Dante in Translation

9780199535644      9780199540655

I’m still getting on slowly with Proust, but in the meantime, I’ve ventured into new territory with Dante. And MOOCs – free online courses from institutions like Yale, Stanford and Harvard Universities! The main lectures/resources I’m using to read Dante are from an open course at Yale: ITAL310. But there’s also a fine compilation of readings at Saylor.com’s ENGL409 (though I find it odd that they classify this Italian classic as part of the English literary pantheon. Western, fine. European, fine. But English?). Haven’t started reading yet, as I’m still deciding between reading the eBook version at Gutenberg, or getting the Oxford Classics translation (pictured above) by Mark Musa… Decisions, decisions.

The Yale ITAL310 course is taught by Professor Giuseppe Mazzotta, and a side-by-side English/Italian edition is used. No need for knowledge of Italian language to get by though. All the lectures and readings are in English, hence the name of the course: ‘Dante in Translation‘. Mazzotta goes briefly through Vita Nuova as a preamble to the Divine Comedy before diving into the latter work. Here’s a Youtube playlist of the whole set of lectures; I’ve listened to the first two and they’re great. I can’t wait to start reading! If you’re anything like me, and you’ve put off reading Dante for years, take it in easy doses with Professor Mazzotta. He explains everything in a very straightforward and accessible way, I promise.

EDIT: I’ve gone from blogging every two/three months to once a month – hooray! If I keep this up, I’ll be updating every fortnight again, like I used to back in the day…

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7 thoughts on “Dante in Translation

  1. Thanks for the links to the lectures – I haven’t gone near Dante for over 30 years since I read the first two volumes and I do wonder what I got out of them in my early 20s! I would like to revisit I think – maybe this will kick start me?

    1. I’m in my early 20s now and honestly, I’m not sure how much I’ll be about to get out of Divine Comedy… but even without a deep understanding, it’s great just to delve into it! I’m sure it will be a wonderful experience to revisit it many years later :)

  2. We are so spoilt with the access we have to information these days. It is so easy to get overwhelmed . Good luck to you with your Dante studies. I hope you enjoy them. This lecturer makes it sound interesting.

    1. Thanks lazycoffees! True, it can be overwhelming at times but at the same time I’m totally loving that we don’t have to fork out thousands of dollars, or enrol in a degree program to listen to these. I feel so blessed to have such resources to enrich my reading – and am enjoying it very much indeed :D

  3. Dante is on my list too. For some reason I’ve got obsessed with old foreign classics. Brought an old Penguin edition of Senecan plays last week. Planning to buy Theban plays as well.

  4. Hii! Happy new year!! I’m abandoning the self-hosted site as it takes too much time to maintain. Moved back to the old WordPress blog, fuss-free!

    I will make time to watch the video you posted here in the future. Have you seen the translation I read, though? By Robert and Jean Hollander. There’s so much content in the books which helped me get through them a lot.

    1. Hi Claire! My goodness, it IS so much of a hassle to maintain the whole self-hosted thing, which is why I only use it for my portfolio and food blog now (it’s nice to have the extra storage for photos haha). Soooo happy to see you blogging again :D
      And I’ll certainly check out the Robert and Jean Hollander version.

      Happy new year!!

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