Dante in Translation (ITAL 310)

Professor Mazzotta begins this lecture by recapitulating the ambivalent nature of Ulysses’ sin and its relevance to Dante’s poetic project. Inferno XXVII is then read in conjunction with the preceding canto. The antithetical relationship between Dante’s false counselors, Ulysses and Guido da Montefeltro, anchors an overarching discussion of the relationship between rhetoric and politics. The latter half of the lecture is devoted to Inferno XXVIII, where Dante’s preeminent sower of discord, Bertran de Born, introduces the principle of the contrapasso. The law of retribution that governs Dante’s Inferno is discussed in light of classical and contemporary theories of justice/crime and punishment. In conclusion, the opening of Inferno XXIX is read as a retrospective gloss on the limitations of retributive justice.

00:00 – Chapter 1. Returning to Canto XXVI and Ulysses’s Sin
11:14 – Chapter 2. Canto XXVII: Counter Myth to the Story of Ulysses
28:47 – Chapter 3. Canto XXVIII: Bertan de Born among the Makers of Discord
46:29 – Chapter 4. A Poet of Justice
57:00 – Chapter 5. Question and Answer

Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: http://open.yale.edu/courses

This course was recorded in Fall 2008.

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