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ENGL409: Dante

Unit 3: Purgatorio   We will continue our critical study of Dante by looking at the second section of The Divine Comedy, titled The Purgatorio.  In The Purgatorio, Dante continues his trip through the afterlife with a journey to the top of Mount Purgatory, led by the poet Virgil.  In this unit, we will consider the representation of the seven “terraces” in a specifically Christian context, which will enrich our reading of the text.  In addition, we will look closely at the ways in which this section of Dante’s work reflects the growing Medieval interest in geography, science, and literature.  Perhaps most importantly, we will monitor Dante’s evolving psychological concepts of sin. 

Unit 3 Time Advisory
This unit should take you 36 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 3.1: 6 hours

☐    Subunit 3.2: 15 hours

☐    Subunit 3.3: 15 hours

Unit3 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  • Define the term “purgatory” in the traditional, Christian sense.
  • Outline the ways in which Purgatorio is an example of vision literature.
  • Cite specific examples of the repetition of the number nine in Purgatorio, and identify the significance of this number.
  • Explain the importance of the “woman as truth” motif.
  • Explain the significance of the biblical post-crucifixion theme.
  • Describe the use of nostalgia in Purgatorio, as well as the tension between old and new in the narrative.
  • Define and explain the importance of the term “alta.”

  • Reading: The World of Dante’s version of Dante’s The Purgatorio Link: The World of Dante’s version of Dante’s The Purgatorio (HTML)
     
    Also available in:
     
    Google Books
     
    Kindle ($0.95)
     
    Instructions: Please read the entire text of Dante’s The Purgatorio.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above. 

3.1 Issues of Context: Purgatory, Myth, and Science   3.1.1 Traditional Conceptions of Purgatory   - Reading: Catholic Encyclopedia’s “Purgatory” Link: Catholic Encyclopedia’s “Purgatory” (PDF)
 
Instructions: For a discussion of the traditional idea of purgatory, please read the short encyclopedia article linked here.
 
This material is in the public domain. 

3.1.2 The Location of Purgatory   - Lecture: Yale University: Dr. Giuseppe Mazzotta’s “Purgatory I, II” Link: Yale University: Dr. Giuseppe Mazzotta’s “Purgatory I, II” (YouTube)
 
Also available in:
 
Flash, Quicktime, MP3, HTML
 
Instructions: Please listen to the lecture in its entirety, paying close attention to the discussion of purgatory as a physical location.
 
Terms of Use: The article above is released under a Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial-ShareAlike License 3.0 (HTML).  It is attributed to (Dr. Giuseppe Mazzotta) and the original version can be found {here}(HTML).

3.1.3 References to Classical Myth   - Reading: Stony Brook Dante Project’s “Introduction to The Purgatorio” Link: Stony Brook Dante Project’s “Introduction to The Purgatorio (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read the introduction to the text linked here, which comments on the mythological and biblical allusions in the text.
                                    
Terms of Use: The linked material above has been reposted by the kind permission of (James Finn Cotter), and can be viewed in its original form here (HTML).  Please note that this material is under copyright and cannot be reproduced in any capacity without explicit permission from the copyright holder. 

3.1.4 The Text as Vision Literature   - Reading: Northern Virginia Community College: Diane Thompson’s “Vision Literature” Link: Northern Virginia Community College: Diane Thompson’s “Vision Literature” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entirety of the short commentary on how Dante’s Purgatorio fits into the traditional concept of vision literature.  As you read, be sure to consider the concept of purgatory itself as a type of vision that cleanses humanity’s sins.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above. 

3.2 The Tour of the Seven Terraces   - Web Media: The World of Dante’s “Purgatory Chart” Link: The World of Dante’s “Purgatory Chart”  (HTML)
 
Instructions: You may want to refer to this chart for a visual illustration of the seven terraces in Dante’s The Purgatorio.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above. 

3.2.1 Ante-Purgatory   - Reading: University of Texas at Austin: Guy P. Raffa’s “Ante-Purgatory” and “Valley of Rulers” Link: University of Texas at Austin: Guy P. Raffa’s "Ante-Purgatory" (PDF) and "Valley of Rulers" (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read both short sections linked here, which provide a basic commentary of the text.
 
Terms of Use: The material above has been reposted with permission for educational use by (Guy P. Raffa).  It can be viewed in its original form {here}(HTML) and {here}(HTML) respectively.

3.2.2 First Terrace: The Proud   - Reading: University of Texas at Austin: Guy P. Raffa’s “Terrace 1: Pride” Link: University of Texas at Austin: Guy P. Raffa’s “Terrace 1: Pride” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read the information linked here for a discussion of the themes, people, and symbols in the first terrace.
 
Terms of Use: The material above has been reposted with permission for educational use by (Guy P. Raffa).  It can be viewed in its original form {here}(HTML).

3.2.3 Second Terrace: The Envious   - Reading: University of Texas at Austin: Guy P. Raffa’s “Terrace 2: Envy” Link: University of Texas at Austin: Guy P. Raffa’s "Terrace 2: Envy" (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read the information linked here about the second terrace.
 
Terms of Use: The material above has been reposted with permission for educational use by (Guy P. Raffa).  It can be viewed in its original form {here}(HTML).

3.2.4 Third Terrace: The Wrathful   - Reading: University of Texas at Austin: Guy P. Raffa’s “Terrace 3: Wrath” Link: University of Texas at Austin: Guy P. Raffa’s “Terrace 3: Wrath” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read the information here about the third terrace.
 
Terms of Use: The material above has been reposted with permission for educational use by (Guy P. Raffa).  It can be viewed in its original form {here}(HTML).

3.2.5 Fourth Terrace: The Slothful   - Reading: University of Texas at Austin: Guy P. Raffa’s “Terrace 4: Sloth” Link: University of Texas at Austin: Guy P. Raffa’s "Terrace 4: Sloth" (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read this section on the fourth terrace for more about the figures and themes in this part of Dante’s text.
 
Terms of Use: The material above has been reposted with permission for educational use by (Guy P. Raffa).  It can be viewed in its original form {here}(HTML). 

3.2.6 Fifth Terrace: The Covetous   - Reading: University of Texas at Austin: Guy P. Raffa’s “Terrace 5: Avarice and Prodigality” Link: University of Texas at Austin: Guy P. Raffa’s "Terrace 5: Avarice and Prodigality" (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read the information linked here on the fifth terrace.
 
Terms of Use: The material above has been reposted with permission for educational use by (Guy P. Raffa).  It can be viewed in its original form {here}(HTML).

3.2.7 Sixth Terrace: The Gluttonous   - Reading: University of Texas at Austin: Guy P. Raffa’s “Terrace 6: Gluttony” Link: University of Texas at Austin: Guy P. Raffa’s “Terrace 6: Gluttony” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read the information linked here in its entirety for a discussion of the fifth terrace.
 
Terms of Use: The material above has been reposted with permission for educational use by (Guy P. Raffa).  It can be viewed in its original form {here}(HTML).

3.2.8 Seventh Terrace: The Lustful   - Reading: University of Texas at Austin: Guy P. Raffa’s “Terrace 7: Lust” Link: University of Texas at Austin: Guy P. Raffa’s “Terrace 7: Lust”(PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read this section for more about the themes in the seventh terrace.
 
Terms of Use: The material above has been reposted with permission for educational use by (Guy P. Raffa).  It can be viewed in its original form {here}(HTML).

3.2.9 The Earthly Paradise   - Reading: University of Texas at Austin: Guy P. Raffa’s “Terrestrial Paradise” Link: University of Texas at Austin: Guy P. Raffa’s "Terrestrial Paradise" (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read the section linked here, which focuses on the representation of earthly paradise.
 
Terms of Use: The material above has been reposted with permission for educational use by (Guy P. Raffa).  It can be viewed in its original form {here}(HTML).

3.3 Themes, Style, and Tropes   3.3.1 Reference to the Seven Deadly Sins and the Theological Virtues   - Reading: University of Texas at Austin: Guy P. Raffa’s “Virtues” and “Sins” Link: University of Texas at Austin: Guy P. Raffa’s “Virtues” (PDF) and “Sins” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read this short commentary on the representation of purgatory as a place for those who have rejected theological virtues and instead embraced the deadly sins.
 
Terms of Use: The material above has been reposted with permission for educational use by (Guy P. Raffa).  It can be viewed in its original form {here} (HTML) and {here}(HTML) respectively.

3.3.2 The Representation of Woman as Truth   - Reading: Dante Circle of Friends’ “Purgatory” Link: Dante Circle of Friends’ “Purgatory” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the short article linked here, which frames women—such as Beatrice and the Virgin—as the path to truth and light.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above. 

3.3.3 Reunion with Beatrice   - Reading: University of California’s eScholarship: John Laskin’s “The Entrance of Beatrice in Dante’s Purgatorio: Revelation, Duality, and Identity” Link: University of California’s eScholarship: John Laskin’s “The Entrance of Beatrice in Dante’s Purgatorio: Revelation, Duality, and Identity” (HTML)
 
Also available in:
 
PDF
 
Instructions: Please read the critical article linked here, which provides an excellent analysis of Beatrice’s re-introduction into the text.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above. 

3.3.4 The Narrator as Pilgrim   - Reading: California Polytechnic State University: Dr. Deborah Schwartz’s “Purgatorio” Link: California Polytechnic State University: Dr. Deborah Schwartz’s Purgatorio (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read this short review of the text for more about Dante’s journey as a type of religious pilgrimage. 
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above. 

3.3.5 Purgatory, Commerce, and Politics   - Reading: Columbia University Digital Dante Project’s version of Joan Ferrante’s The Political Vision of the Divine Comedy: “Exchange and Communication, Commerce and Language in the Comedy” Link: Columbia University Digital Dante Project’s version of Joan Ferrante’s The Political Vision of the Divine Comedy: “Exchange and Communication, Commerce and Language in the Comedy” (HTML)
 
Instructions: From Ferrante’s The Political Vision of the Divine Comedy, please read the chapter linked here for a discussion of the theme of commerce in The Purgatorio, as well the potential, and often negative, affects of trade on society.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above. 

3.3.6 Dream Symbolism   - Reading: University of Texas at Austin: Dante World’s “Dream of Eagle” and “Dream of Witch” Link: University of Texas at Austin: Dante World’s “Dream of Eagle” (PDF) and “Dream of Witch” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read the two brief entries linked here, which cover the function of dream symbolism in the text.
 
Terms of Use: The material above has been reposted with permission for educational,  use by (Guy P. Raffa).  It can be viewed in its original form {here} (HTML) and {here}(HTML) respectively.

3.3.7 Water, Fire Symbolism   - Reading: Montclair State University: Jean Alvares’s “Purgatorio: Purgatory” The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

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