Professor Mazzotta introduces students to the Divine Comedy, focusing on the first four cantos of Inferno. Stylistic, thematic and formal features of the poem are discussed in the context of its original title, Comedy. The first canto is read to establish the double voice of the poet-pilgrim and to contrast the immanent journey with those described by Dante's literary precursors. Among these is the pilgrim's guide, Virgil. The following cantos are read with special attention to the ways in which Dante positions his poem vis-a-vis the classical tradition. The novelty of Dante's otherworldly journey is here addressed in terms of the relationship, introduced in the previous lecture in the context of the Vita Nuova, between love and knowledge or, more precisely, between their respective faculties, will and intellect.
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