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CLS 131 — The Art of The Divine Comedy

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Tuesdays
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 5 weeks
Date(s): Oct 2—Oct 30
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm
Drop Deadline: Oct 15
Unit: 1
Grade Restriction: No letter grade
Tuition: $315
Instructor(s): Herant Katchadourian
7:00—8:50 pm
Oct 2—Oct 30
5 weeks
Drop By
Oct 15
1 Unit
Grade Restriction
No letter grade
Herant Katchadourian
Dante’s Divine Comedy is the greatest work in Italian literature. Since it first appeared in 1300, Dante’s narrative poem has inspired a vast body of art, including wonderful illustrated editions of the medieval classic. This course will provide a survey of the illustrated editions of The Divine Comedy by artists ranging from Botticelli, Hieronymus Bosch, and Pieter Bruegel, to William Blake, Gustave Doré, and some more recent contemporary artists.

The course will start with an introduction to The Divine Comedy and the artistic renderings of Dante’s depictions of Hell. From there, we will move through the stages of Purgatory, which correspond to the seven Cardinal Sins—Pride, Envy, Anger, Sloth, Avarice, Gluttony, and Lust. Illustrations depicting the Cardinal Sins make for some memorable art, to be sure. Finally, like Dante, we will end with Paradise. Throughout the course, we will be reminded that art and literature can endure for centuries, partly because they speak to our personal lives and resonate with us psychologically. As we explore The Divine Comedy and the illustrations of the Cardinal Sins, we will consider the psychological dimensions of Dante’s timeless work and tap into the modern psychology to enrich our appreciation of the text.

Herant Katchadourian, Professor of Psychiatry and Human Biology, Emeritus, Stanford; Former President, Flora Family Foundation

Herant Katchadourian has served as vice provost and dean of undergraduate studies at Stanford. He received the Dinkelspiel, Lyman, and ASSU awards and has been selected seven times as Outstanding Professor and Class Day speaker. In addition to his work in psychiatry, much of Katchadourian’s research and publication over the past several decades has been in the behavioral sciences and their relationship to society and culture.

Textbooks for this course:

(Optional) Alighieri Dante (Author), Henry Francis Cary (Translator) , The Divine Comedy (ISBN 978-1721250097)