ITAL3816 Dante's Inferno: a medieval masterpiece for the modern world

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 option in the ITLNB Italian Studies; ITLNI Italian Studies; ITLNA Italian Studies major sequences
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Society and Culture
  • Level 3 elective
This unit is a study of the Inferno, the first part of one of the great works of world literature, Dante's Divine Comedy. The unit focusses on the structure of the work and the nature and meaning of Dante's journey through the otherworld. From the first line, Dante states that his individual journey is actually the universal journey of the human condition. Though it is now 700 years since the Comedy was completed, interest in Dante continues to grow. The unit will analyse what this medieval masterpiece, so deeply rooted in the Italy of Dante's own time, has to say that appeals to modern readers. The focus will be on the themes of good and evil; suffering, justice and mercy; Church and State; freedom and desire; and how Dante finds poetic expression for the deepest questions that are part of the human condition.
Students are able to (1) demonstrate understanding of this medieval text and its relevance to the contemporary world; (2) relate single episodes in the text to the overall structure; (3) critically compare medieval and modern attitudes to questions of individual morality and social co-existence; and (4) analyse how Dante reworked biblical, classical, mythological and contemporary figures to construct his poetic universe.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) reading tests; (2) research essay; and (3) tutorial participation. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor John Kinder
Unit rules
any Level 2 Italian unit
Contact hours
Up to 3 hours per week.

Dante, The Inferno, translated and edited by Robert Hollander and Jean Hollander, Anchor Books.





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