Hell on Earth: Dante's Inferno and Its Global Legacy

FRIT M450 — Spring 2022

Akash Kumar
GA 0007
Days and Times
TR 3:00 P - 4:15 P
Course Description

Prerequisite: FRIT-M305, M306, M307, M308, M390 or permission of instructor.

We live in hellish times, surrounded by reminders of a long-gone 14th-century Florentine poet who envisioned a journey into the darkest parts of ourselves. This course will delve into Inferno, the first part of Dante Alighieri’s Commedia, and analyze its particular approach to issues of social justice that continue to resonate today. Throughout our journey through hell, we’ll also explore what this text has inspired, from paintings and politics to music and comics, in global culture from the 14th to the 21st centuries. Why should Martin Luther King, Jr. turn to Dante in a speech protesting the war in Vietnam? How might we see the 19th-century sculpture at the entrance of the IMU, once we know that it was inspired by a particular episode in Inferno? Combining a deep reading of the poem and attention to its global legacy, we’ll look to make our own hell on earth.

Image: Sandow Birk, https://sandowbirk.com/divine-comedy