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ITAL4116/ ITAL4916 - Dante, Divina Commedia

Value: 0.5 course units
Professor John Took
Teaching structure: Students from the Department of Italian reading for the Paradiso in particular will follow the whole module but will attend an additional series of tutorials dedicated to the final cantica.
Assessment: either one unseen three-hour written examination (ITAL4116) (100%) or one assessed 5000 word essay (ITAL4916) (100%).
Available to: This module is designed for final-year students from other departments wishing to take an option in early Italian literature as part of their own degree, but also incorporates the Paradiso module traditionally available to students in the Department of Italian.

Only in exceptional circumstances, and by agreement with the module tutor, will students of the Italian Department who have not followed the first- and second-year Inferno and Purgatorio modules be allowed to take this module.

Module Description:

The module covers the whole of the Commedia, offering a general examination of philosophical, theological and historical aspects of the poem, and of literary and stylistic matters through close reading of selected episodes. All students are expected to have a good reading knowledge of Italian.

Preparatory Reading and Set Texts:

Students are strongly recommended to read the whole of the Commedia, at least in translation, before the start of the module. There are several good parallel-text editions available, and we especially recommend those with translations by:

  • C. S. Singleton (Princeton University Press).
  • R. Kirkpatrick (Penguin).
  • M. Musa (Penguin). 

Good Italian annotated editions include those edited by

  • U. Bosco and G. Reggio (Le Monnier).
  • A. M. Chiavacci Leonardi (Mondadori).
  • N. Sapegno (La Nuova Italia).

Preliminary critical reading:

  • The Cambridge Companion to Dante, ed. R. Jacoff (Cambridge University Press).
  • J. Scott, Understanding Dante (Notre Dame University Press).