William A. Stephany (wstephan@uvm.edu)


July 6-July 29,  2010

M-Th 9:00 – 11:45 AM, Terrill Hall 207


TEXTBOOKS: Inferno, trans. Robert Durling / Ronald Martinez (Oxford)

                           Purgatorio, trans. Robert Durling / Ronald Martinez (Oxford)

                           Paradiso, trans. Alan Mandelbaum (Bantam)


We will read all of Inferno and Purgatorio, and large sections of Paradiso.


GRADING:   Quizzes:         40%

                        Exam             10%

                        Journal           40%

Attendance and

Participation:  10%


A four-week course presents both difficulties and opportunities relative to a semester-long course. The primary difficulty is that, with the need to keep up on the reading while spending three hours per day in class, we don’t have the usual amount of time for reflection and revision necessary for lengthy papers. The primary advantage is that the intense schedule makes it easy to reinforce one’s understanding of the material on a day-by-day basis. Grading in the course will try to capitalize on this advantage in two ways.


QUIZZES:  Detail does matter in Dante’s poem. It’s not enough just to get a general impression of what you’ve read, since the work is, by its nature, self-referential, and if you don’t have a backlog of details at your disposal, you won’t catch what Dante tosses your way. It’s analogous to a language class: you need to add to your cultural vocabulary and learn something of the poem’s “syntax” if you are to understand the poem’s nuances. In order to encourage you to keep up on the reading and to read carefully—for most people this means with pencil or pen at the ready—I will give 12 quizzes, largely factual in nature, and I will count the 10 best as your quiz grade.


EMAIL READING RESPONSES: Twice a week, you will be responsible for writing a response of approximately 500 words (2 printed pages) which you will post to the course mail list by midnight of the day before it is due. In addition, bring a hard copy of your response with you to class to be turned in. These might respond to study questions on the class web site, might discuss the day’s reading assignment, or might connect the readings to earlier aspects of the course. These emailed responses will allow us all to read what you have to say before class and will provide an entrée to class discussion.


CULTURAL ASSUMPTIONS: There are some cultural assumptions that I make in any class, and, to avoid confusion, I’d like to make some of them explicit. First of all, you can’t claim to be participating in a course if you cut a lot, and my sense of what constitutes “a lot” is to have more unexcused hours cut than credit hours awarded. For a three credit hour class, that means no more than one cut in a class that meets for three “class hours” every day. I take attendance regularly, and if you cut a lot (by my definition), it will affect your grade. Second, when in class, you need always to have the textbook in class with you. (Consider this to be true of any literature course unless the teacher tells you otherwise.) The way we exemplify ideas, assertions, questions is by reference to specific passages in the readings, and without the book you won’t be able to take part in the most basic activities of the class. Third, you need always to have read the material in advance: otherwise how will you be able to evaluate whether assertions from the rest of us make sense? How will you know whether those assertions raise questions that you need to pursue? How will you be able to join intelligently in our ongoing discourse? Fourth, This class is a Acell-phone-free zone.” Please turn you phone off before class begins. That=s OFF. It’s not enough to turn it to vibrate. No phone calls; no texting. During recess, turn it back on if you want to see if there are any calls or text messages you may have missed, and then turn it back off before re-entering class. Zero tolerance on this! Fifth and finally, don’t be late and don’t leave class early: I find this behavior distracting, and I’m sure I’m not alone. (If circumstances require you to miss class or to come late or leave early, let me know in advance of class so I won’t misinterpret your behavior.) 


FINAL EXAM: There will be a written final exam in the second half of the final class meeting.


NB: The Class Web Site contains additional information not on this handout: http://www.uvm.edu/~wstephan/dante/








7/6 Inf 1-2

7/7 Inf 3-9 Read online Inferno essay

7/8 Inf 10-15

7/12 Inf 16-20 *

7/13 Inf 21-25

7/14 Inf 26-31

7/15 Inf 32-33;Purg 1-3

Read online Pg essay

7/19 Purg 4-10 *

Read Typology essay

7/20 Purg 11-16

7/21 Purg 17-22

7/22 Purg 23-28

7/26 Purg 29-33

7/27 Par 1-11 (Selections)

Read online Pd essay

7/28 Par 12-22 * (Selections)

7/29 Par 27-33 (Selections)


With the exception of the first day of the course, the assigned readings should be completed before you come to class. On days marked with an asterisk, we will consider aspects of visual art from Dante’s environment relevant to the day’s reading assignment.


Email Due Dates:


Th 7/8            1-2-3-4-5

M 7/12           6-7-8-9-10

T 7/13            1-2-3-4-5

W 7/14           6-7-8-9-10


Th 7/15          2-4-6-8-10

M 7/19           1-3-5-7-9

T 7/20            2-4-6-8-10

W 7/21           1-3-5-7-9


Th 7/22          1-4-7-10-3

M 7/26           2-5-6-8-9

T 7/27            1-4-7-10-3

W 7/28           2-5-6-8-9