Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy has, despite its enormous popularity and importance, often stymied readers with its multitudinous characters, references, and themes. But until the publication in 2007 of Guy Raffa’s guide to the Inferno, students lacked a suitable resource to help them navigate Dante’s underworld. With this new guide to the entire Divine Comedy, Raffa provides readers—experts in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, Dante neophytes, and everyone in between—with a map of the entire poem, from the lowest circle of Hell to the highest sphere of Paradise.
Based on Raffa’s original research and his many years of teaching the poem to undergraduates, The CompleteDanteworlds charts a simultaneously geographical and textual journey, canto by canto, region by region, adhering closely to the path taken by Dante himself through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise. This invaluable reference also features study questions, illustrations of the realms, and regional summaries. Interpreting Dante’s poem and his sources, Raffa fashions detailed entries on each character encountered as well as on many significant historical, religious, and cultural allusions.
One of the greatest works of world literature, Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy has, despite its enormous popularity and importance, often stymied readers with its multitudinous characters, references, and themes. But until now, students of the Inferno have lacked a suitable resource to guide their reading.
Welcome to Danteworlds, the first substantial guide to the Inferno in English. Guy P. Raffa takes readers on a geographic journey through Dante’s underworld circle by circle—from the Dark Wood down to the ninth circle of Hell—in much the same way Dante and Virgil proceed in their infernal descent. Each chapter—or “region”—of the book begins with a summary of the action, followed by detailed entries, significant verses, and useful study questions. The entries, based on a close examination of the poet’s biblical, classical, and medieval sources, help locate the characters and creatures Dante encounters and assist in decoding the poem’s vast array of references to religion, philosophy, history, politics, and other works of literature.
Written by an established Dante scholar and tested in the fire of extensive classroom experience, Danteworlds will be heralded by readers at all levels of expertise, from students and general readers to teachers and scholars.
With the aim of guiding readers along, in Hegel’s words, “the long process of education towards genuine philosophy,” this introduction emphasizes the importance of striking up a conversation with the past. Only by looking to past masters and their works, it holds, can old memories and prior thought be brought fully to bear on the present. This living past invigorates contemporary practice, enriching today’s study and discoveries.
In this book, groundbreaking philosopher and author Donald Verene addresses two themes: why should one study the historically “great” texts and, if such a study is necessary, how can one undertake it? Acting out against the rejection of the idea that there is a philosophical canon, he centers his argument on the “tetralogy” of Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Hegel. From his opening look at the rhetorical tradition, he brings those core ideals forward to classical Roman and medieval philosophers and then on into Renaissance and modern philosophy, including contemporary thinkers such as Derrida and Foucault. This vital chronological outline is supplemented by Verene’s contextualizing commentary. In ensuing sections, he offers guidance on reading philosophical works with “intellectual empathy,” suggests 100 essential works to establish a canon, illustrates the role of philosophers in history and society, and examines the nature of history itself. Ultimately, Verene concludes that history may be essential to philosophy, but philosophy is more than just its history.
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