Date(s) - 25th October, 2022 - 20th December, 2022
19:00 - 20:30
Tuesdays, weekly for nine weeks, from 25th October 2022
I invite you to accompany me on an odyssey through the Divine Comedy. We will meet once a week for 9 weeks to consider Dante’s spiritual transformation as he journeys through the Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso.
He begins when he wakes up in a dark wood. The air tastes bitter. He grows fearful. But his crisis is a turning point. His situation parallels our own. We face a spiritual crisis quite as profound as his own though, as Dante learns, there is no real development of spiritual sight without one. Ascent and descent are intimately related and Dante can help us discover how to navigate them both. He gradually realises other truths: that time can be experienced in dramatically different ways; that virtues are crucial not so much for moral reasons but because they connect with reality; that the whole of life is one life, unified not through uniformity but, as Dante describes it, like a book of many leaves bound by love, each with its part.
We will follow the translation by Mark Musa, published in the Penguin Classics edition. We will look at images by Blake, Botticelli, Doré and others. The course will presume no former knowledge of the Divine Comedy. It will also be valuable to those who have read the text before. The Divine Comedy is a spiritual masterpiece and invariably yields more when read again.