Friday, October 25, 2013

Dante: Inferno

What's Schoolin'?

The olders and I are going through Dante's Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso.  I checked several translations out from the library but my favorite, and the one we are reading for all 3, is by Allen Mandelbaum. It is not translated in rhyme, but rather goes for a clear and pleasant prose translation.  We are studying a little bit (just one page!) in the original Italian to see how Dante brilliantly used poetry for this epic work and to see the pattern.

Here are my loose 'lesson plans' for Dante's Inferno:

~ Read aloud selected text from p.126-135 of Reading the Middle Ages: An introduction to Medieval Literature by T. Steinberg [you can see a preview of the chapter here]

~ Read the following sections and pages from CliffsNotes aloud and discuss:
   p.5-11 Life and Background
   p.11 Figure of Virgil
   p.11-12 Structure of the Comedy (to appreciate it)
   p.12-14 Interpretation
   p.14-18 General Synopsis

~ Read Inferno Cantos I-XI independently.

~ Read the last part of Inferno aloud to them [line 100 to the end of Inferno].

~ Briefly read through possible essay topics at the end of CliffsNotes; Re-read #3 and #6.

~ They choose from #3 or #6 to write their essay for Inferno.

It took us 2 lesson periods to go through the intro items.  They read Cantos I-XI in one sitting the next day.  I read the last section of Inferno to them and assigned the essay the next.  Dante was more 'daunting' before we got into it (The book is 2 inches thick! Plus, they were expecting it to be as gory as The Aeneid).  One daughter asked, "Why can't we just read the whole thing?"  Yeah!

Next:  Purgatorio...

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