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Dante's Divine Comedy Lecture

Dante's Divine Comedy

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Publisher's Summary

Professors Cook and Herzman provide you with an illuminating introduction to one of the greatest works ever written. One of the most profound and satisfying of all poems, The Divine Comedy (or Commedia) of Dante Alighieri is a book for life. In a brilliantly constructed narrative of his imaginary guided pilgrimage through the three realms of the Christian afterlife, Dante accomplished a literary task of astonishing complexity.

But the full achievement of the Commedia goes beyond anything merely literary. In these twenty-four lectures, as you follow Dante on his journey, you'll learn how medieval literature offers insights into fundamental questions: What is the quality of our moral actions? How does spiritual transformation come about? What is the nature of good and evil, virtue and vice, sin and sanctity? Why is the world so full of strife? How do we go on when we lose the things we love? You'll discover why, in the centuries since the Commedia was written, not one of these questions has lost its force. Moreover, you'll hear Dante address them in a demanding and innovative Italian verse form (terza rima) that makes the Commedia one of the great virtuoso pieces of world literature.

With the guidance of these two master professors, you'll learn invaluable background information on Dante's life and times; why Dante wrote the Commedia; how to approach the various English editions available; and how each part of the poem is connected to what has come before. But above all, you'll understand why the Commedia is not a puzzle to be solved or a book to be read and put aside-but a mystery whose beauty and richness is to be constantly savored.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2001 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2001 The Great Courses

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.6 (175 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Patti Richmond, VA, United States 08-25-13
    Patti Richmond, VA, United States 08-25-13 Member Since 2013

    50 something geek.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Commedia for Modern Readers"
    Would you listen to Dante's Divine Comedy again? Why?

    Yes I will definitely listen to this again. Its chalk full of information on the symbolism, characters, and political climate that existed in Italy around the time Dante wrote the Commedia. The first listen has given me an over view of the work. I will go back to fill in the details with my own copy of the translation so that I can experience the work as it was meant to be experienced.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Dante's "Divine Comedy" is a classic that is somewhat inaccessible to many readers today who don't have a degree in Italian history, politics and art. This presentation cuts through all that and allow everyone to access the themes and meanings in the work. The poem is presented line by line with descriptions of every line and character. Its provides an excellent way for a modern reader to enjoy this extraordinary work.


    What about Professor Ronald B. Herzman and Professor William R. Cook ’s performance did you like?

    The performance is presented in a clear and easy to listen to lecture format. Its broken down into 30 minute sessions which are excellent for the drive into work so its easy to bring Dante along.


    20 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Linz 02-04-15
    David Linz 02-04-15 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    "Incredible, best audio course I have ever taken"

    I was really caught off guard by how enlightening this course was. The authors immediately dispel the common perception of the Comedia as some kind of poetic revenge fantasy and break through to the core of Dante's vision. Introducing the readers to a bit of the necessary history, the course is then able to spring board into Dante's perspective on sin and virtue. One warning, this course necessarily only skims the surface of what is to be found in The Divine Comedy. Nevertheless it is a great first step for anyone seeking to understand the great Florentine poet!

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JuanAndRaquel 07-07-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Historical Dante's Commedia"
    What made the experience of listening to Dante's Divine Comedy the most enjoyable?

    The course is taught by two professors, apparently Catholic, and obviously well versed with Dante and one of them with Church history.


    Any additional comments?

    The course, however, is more like a history of who was who in Dante as well as the politics of his time, although they certainly touch upon the philosophical and theological points that Dante makes throughout.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Rothe 09-06-15
    Jeff Rothe 09-06-15 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A must read"

    a great way to meditate and self reflect 30 minutes per day. will listen to it again

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Todd Morehead City, NC, USA 01-16-15
    Todd Morehead City, NC, USA 01-16-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "Wonderful teachers"

    Excellent pair of lecturers. Made the subject matter very accessible and understandable. Highly recommend this as an adjunct to your reading of the poem

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christianne P. Erwin Reno, NV USA 05-11-16
    Christianne P. Erwin Reno, NV USA 05-11-16 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    "For your OWN Liberation.. Start here!"

    You will never experience Dante anywhere else, like you do with the story as being told by these two professors. So beautiful! I will have to do it again!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MARK CHILSON 04-14-16 Member Since 2015
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    "great overview w referrals to translations."

    Authors provide abgreat overview w referrals to translations. lively theological insertions to stay faithful to Dantes Weltanschauung.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Regina 02-18-16
    Regina 02-18-16 Member Since 2010
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    "life changing"

    Struggling to get into the poem without assistance, these two teachers were the key to unlocking the treasures of Dante and his divine comedy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pen Name 12-14-15
    Pen Name 12-14-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Modern Day Virgil's for Us Laymen"
    What made the experience of listening to Dante's Divine Comedy the most enjoyable?

    They did a great job guiding through the poem. After listening to the lectures I was well equipped to read and understand the poem on it's own terms. The penguin classic they recommend by Mike Musa provides excellent notes.

    If you have ever wanted to read this giant in Western literature, then get this course and get a book to read along.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Theodore 06-18-15
    Theodore 06-18-15 Listener Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great course"

    The best course - period. Clear, brilliant, entertaining, fascinating, informative... Excellent! Thank you so much! This is a must take course.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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  • Karen
    Barnsley, United Kingdom
    3/31/15
    Overall
    "A wonderful way to understand this masterpiece"

    Excellent teaching. Easy on the ear and a wonderful way in to this classic text. Full of interesting explanations and new thoughts for me on Dante

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Ian
    2/18/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Long Journey"

    This lecture series gives you exactly what it says. The tag-team lecturers take a few minutes to get used to, but its unnoticeable once you get going. It helps if you've read at least a synopsis of the poem and have a cursory understanding of Italian history, but they go pretty thoroughly into everything, so you could probably survive without any background read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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