span></span> fullscreen background
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LIT 59 — Dante's "Purgatorio": A 700th-Anniversary Exploration of The Divine Comedy

Quarter: Winter
Day(s): Mondays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 9 weeks
Date(s): Jan 11—Mar 22
Time: 7:00—9:05 pm (PT)
Drop Deadline: Jan 13
Units: 2
Tuition: $495
Instructor(s): Nicholas Jenkins
Status: Registration opens Nov 30, 8:30 am (PT)
Please Note: No class on January 18 and February 15. In addition, some of our refund deadlines have changed. See this course's drop deadline above and click here for the full policy.
Winter
Live Online(About Formats)
Mondays
7:00—9:05 pm (PT)
Date(s)
Jan 11—Mar 22
9 weeks
Drop By
Jan 13
2 Units
Fees
$495
Instructor(s):
Nicholas Jenkins
Registration opens Nov 30, 8:30 am (PT)
Please Note: No class on January 18 and February 15. In addition, some of our refund deadlines have changed. See this course's drop deadline above and click here for the full policy.
Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comedy, written in the 14th century, is a spiritual and poetic epic like no other. It was composed after Dante’s political career had ended in failure and forced exile had left him in a kind of living hell. Epic poems are usually the stories of journeys; The Divine Comedy is the story of the soul’s progress away from sin and toward God. The first section of Dante's three-part epic took us deep into the sordid and pathos-ridden company of the damned. In part two, starting on an Easter Sunday, Dante turns back slowly and arduously toward the light, climbing the seven terraces of Mount Purgatory with his Roman guide Virgil and later, entering the Earthly Paradise with his spiritual muse Beatrice. Like “Inferno,” “Purgatorio” is filled with a rich gallery of highly individualized sinners, all attempting to work off the consequences of their earthly failings and, through spiritual growth in the afterlife, eventually to be admitted to eternal bliss in Heaven. The poem overflows with vignettes and encounters of eerie, haunting beauty as well as strange prophecies and enigmas. Our course will be a climb through the poem that parallels Dante's progress on the mountain, as step by step, line by line, we climb into an understanding of this poignant, challenging, and unforgettable work.

The reading for this course will be in English and presupposes no knowledge of the Middle Ages or medieval Italian.

This course is the second in a three-part series on Dante's "The Divine Comedy." While these courses build upon one another, each course can be taken independently as well.

Nicholas Jenkins, Associate Professor of English, Stanford

Nicholas Jenkins is the primary investigator for Kindred Britain, a digital humanities website that traces relationships among nearly thirty thousand British people. He has contributed to the London Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement, The New York Times Book Review, The New Republic, and The New Yorker. He received a DPhil from the University of Oxford.

Textbooks for this course:

(Recommended) Robert M. Durling, Ronald L. Martinez (Ed.), Purgatorio: The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri, Vol. 2 (ISBN 978-0195087451)
(Required) Dante Alighieri, Mark Musa (Trans.), The Divine Comedy, Vol. II: Purgatory (ISBN 978-0140444421)
DOWNLOAD THE PRELIMINARY SYLLABUS » (subject to change)