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ITAL2102 - Dante, Purgatorio

Value: 0.5 course units
Dr Catherine Keen
Teaching structure:
one unseen two-hour written examination (100%).

Module Description:

This module is the second in a series of modules on Dante which starts with the Inferno (ITAL1105- Background to Dante and Inferno) and concludes with the Dante option for final-year students, ITAL4116- Dante, Divina Commedia. In this module, we focus on the Purgatorio, combining close reading of selected cantos with discussion of the broader historical and intellectual background to Dante’s ideas. Topics include aspects of Dante's thought on sin and salvation; politics and leadership; poetry and the visual arts; dreams; the body and the soul. The module also emphasises analysis of the formal and stylistic features of Dante’s poetic practice (allegory, imagery, etc).

Preparatory Reading and Set Texts:

  • Dante Alighieri, Purgatorio. The whole of Purgatorio is prescribed, but there are eleven cantos earmarked for close study: 1, 2, 6, 9, 11, 16, 21, 23, 26, 30, 33.
  • Recommended Italian editions of the Divina Commedia (with extensive commentaries): Sapegno, Bosco/Reggio and Chiavacci Leonardi.
  • Recommended English translations: Singleton (prose), Kirkpatrick (verse) or Musa (verse). 
  • John Scott, Understanding Dante (Notre Dame, Notre Dame University Press, 2005).
  • Robin Kirkpatrick, Dante: The Divine Comedy (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press 2004).