100 Days of Dante: Join the Largest Divine Comedy Reading Group in the World (Starts September 8)

This year marks the 700th anniver­sary of Dante Alighier­i’s death — which means it also marks the 701st anniver­sary of his great work the Div­ina Com­me­dia, known in Eng­lish as the Divine Com­e­dy. We’ve all got to go some time, and it’s some­how suit­able that Dante went not long after telling the tale of his own jour­ney through the after­life, com­plete with stops in Hell, Pur­ga­to­ry, and Par­adise. It remains a jour­ney we can all take and re-take — and inter­pre­tive­ly grap­ple with — still these sev­en cen­turies lat­er. Start­ing this month, you can take it as a group tour, so to speak, by join­ing 100 Days of Dante, the largest Dante read­ing group in the world.

A project of Bay­lor Uni­ver­si­ty’s Hon­ors Col­lege (with sup­port from sev­er­al oth­er Amer­i­can edu­ca­tion­al insti­tu­tions), 100 Days of Dante has launched a web site “through which mod­ern seek­ers and pil­grims can fol­low the great epic poem with free video pre­sen­ta­tions three times a week.”

So writes Aleteia’s John Burg­er, who explains that “the three books of the Divine Com­e­dy, known in Ital­ian as Infer­noPur­ga­to­rio, and Par­adiso, are divid­ed into 33 chap­ters known as can­tos. [Infer­no actu­al­ly had 34.] Each video will present one can­to, with com­men­tary on it from lead­ing experts in Dante stud­ies.” You can also read the entire work on 100 Days of Dan­te’s web site, in Eng­lish or Ital­ian — a lan­guage Dan­te’s own poet­ry did much to shape.

Nobody inter­est­ed in the lan­guage of Italy, let alone the coun­try’s his­to­ry and cul­ture, can do with­out expe­ri­enc­ing the Divine Com­e­dy. One of 100 Days of Dante’s aims is a re-empha­sis of its nature as a thor­ough­ly reli­gious work, one that ren­ders in vivid, some­times har­row­ing detail the world­view held by Chris­tians of Dan­te’s place and time. But believ­er or oth­er­wise, you can join in the read­ing from when it begins on Sep­tem­ber 8, to when it con­cludes on East­er 2022. You may well find, as the long Italy-res­i­dent Eng­lish writer and trans­la­tor Tim Parks observes, that Dante has a way of slip­ping through con­ve­nient inter­pre­ta­tive frame­works cul­tur­al, his­tor­i­cal, and even reli­gious. “Long after the fires of Hell have burned them­selves out,” he writes, “the debate about the Div­ina Com­me­dia rages on.” Find more edu­ca­tion­al resources on Dante and The Divine Com­e­dy below.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

A Free Online Course on Dante’s Divine Com­e­dy from Yale Uni­ver­si­ty

An Illus­trat­ed and Inter­ac­tive Dante’s Infer­no: Explore a New Dig­i­tal Com­pan­ion to the Great 14th-Cen­tu­ry Epic Poem

A Dig­i­tal Archive of the Ear­li­est Illus­trat­ed Edi­tions of Dante’s Divine Com­e­dy (1487–1568)

Visu­al­iz­ing Dante’s Hell: See Maps & Draw­ings of Dante’s Infer­no from the Renais­sance Through Today

Explore Divine Com­e­dy Dig­i­tal, a New Dig­i­tal Data­base That Col­lects Sev­en Cen­turies of Art Inspired by Dante’s Divine Com­e­dy

Why Should We Read Dante’s Divine Com­e­dy? An Ani­mat­ed Video Makes the Case

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

by | Permalink | Comments (2) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (2)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.