Fall 2010 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
This course focuses on the great Christian epic of Western literature, Dante's Divine Comedy. We will start by looking at the antecedents to Dante's poetry in the courtly poetry of southern France, the courtly poetry of the Sicilian School, and mainland Italian poets who were Dante's predecessors and contemporaries.
We will then read Dante's Vita Nuova and all three canticles (Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso) of his Divine Comedy. Knowledge of Italian is not a requirement.
Thomas Cahill, Mysteries of the Middle Ages
Dante, The Divine Comedy (I prefer the Mandelbaum translation)
Vita Nuova (I prefer the Musa translation)
William Hart, Evil: A Primer
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
There will be a weekly short-answer quiz, fifteen in all. I will take your ten highest scores, add them, and curve them to determine a grade for this component (40%).
There will be three short (800-1,000 word) papers, In the first paper, you will attempt to convince me and your fellow students that one figure in Hell deserves to be promoted to Purgatory (20%).
In the second paper, you will use a persona you have created using an online Hell quiz and describe how he or she reformed and were able to go to Purgatory (20%).
For the third paper, you will argue for a contemporary famous individual being worthy of inclusion in a specific sphere of Heaven (20%).