Halfway along the road we have to go,
I found myself obscured in a dark forest,
Bewildered, and I knew I had lost the way
– The Divine Comedy, Dante
Experiencing a crossroads in your life, or have you gone off track and struggling to find your way? Perhaps you’re still seeking the new start you had promised yourself at the beginning of the year? Our latest Short Course for Serious Readers will take you on a journey through life and what is considered one of the greatest works of literature: The Divine Comedy by Dante.
Written in the 14th Century, The Divine Comedy is composed of over 14,000 lines in three canticas, charting Dante’s voyage of discovery through the three kingdoms: Hell (Inferno), Purgatory (Purgatorio) and Heaven (Paradiso). Through this imaginary journey to determine the situation of human souls after death, an autobiographical element emerges – at the age of 36, Dante was forced into exile from Florence and spent the rest of his life on the road, dependent on the generosity of others and his writing. The Divine Comedy begins on the night before Good Friday in the year 1300 when Dante is 35 – half of the life expectancy outlined in the Bible, and so ‘halfway along the road’. Lost in a dark wood, surrounded by beasts and unable to find the right way – it’s a situation that while perhaps not as extreme many of us will have contended with at some point in our lives, and you may be surprised to know how lines written over 700 years ago can speak to our fundamental human responses and emotions in the modern day.
This March we will be treading Dante’s path by joining Founder and Director of The Reader Organisation, Jane Davis, as she leads us through The Divine Comedy. With fellow travellers at your side throughout the day there’s no need to feel daunted but daring instead, reading lines that are centuries old together and discovering that they’re full of feelings that we recognise.
Edit: This course is now fully booked.
Attendees can prepare for the adventure of reading Dante by picking up a copy of C.H. Sissons translation of the text in the Worlds Classics Series (Oxford University Press), which we’ll be referring to in the Short Course. Copies of the book can be bought through The Reader Organisation’s Amazon Bookshop, with a percentage of the purchase price supporting our outreach work.
For more information on The Divine Comedy for Beginners or the Bewildered, visit our website.