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C LIT 361 B: Topics in Early Modern Literature

Meeting Time: 
MW 1:30pm - 3:20pm
JHN 111
Joint Sections: 
ITAL 262 A
Beatrice Arduini

Syllabus Description:

C LIT 361 B: Topics in Early Modern Literature

Jointly offered with

ITAL 262 A: Dante's Divine Comedy

Instructor: Dr Beatrice Arduini (

Class meets: MW 1:30 - 3:20 PM JHN 111

Office Hours: Online, by appointment

Course description:

This course is devoted to one of the most fascinating and influential masterpieces of Western literature, Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy. As readers we not only observe the pilgrim's journey through the afterlife, from the dark wood of error to the vision of truth, we participate in it as well, as we encounter questions about the nature of evil, the possibility for spiritual improvement, and the experience of true happiness. We will also discover surprising parallels with our own time, particularly now that the Italian government decreed March 25th to be National Dante Day in honor of the celebrated author as a “symbol of unity." The course is taught in English. Course image: Go Nagai - La Divina Commedia (J-POP, 2019).


Learning objectives:

  • Introduce the major currents of thirteen-century Italian literature and the main historical events of that period of time
  • Discuss Dante’s major work, with particular emphasis on the historical and aesthetic significance of the Divine Comedy in the history of Medieval literature and European culture
  • Improve critical thinking, reading, writing skills while examining some episodes of the poem using a variety of media.

Required Books:

Dante Alighieri, Divine Comedy, translated by Allen Mandelbaum: all volumes Bantam Classics (Inferno 1980, Purgatorio 1982, and Paradiso 1984), OR any other translation with footnotes and endnotes. You can also find the Mandelbaum translation here (without endnotes).

Websites (not an exhaustive list!):

The Dante Society of America

Canto per Canto: Conversations with Dante in our time

Dante Lab at Dartmouth College

Danteworlds (University of Texas at Austin)

Digital Dante (Columbia University)

Mapping Dante A Study of Places in the Commedia

Società dantesca italiana

The World of Dante (University of Virginia)


Course requirements and grading (deadlines will be found on Canvas):

10% Participation

20% Annotation of a canto

25% Discussion (leading and participating)

15% Quizzes (3)

15% Long Live Dante Project (oral presentation, recorded or in class, of a short research paper or of creative project)

15% Final Exam (take-home exam)


Writing Credits: If you wish to receive writing credits for this course, you will be required to write a 6-page first draft for your “Long Live Dante” assignment, and revise your research paper according to my suggestions. Please contact me at if you need further information. Students who complete the additional requirements will receive Ws on their transcripts; the other students in the course will not.


Any use of racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, classist, or generally offensive language in class or submission of such material will not be tolerated.


Anyone who wishes to contest a grade on a particular assignment or exam must consult his/her instructor within 7 days after the assignment was returned to them



This class is conducted in-person. Effective August 14, 2021, the University is requiring everyone, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a mask or other face covering indoors. Students are expected to participate in class to fully benefit from course activities and meet the course’s learning objectives. Students should only register for this class if they are able to attend in-person. To protect their fellow students, faculty, and staff, students who feel ill or exhibit possible COVID symptoms should not come to class. When absent, it is the responsibility of the student to inform the instructor in advance (or as close to the class period as possible in the case of an unexpected absence), and to request appropriate make-up work as per policies established in the syllabus. What make-up work is possible, or how assignments or course grading might be modified to accommodate missed work, is the prerogative of the instructor. For chronic absences, the instructor may negotiate an incomplete grade after the 8th week, or recommend the student contact their academic adviser to consider a hardship withdrawal (known as a Registrar Drop).

If you test positive for COVID-19 or if you had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, you should immediately contact the COVID-19 Response and Prevention Team at or 206.616.3344, and a public health professional will give you guidance to keep yourself and others safe based on your particular circumstances.

Academic Standards:

Students are expected to maintain a high standard of academic ethics, honesty and integrity. Academic misconduct includes but is not limited to: plagiarism, cheating, harassment, and disruptive or offensive behavior (see statement above), and will not be tolerated. Please refer to the University’s Student Conduct Code. Any student or situation found to be in violation of proper academic conduct will be addressed and potentially reported according to University policy.

Policy Regarding Student Concerns:

Please see your instructor, Beatrice Arduini at barduini@uw.eduabout your concerns as soon as possible. If you are still not satisfied, you may contact Geoffrey Turnovsky, Chair, at

Access and Accommodations

Your experience in this class is important to us, and it is the policy and practice of the University of Washington to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law. Disability Resources for Students (DRS) offers resources and coordinates reasonable accommodations for students experiencing a wide range of temporary and permanent disabilities and/or health conditions that may impact their ability to perform well in the classroom. These include but are not limited to; mental health, attention-related, learning, vision, hearing, physical or health impacts. If you are experiencing any such difficulties, please contact DRS as soon as possible. Once you have established accommodations, please submit them to your instructor at your earliest convenience so we can discuss your needs and success in this course.

Religious Accommodations

It is the policy of the University of Washington to reasonably accommodate student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities in accordance with Washington state law. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at Faculty Syllabus Guidelines and Resources. Accommodations must be within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form

Other Resources

Facts and information regarding spring quarter 2021

Novel coronavirus & COVID-19: facts and resources


Hall Health Center

The Counseling Center

UW Leadership Without Borders

The Q Center

Note: the syllabus may be changed at any time if necessary. I will communicate changes to the schedule via Canvas.



Catalog Description: 
Explores topics in literature and cultures of the early modern world (approximately 1400-1800) across national and regional cultures, such as particular movements, authors, genres, themes, or problems.
Department Requirements Met: 
Literature Core
GE Requirements Met: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
October 12, 2021 - 10:22pm