From Devilry to Divinity: Readings in Dante's Divina Commedia

This series aims to introduce the beauty, complexity and continuing significance of Dante’s ‘Divina Commedia’ through readings of the text, in the original and in translation, and through commentary on it. The readings are accompanied by a rich visual display of medieval illuminations whilst the commentary explores and invites discussion of some of the leading ideas of the poem. Each session will begin by displaying a different printed edition from UCL’s rare-book collections.

The series is organised and presented by Alessandro Scafi (Warburg), John Took (UCL) and Tabitha Tuckett (UCL Special Collections) in a partnership between the Warburg Institute and University College London.

In 2020-2021 the series will be delivered online via Zoom.

To register for the 7 December introductory please click on the links below.

To register for the Spring/Summer programme please email with your name, your institutional affiliation (if applicable), your student status (if applicable, eg. Postgrad Masters), and your geographical location (for our statistics).

Spring Term 2021: Monday evenings from 6.00-7.30pm

  • 11 January - Inferno, Canto I. The dark wood and wild animals. The appearance of Virgil.
  • 18 January - Inferno, Canto V. The lustful. Paolo and Francesca.
  • 25 January - Inferno, Canto XIII. The suicides. Pier della Vigna.
  • 1 February - Inferno, Canto XXVI and Canto XXVII. The evil counsellors. Ulysses and Guido da Montefeltro.
  • 8 February - Inferno, Canto XXXIII and Canto XXXIV. Count Ugolino and Centre of Hell. Lucifer.
  • 22 February - Purgatorio, Canto XVI.58-105; Canto XVII.91-105; and Canto XVIII.13-75. The moral structure of Purgatory; the nature of love and its relation to free will.
  • 1 March - Purgatorio, Canto I and Canto II.106-132. Dante and Virgil emerge from the abyss of Hell on the shore of Mount Purgatory. Cato. The ritual of purification. Casella.
  • 8 March - Purgatorio, Canto X.1-45 and Canto XI.1-117. The First Cornice: the proud. The Lord’s Prayer; Omberto Aldobrandeschi; Oderisi da Gubbio.
  • 15 March - Purgatorio, Canto XXX. Appearance of Beatrice on the chariot of the Church.
  • 22 March - Purgatorio, Canto XXXIII. Beatrice’s prophesies. The final ritual of Dante’s spiritual cleansing.

Summer Term 2021: Monday evenings from 6.00-7.30pm

  • 19 April - Paradiso, Canto I. Ascent to the heaven of fire.
  • 26 April - Paradiso, Canto III. Heaven of the moon. Piccarda Donati.
  • 10 May - Paradiso, Canto XI. Thomas Aquinas. Francis of Assisi.
  • 17 May - Paradiso, Canto XVII. Heaven of Mars. Cacciaguida.
  • 24 May - Paradiso, Canto XXXIII. The Empyrean. The vision of the Trinity.