Professor Mazzotta introduces students to Paradise. The Ptolemaic structure of Dante's cosmos is described along with the arts and sciences associated with its spheres. Beatrice's role as teacher in Dante's cosmological journey is distinguished from that of her successor, St. Bernard of Clairvaux. An introduction to Dante's third and final guide to the Beatific Vision helps situate the poetics of Paradise vis-a-vis the mystical tradition. Professor Mazzotta's introduction to the canticle is followed by a close reading of the first canto. The end of the pilgrim's journey is discussed in light of the two theological modes Dante pulls together in the exordium of Paradise I. The poetic journey staged in the opening tercets is then explored in light of the mythological and Christian figures (Marsyas, St. Paul) Dante claims as his poetic precursors.
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