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ITALG003 - Dante: Divina Commedia


Value: 30 credits
Tutor: Professor John Took
Teaching structure:
Prerequisite: A good knowledge of Italian.
Assessment: One essay of 6,000 words. Students must obtain the approval of the MA module tutor for their chosen essay topic.

Module Description:

This module offers the opportunity for a study both of the Commedia itself in its entirety and of some of Dante’s other works in the areas of lyric poetry, moral and political philosophy, and linguistic and literary theory. Students will be invited to consider a range of issues from the philosophical and theological to the narratological, the poetic and the rhetorical, and they will be encouraged to familarise themselves with the main lines of European and Anglo-American Dante scholarship. All applicants for this module should have a good reading knowledge of Italian.

Preparatory Reading and Set Texts:

Detailed bibliography will be provided at the beginning of the module


Divina Commedia

Text: any modern annotated edn., but especially recommended are N. Sapegno (1955-57 onwards) and U. Bosco & G. Reggio (Florence, 1979 onwards). Translation (facing), J. D. Sinclair, OUP, 1971; C. S. Singleton (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977). The current critical text: G. Petrocchi, La Commedia secondo l’antica vulgata, Milan, 1966-67. Good translations are also available by Mark Musa and Robin Kirkpatrick in Penguin Books. The notes in the old Dorothy Sayers translation (also in Penguin) are excellent.

General and introductory:

  • Anderson, W., Dante the Maker (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1980).
  • Barnes, J. and C. Ó Cuilleanáin (eds), Dante and the Middle Ages (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1995).
  • Bemrose, S., A New Life of Dante (Exeter: Exeter University Press, 2000).
  • Boyde, P., Dante, Philomythes and Philosopher: Man in the Cosmos (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981).
  • idem, Perception and Passion in Dante’s Comedy, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993).
  • Cachey, T. J., Dante Now: Current Trends in Dante Studies (Notre Dame and London: Notre Dame University Press, 1995).
  • Grayson, C. (ed.), The World of Dante (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980).
  • Jacoff, R. (ed), The Cambridge Companion to Dante, 2nd edn (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007).
  • Kirkpatrick, R., The Divine Comedy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987; 2nd edn 2004: Dante. The Divine Comedy. A Student Guide).
  • Malato, E., Dante (Rome: Salerno, 1999).
  • Padoan, G., Introduzione a Dante (Florence, 1975).
  • Petrocchi, G., 3 short paperback volumes on the Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso (Milan, 1978).
  • idem, Vita di Dante (Bari: Laterza, 1984).
  • Scott, J., Undersanding Dante (Notre Dame, Ind.,: Notre Dame University Press, 2004)
  • Waley, D., The Italian City Republics (London: Longman, 1975).