What is the course about?
The Divine Comedy is probably the most important and famous work of Italian literature. A few centuries after its publication this epic poem was almost ignored, only to be rediscovered in the 19th century, exerting a significant influence on so many writers in many different countries. But what is it that makes it one of the greatest works of world literature? And why is it so important for the Italian language?
What will we cover?
We will first look at the historical and cultural events that inspired Dante to write The Divine Comedy, before exploring its structure, main themes and language. We will also examine the various interpretations of the journey in the afterlife. This will be combined with a reading of a selection of its cantos (in English).
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- provide information on the historical background of Florence in the 13th century
- describe the role and function of Dante's guides
- provide an example of how Dante included his personal view in the poem.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an introductory course and does not require any knowledge of Italian or previous readings about Dante. However, a good grasp of English is necessary to make the most of the session and to fully appreciate the complex syntax of Dante's poem.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
The session will be a mixture of tutor-led lecture combined with group discussion, readings and opportunities to ask questions. Some group or pair activities will be included. A further reading list will be provided at the end.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
The extracts from the cantos will be provided by the tutor. Bring writing material if you wish to take notes.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Any other literature class. Please check our website under History, Culture and Writing at www.citylit.ac.uk for more information.
General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details