GLITS 311 A: Literature Across Times

Autumn 2023
MW 1:30pm - 3:20pm / SAV 264
Section Type:
Joint Sections:
C LIT 361 A , ITAL 262 A
Beatrice Arduini
Syllabus Description (from Canvas):

ITAL 262 A: Dante's Divine Comedy

Jointly offered with

C LIT 361 B and GLITS 311 A

Follow us on Instagram @uw_fis and @uwtextualstudies

Instructor: Dr Beatrice Arduini  (

Class meets: MW 1:30 - 3:20 PM  SAV 264

Office hours: MW 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM (PDL C-249) and by appointment in person or via Zoom (please email me at to set up an appointment)

Teaching Assistant: Sergen Avci ( ) -- Office Hours: MW 12:00 - 1:00 PM (PDL C-230)

Course description:

This course is devoted to one of the most fascinating and influential masterpieces of Western literature, Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy. As readers we not only observe the pilgrim's journey through the afterlife, from the dark wood of error to the vision of truth, we participate in it as well, as we encounter questions about the nature of evil, the possibility for spiritual improvement, and the experience of true happiness. We will also discover surprising parallels with our own time, particularly now that the Italian government decreed March 25th to be National Dante Day in honor of the celebrated author as a “symbol of unity." The course is taught in English and offers optional W credit. Course image: Dante Alighieri by Domenico di Michelino, Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence (1465).

Learning objectives:

  • Introduce the major currents of late medieval literature and the main historical events of that period of time.
  • Discuss Dante’s major work, with particular emphasis on the historical and aesthetic significance of the Divine Comedy in the history of Medieval literature and European culture.
  • Improve critical thinking, reading, writing skills while examining some episodes of the poem using a variety of media.

Course requirements and grading:

15% Participation (discussions, annotations, personal reflections, and in-class group work)

10% 3 In-class Quizzes (the lowest grade will be dropped)

20% Discussion of Cantos (identifying themes, providing questions and participating in the discussion of cantos)

35% Long Live Dante Project (find and explain an example of citation of and/or reference to Dante and his work in modern or contemporary culture, or of your own creative interpretation)

20% Final Reflection (final stage of the Long Live Dante project on Manifold)

Writing Credits: If you wish to receive writing credits for this course, you will be required to write a 4-page first draft for your “Long Live Dante” assignment, and revise your research paper according to my suggestions and the suggestions of my Teaching Assistant, Sergen Avci ( who is going to do some of the grading. Please contact me at if you need further information. Students who complete the additional requirements will receive Ws on their transcripts; the other students in the course will not.

Required Books:

Dante Alighieri, Divine Comedy, translated by Allen Mandelbaum: all volumes Bantam Classics (Inferno 1980, Purgatorio 1982, and Paradiso 1984), OR any other translation with footnotes and endnotes.

Translations available online:

Digital Dante--The Divine Comedy: Poem (Petrocchi Edition), translations by Allen Mandelbaum (1980-84) and by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1867)

The Project Gutenberg eBook: The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1867)

Dante Lab Reader: Poem (Petrocchi Edition); Translations (Karl Streckfuss--German, 1854, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow--English, 1867, Alexandre Cioranescu--French, 1964); Commentaries (Robert Hollander--English, 200-2007)

Other useful websites (not an exhaustive list!):

The Dante Society of America

Canto per Canto: Conversations with Dante in our time

Dante Lab at Dartmouth College

Dante's Library (Duke University)

Danteworlds (University of Texas at Austin)

Digital Dante (Columbia University)

Discover Dante (University of Leeds)

Mapping Dante (University of Pennsylvania)

Princeton Dante Project

Società dantesca italiana

The World of Dante (University of Virginia)


Weekly Schedule

The weekly schedule may be changed at any time if necessary. I will communicate changes to the schedule via Canvas.


Catalog Description:
Studies in literary and cultural history, spanning multiple periods. Topics vary.
GE Requirements Met:
Arts and Humanities (A&H)
Last updated:
June 7, 2024 - 12:37 pm