Rising sophomores are especially sought for a new course on one of the greatest thinkers and writers in history, Dante Alighieri. On the 700th anniversary of his death, this course in history, medieval studies, and World Literatures in translation is open to all class years.
HIST 236: Dante in His World: Politics, Poetry, Religion
Instructor: Gary Shaw
Dante has been famous since his life, especially for his poem “The Divine Comedy,” including its depictions of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. The book reveals his massive knowledge and his deep and complex commitments to love, hope, and the good. It might be less well known that he was also an active politician and a political theorist, as well as a student of literature and style.
This course will examine the body of his work and use it to outline some of the great political, moral, and religious crises of Europe around the year 1300, many issues that continue to today, such as the importance of ethical and political commitment and courage in public life, but also the dangers of false hierarchies and one’s own ego. Readings will focus on Dante’s own writings, including “The Divine Comedy,” “The New Life” and “On Monarchy.”