Approaches to Teaching Dante’s Divine Comedy

  • Editor: Carole Slade
  • Pages: xiii & 177 pp.
  • Published: 1982
  • ISBN: 9780873524773 (Cloth)
  • ISBN: 9780873524780 (Paperback)
Approaches to Teaching Dante's Divine Comedy Cover

“This collection of essays and bibliographies is an immensely valuable volume for the beginning and seasoned teacher alike. One can only wonder why a pedagogical book such as this has not appeared before. . . .  [It] should be on every Dante shelf.”


The contributors to this collection believe that Dante can be enjoyed by college students at every level whether or not they are literature or language majors. Primarily addressing instructors who teach the poem in translation, sixteen scholars suggest a variety of strategies and critical methods that will prove useful and informative to both experienced and novice teachers.

The volume, like others in the MLA’s Approaches to Teaching World Literature series, is divided into two parts. The first part, “Materials,” reviews commonly taught translations of the Divine Comedy, important reference works, background readings for teachers and students, and classroom aids such as paintings and illustrations. In the second part, “Approaches,” an introductory essay by Giovanni Cecchetti identifies nine key themes, ranging from Dante as the new Ulysses and the new Aeneas to Dante as poet and protagonist, that can structure an initial reading of the Divine Comedy. Other contributors take different perspectives including religious, political, and literary; apply several methodologies such as linguistic, typological, and analytical; and compare Dante with major modern authors like Proust and Joyce.