Dante’s Divine Comedy

divinecomedyDante’s Divine Comedy
William R. Cook, Ph.D. and Ronald B. Herzman, Ph.D.
The Great Courses
Audio download $34.95 when on sale
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This is a fascinating course. William Cook and Ronald B. Herzman are first-class lecturers. I very much enjoyed their course on St. Augustine’s Confessions. They are equally effective in discussing The Divine Comedy.

I have to admit never having read Dante. My three-volume Penguin Classics set disappeared somewhere along the way. I’m still not sure that I’ll carve out the time to read the work, but at least this course has given me a lot of insight into The Divine Comedy.

Cook and Herzman offer a lot of insight into this great work. They discuss how Dante meets both famous figures and figures involved in the local political strife of his time. He meets both historical and fictional characters, and he meets both Christians and Pagans. They discuss the intricate structure of the work, and that parallel structure between the books.

They point out that many people read only The Inferno and think that they have gained all Dante wants to say. They make clear that you need to also read Purgatorio and Paradiso to fully grasp Dante’s vision.

This is a marvelous introduction to the Divine Comedy.

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