Dante and the European Middle Ages

This course is a careful and philological reading Dante’s Divine Comedy, an undisputed masterwork of world literature. As the Italian poet narrates his vision of the world beyond, we will journey with him through Hell to Purgatory and ascend to Paradise and finally return to earth. We will pay special attention to the historical, intellectual and social world of the European Middle Ages and the fraught legacy of the classical tradition. We will experience the sublime and terrifying grandeur of his cosmic vision, discuss theology and revelation, the state of souls in the afterlife, the primacy of poetry as an intellectual and spiritual activity, the nature of art and beauty, the relationship between pagan myths and Christian mysteries, and the medieval encyclopaedia of classical learning and religious doctrine. Suitable for students who were inspired by the Odyssey and the Ramayana anyone interested in imaginative literature in general. This course satisfies requirements in the Literature Major.

The knowledge that students will acquire in this course will be: a familiarity with the European Middle Ages, an understanding the foundations of epic as a literary genre, a grasp of one of the key texts of Western literature. The skills acquired in this course will be the ability to: think critically about literary and philosophical ideas; analyse complex texts closely and contextually; construct arguments on difficult topics such as the doctrine of transubstantiation and allegory; develop a sustained program of research in the humanities.

Pre-requisite(s): YCC1111 Literature and Humanities 1; and YCC1112 Literature andHumanities 2