WAR - In this section

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 2021-2022 the series will be delivered online via Zoom. You may book for individual session or for the whole series.

Autumn Term 2021: Monday evenings from 6.30-8.00pm

  • 25 October - Introducing Dante: his world, life and works. BOOK HERE
  • 15 November - Inferno, Canto I. The dark wood and wild animals. The appearance of Virgil. BOOK HERE
  • 22 November - Inferno, Canto V. The lustful. Paolo and Francesca. BOOK HERE
  • 29 November - Inferno, Canto XIII. The suicides. Pier della Vigna. BOOK HERE
  • 6 December - Inferno, Canto XXVI and Canto XXVII. The evil counsellors. Ulysses and Guido da Montefeltro. BOOK HERE
  • 13 December - Inferno, Canto XXXIII and Canto XXXIV. Count Ugolino and Centre of Hell. Lucifer. BOOK HERE

Spring Term 2022: Monday evenings from 6.30-8.00pm

  • 10 January - 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.
  • 17 January - 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.
  • 24 January - Purgatorio, Canto X.1-45 and Canto XI.1-117. The First Cornice: the proud. The Lord’s Prayer; Omberto Aldobrandeschi; Oderisi da Gubbio.
  • 31 January - Purgatorio, Canto XXX. Appearance of Beatrice on the chariot of the Church.
  • 7 February - Purgatorio, Canto XXXIII. Beatrice’s prophesies. The final ritual of Dante’s spiritual cleansing.
  • 21 February - Paradiso, Canto I. Ascent to the heaven of fire.
  • 28 February - Paradiso, Canto III. Heaven of the moon. Piccarda Donati.
  • 7 March - Paradiso, Canto XI. Thomas Aquinas. Francis of Assisi.
  • 14 March - Paradiso, Canto XVII. Heaven of Mars. Cacciaguida.
  • 21 March - Paradiso, Canto XXXIII. The Empyrean. The vision of the Trinity.