This fall, journey with Dante beyond the dark wood as part of The Divine Comedy: Dante's Journey to Freedom, a new massive open online course created by Georgetown University in partnership with edX. Lead instructor, Professor Frank Ambrosio, has worked closely with The Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship at Georgetown University to design an innovative online platform for deep reading, MyDante, that encourages readers to experience the poem as a journey that is both profoundly personal and meaningfully shared.
This course, offered in three modules and taught by Professor Frank Ambrosio, will help students know themselves in their own historical, personal, and spiritual contexts as they journey toward a richer understanding of their freedom, identity and responsibility as a person.
At the beginning, Dante encounters the universal experience you may already be familiar with—that dizzying length of time when you find yourself lost and unable to find the right path. Dante's descent into hell leads to the point of Dante's conversion when he recognizes his need for forgiveness.
For those willing to undertake the steep ascent of Dante’s seven-story Mountain, nowhere in the legacy of human culture is the process of becoming a “whole person” more closely observed or rendered with deeper psychological and social insight than in the cantos of Dante’s Purgatorio.
Now leaving Earth behind and beneath, the Pilgrim is transformed into the disciple; specifically, the disciple of Beatrice. She now becomes his true path, la diritta via, along which he gradually discovers the Joy that Christianity identifies as the hope of Resurrection.
The Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship at Georgetown University has designed an innovative platform for deep reading, MyDante, that encourages readers to experience the poem as a journey that is both profoundly personal and meaningfully shared. MyDante, informed by years of pedagogical research, is built on a conceptual framework that emphasizes mindfulness and contemplative reading habits as key to deriving lasting meaning from poetic texts.
MyDante guides learners through a reading sequence that facilitates multiple encounters and experiences with the text—some personal, some guided, and some shared.
MyDante is based on the medieval monastic technology of the illuminated manuscript, with learner-created annotations and vividly illustrative images enhancing the margin.
MyDante encourages learners to adopt the practice of contemplative reading, which asks readers to assume heightened attention to the way a poem addresses us as individuals.
For more details on the My Dante project, please email the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship (CNDLS) at Georgetown University.
This course features Robert and Jean Hollander's contemporary translations of Dante Alighieri's Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso, permission courtesy of The Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Random House LLC. The print editions contain valuable notes and commentary which are highly recommended as companions to the course materials.
The Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship integrates a teaching and learning center with the latest educational technology. Our team of experienced educators facilitates a broad-based program that promotes discovery, engagement, and diversity in an ever-expanding conception of learning.
Gustave Doré, “Dante in the Dark Woods,” c.1890
Sandro Botticelli, “Punishment of the Panderers, Seducers and Flatterers,” c.1480-95
William Blake, "Dante and Virgil Penetrating the Forest," c.1824-27