Loading...

ENGL409: Dante

Unit 4: Paradiso   We will conclude the course with the final section of The Divine Comedy, in which Beatrice guides the poet through spheres of heaven, each of which is associated with levels of the angelic hierarchy.  As we read, we will continue to think about the text within the context of Medieval knowledge, science, and cosmology.  We will consider Dante’s construction of his world through references to the planets, as well as his explicit interest in Beatrice as a muse.  As we conclude our study of The Divine Comedy, we will also consider the effect of the text as a whole.  We will think critically about Dante’s classification of his poem as a “Divine Comedy” in conjunction with the conclusion and address other questions of genre.

Unit 4 Time Advisory
This unit should take you 36 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 4.1: 9 hours

☐    Subunit 4.2: 12 hours

☐    Subunit 4.3: 15 hours

Unit4 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  • Outline the medieval developments in science that influenced Dante’s understanding of cosmology and astronomy.
  • Trace the evolution of the poet-narrator across The Divine Comedy’s three distinct sections.
  • Outline the ways in which the poem’s rhythm and syntax influences the representation of the narrator.
  • Explain the connection between the planets and the liberal arts.
  • Explain the depiction of the relationship between Dante and Cicero, as presented in The Divine Comedy.
  • Compare the representations of Beatrice in each phase of the journey.
  • Trace the various uses of light imagery across The Divine Comedy’s three sections.

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

4.1 Issues of Context: Cosmology and Christianity   4.1.1 Medieval Cosmology and Astromony   - Reading: The World of Dante’s “Astronomy in the Divine Comedy” Link: The World of Dante’s “Astronomy in the Divine Comedy (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the short entry here for a discussion of astronomy in the text.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Web Media: The World of Dante’s “Christian Aristotelian Cosmos” Link: The World of Dante’s“Christian Aristotelian Cosmos” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please see the linked image for a visual representation of the Christian cosmological concept of organization, from which Dante draws his own vision of paradise.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

4.1.2 Medieval Scientific and Spiritual Knowledge   - Lecture: Yale University: Dr. Giuseppe Mazzotta’s “Paradise I, II” Link: Yale University: Dr. Giuseppe Mazzotta’s "Paradise I, II" (YouTube)
 
Also available in:
 
ITunes U, HTML, MP3, Flash
 
Instructions: Please listen to the entire lecture for a discussion of science and ethics in the text.
 
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).

4.1.3 Christian Predestination, Angels, and Mysticism   - Reading: Catholic Encyclopedia’s “Angels” Link: Catholic Encyclopedia’s “Angels” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read the linked encyclopedia entry on “angels,” which play a prominent role in Dante’s vision of paradise.  As you read, please pay close attention to the section titled “hierarchal organization”—a structure Dante used as the mirror for his nine spheres of paradise.  
 
This material is in the public domain.

4.1.4 History of Paradise and Politics   - Reading: Princeton Dante Project’s version of Dante’s De Monarchia; Catholic Encyclopedia’s “Unum Sanctum” Link:Princeton Dante Project’s version of Dante’sDe Monarchia; (HTML)
 
Also available in:
ePub format on Google Books
 
Catholic Encyclopedia’s “Unum Sanctum” (PDF)
 
Instructions: From Dante’s De Monarchia, please read the following sections: I, i, 1-6; I, ii, 1-8; I, iii, 1-10.  These excerpts should provide a quick introduction to Dante’s radical perspective on theocracy.  Please also read the entry on “Unum Sanctum” for a view of the dominant church perspective of theocratic rule.
 
Note on the text: In De Monarchia, Dante takes a controversial stance on the conflict between secular authority and religious authority.
In the essay, he argues against the theocratic rule established in the Unum Sanctum.  Dante contends that the role of secular authorities is quite different from that of religious authorities; while it is an emperor’s duty to help men reach a peaceful, earthly paradise, it is the pope’s duty to lead men towards eternal paradise.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above. "Unum Sanctum", is in the public domain. 

  • Lecture: Yale University: Dr. Giuseppe Mazzotta’s "Paradise IV, VI, X" Link: Yale University: Dr. Giuseppe Mazzotta’s "Paradise IV, VI, X"(Youtube)
     
    Also available in:
     
    ITunes U, Flash, MP3, HTML
     
    Instructions: Please listen to the lecture in its entirety for a discussion of Dante’s The Paradisio within its distinct political context.  In particular, please pay close attention to the discussion of individual will versus political power—a prominent theme in De Monarchia, as well as The Divine Comedy.
     
    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).

4.1.5 Dante’s Concept of Ascent   - Reading: University of Tennessee at Knoxville: Dr. Bruce MacLennan’s “Dante’s Ascent” Link: University of Tennessee at Knoxville: Dr. Bruce MacLennan’s “Dante’s Ascent” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the short entry here, which discusses the historical resources for Dante’s idea of ascent into paradise.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

4.1.6 The Influence of Cicero   - Reading: Dante Alighieri on the Web’s “Dante and Cicero” Link: Dante Alighieri on the Web’s “Dante and Cicero” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read this selection on Cicero’s influence on this section of the text.   Please note the mention of Cicero in on the spheres of paradise. 
 
Terms of Use: The material linked above is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License(HTML).  It is attributed to (Carlo Alberto Furia) and the original version can be found {here}(HTML). 

4.1.7 The Dedication   - Reading: Princeton Dante Project’s version of Dante’s “Epistle XII, Letter to Can Grande” Link: Princeton Dante Project’s version of Dante’s Epistle XII, Letter to Can Grande (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the short letter linked here, in which Dante dedicates this section of his work to Can Grande, a wealthy nobleman.  Please note Dante’s discussion of his vision of heaven in the letter.
 
Note on the text: In his Epistle XII, Dante dedicates his work to his famed patron, Can Grande.  In the letter, he frames his work as intentionally allegorical—a response to earlier questions about The Inferno and The Purgatorio.  At the same time, he emphasizes the historical accuracy of The Divine Comedy, arguing that his allegory in founded in literal truth.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

4.2 The Spheres and Planets   - Web Media: The World of Dante’s “Paradise Chart” Link: The World of Dante’s "Paradise Chart" (HTML)
 
Instructions: As you read this section of the work, you may want to refer to this chart for a visual illustration of Dante’s The Paradisio, which includes the astronomical spheres.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

4.2.1 First Sphere: The Moon   - Reading: University of Texas at Austin: Guy P. Raffa’s “Moon” Link: University of Texas at Austin: Guy P. Raffa’s “Moon” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read the entire discussion linked here, which addresses the first sphere of 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).

4.2.2 Second Sphere: Mercury   - Reading: University of Texas at Austin: Guy P. Raffa’s “Mercury” Link: University of Texas at Austin: Guy P. Raffa’s “Mercury” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read this discussion of the second sphere, which discusses notable themes in the section.
 
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).

4.2.3 Third Sphere: Venus   - Reading: University of Texas at Austin: Guy P. Raffa’s “Venus” Link: University of Texas at Austin: Guy P. Raffa’s "Venus"(PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read the entire section linked here for a review of the third sphere, including the people and themes that arise in this section 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).

4.2.4 Fourth Sphere: The Sun   - Reading: University of Texas at Austin: Guy P. Raffa’s “Sun” Link: University of Texas at Austin: Guy P. Raffa’s “Sun” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read the information linked here for a review of the fourth sphere.
 
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).

4.2.5 Fifth Sphere: Mars   - Reading: University of Texas at Austin: Guy P. Raffa’s “Mars” Link: University of Texas at Austin: Guy P. Raffa’s “Mars” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read all of the information on the fifth sphere linked here.
 
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).

4.2.6 Sixth Sphere: Jupiter   - Reading: University of Texas at Austin: Guy P. Raffa’s “Jupiter” Link: University of Texas at Austin: Guy P. Raffa’s “Jupiter” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read this entry on the sixth sphere.
 
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).

4.2.7 Seventh Sphere: Saturn   - Reading: University of Texas at Austin: Guy P. Raffa’s “Saturn” Link: University of Texas at Austin: Guy P. Raffa’s "Saturn" (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read the entirety of the section on the seventh sphere.
 
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).

4.2.8 Eighth Sphere: The Fixed Stars   - Reading: University of Texas at Austin: Guy P. Raffa’s “Fixed Stars” Link: University of Texas at Austin: Guy P. Raffa’s "Fixed Stars" (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read the entirety of the section linked here on the eighth sphere.
 
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).

4.2.9 Ninth Sphere: The Primum Mobile   - Reading: University of Texas at Austin: Guy P. Raffa’s “Primum Mobile” Link: University of Texas at Austin: Guy P. Raffa’s “Primum Mobile” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read the information on the themes and figures in the ninth sphere linked here.
 
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).

4.2.10 The Empyrean   - Reading: University of Texas at Austin: Guy P. Raffa’s “Empyrean” Link: University of Texas at Austin: Guy P. Raffa’s “Empyrean” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read the review of the section on the empyrean linked here.
 
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).

4.3 Themes, Style, and Tropes   4.3.1 The Representation of Beatrice in the Construction of Paradise   - Reading: California Polytechnic State University: Dr. Deborah Schwartz’s “Paradiso” Link: California Polytechnic State University: Dr. Deborah Schwartz’s "Paradiso" (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read this discussion of the representation of Beatrice as the new Eve.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

4.3.2 Paradise as the Rejection of Sin and the Acceptance of Light   - Reading: Montclair State University: Jean Alvares’s “Paradiso: Paradise” 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.

[Submit Materials](/contribute/)

4.3.3 Configurations of Paradise: Light, Optimism, and Union   - Reading: University of California’s eScholarship: Eileen Sweeney’s "Aquinas' Three Levels of Divine Predication in Dante's Paradiso" Link: University of California’s eScholarship: Eileen Sweeney’s "Aquinas' Three Levels of Divine Predication in Dante's Paradiso" (HTML)
 
Also available in:
 
PDF
 
Instructions: Please read this critical essay on Dante’s creation of a paradise based on divine union.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

4.3.4 Representations of Monarchial Order   - Reading: University of California’s eScholarship: Kelly Craig’s “Law, Justice, and Providence” Link: University of California’s eScholarship: Kelly Craig’s “Law, Justice, and Providence” (HTML)
 
Also available in:
PDF
 
Instructions: Read this essay, which discusses the representation of politics in this section of the text.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

4.3.5 Journey and Trinity   - Reading: Dante Circle of Friends’ “Paradise” Link: Dante Circle of Friends’ “Paradise” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the article linked here for a short analysis of The Paradiso, which reads the text as a journey that culminates in a vision of the trinity.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

4.3.6 The Earthly Body: “Transhumanizing”   - Reading: Stony Brook Dante Project’s “Introduction to The Paradiso” Link: Stony Brook Dante Project’s “Introduction to The Paradiso (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read the introduction to the text linked here, which comments on the theme of moving beyond the human body into the heavenly realm.
 
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. 

4.3.7 Romance, Epic, and Vision: Questions of Genre   - Reading: Greatdante.net’s “Divina Comedia” Link: Greatdante.net’s “Divina Comedia” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read this short introduction to The Divine Comedy for a discussion of the comedy genre.  In particular, please pay attention to the question of the text’s “happy ending” that is raised here.
 
Terms of Use: The material linked above is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License(HTML).  It is attributed to (Carlo Alberto Furia) and the original version can be found {here}(HTML).