Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy (consisting of Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso) is arguably one of the most famous examples of the written word in human history; it’s like the Beyonce of world literature. It has been deconstructed and studied ever since the 1300s, a testament to its staying power. Now anyone with a curious mind and a library card (people still go to libraries, right?) could check this long-form poem out, but most people don’t have that kind of time. Similarly, those receiving a top-flight education from prestigious universities could learn all they ever wanted to know about Dante in school. But not everyone has access to a friggin’ Yale University lecture.
Until now, that is.
Yale University is offering a free online course taught by Giusepe Mazzotta. Seriously, you can brag to everyone you know that you took a class at Yale just by watching the video below.
Here’s the official course description:
“The course is an introduction to Dante and his cultural milieu through a critical reading of the Divine Comedy and selected minor works (Vita nuova, Convivio, De vulgari eloquentia, Epistle to Cangrande). An analysis of Dante’s autobiography, the Vita nuova, establishes the poetic and political circumstances of the Comedy‘s composition. Radings of Inferno, Purgatory and Paradise seek to situate Dante’s work within the intellectual and social context of the late Middle Ages, with special attention paid to political, philosophical and theological concerns. Topics in the Divine Comedy explored over the course of the semester include the relationship between ethics and aesthetics; love and knowledge; and exile and history.”
My brain hurts just from reading that.
You can watch all 24 lectures from the course on YouTube. Good luck, nerds.