Dante's Divine Comedy can rightly be called the greatest poem ever written, praised through the ages by a pantheon of writers and scholars. Romantic poet William Wordsworth (1770-1850) referred to Dante's crowned "visionary brow." Irish novelist James Joyce (1882-1941) said "Dante is my spiritual food!" Pope Benedict XV (1854-1922) called Dante "the most eloquent singer of the Christian idea." Even the 20th century literary critic T.S. Eliot (1888-1965) famously wrote that "Shakespeare and Dante divide the world between them, there is no third."
Yet today this great poem is often dismissed by modern scholars for its unabashed Catholic theology and deep spiritual vision. Shrug off the unfounded disdain of these skeptics and discover for yourself the true grandeur, Christian nature, and sheer artistry of Dante's Divine Comedy.
Just as Dante needed Virgil to lead him through the bowels of Hell, you also need a true and trustworthy guide. Dr. Anthony Esolen serves as your Virgil in this course on the Inferno, the first canticle of the Divine Comedy. An expert who has taught Dante to college students for more than twenty years, Professor Esolen is also the preeminent modern translator of the entire Divine Comedy from the original Italian.
With Professor Esolen you will enter the terrible gates of Hell and progress level by infernal level to its diabolical depths. Professor Esolen places a special emphasis on the drama of the poem, leading you through each canto in succession. Along the way, he will highlight Dante's astonishing human and theological insights and discuss the destiny of man, how to find our way out of the wilderness of sin, the relationship between love and knowledge, and the integral unity between body and soul.
Professor Esolen will more than satisfy your curiosity about Hell and the fate of the damned. He will reveal in all its starkness the horror of sin, and awaken in your heart a longing for divine love.
About the Author
Professor Anthony Esolen holds a Doctorate in Renaissance English Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a Professor of English at Providence College, located in Providence, Rhode Island. He is the translator of the celebrated three-volume Modern Library edition of Dante's Divine Comedy (Random House). He is a Senior Editor for Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity, and his articles appear regularly in First Things, Catholic World Report, Magnificat, This Rock, and Latin Mass.
Item No: C502 (Grouped)
Publisher: Saint Benedict Press, LLC
Publication Date: 2012
Binding: DVD, CD, MP4 Video Download, MP3 Audio Download and Group Study Edition
8 Lectures (Approx. 30 min. each) 1. Cantos 1-3: Where Are You Going, Traveler? Dante, bewildered in sin, meets Virgil, sent to him by Beatrice. Together, they enter the terrible gates of Hell.
2. Cantos 4-8: Loving Good Things in an Evil Way
Dante and Virgil, after meeting the virtuous pagans in Limbo, the rim of Hell, meet the adulterers, gluttons, avaricious, wrathful, and slothful.
3. Cantos 9-12: Intellectual Terror Virgil and Dante enter the first ring of the City of Dis, which includes the materialist heretics, who reveal to us the terrible constriction of the intellect entailed by sin.
4. Cantos 13-17: A World of Violence Dante and Virgil encounter the violent against self, God, Nature, and human industry. These are not simply murderers -- they are suicides, blasphemers, sodomites, and usurers.
5. Cantos 18-22: Liars and All Such Filth Dante and Virgil travel through the Malebolge, the pouches of evil on the eighth circle of Hell where they meet various practitioners of fraud, including seducers, simonists, and grafters.
6. Cantos 23-27: The Fire of a Perverted Mind As they continue around the Malebolge, Dante and Virgil journey past those who used their intellects to deceive: hypocrites, thieves, and evil counselors.
7. Cantos 28-31: Destroying the Community of Man In the ninth pouch, Virgil and Dante find the schismatics, who are punished by division in their bodies. In the final pouch, they meet the counterfeiters who are punished by disease. 8. Cantos 32-34: When Hell Freezes Over Dante and Virgil come to the very last circle of Hell, and encounter the impotence of evil in the frozen pit where the Father of Lies is trapped in ice.