provides a useful context or “frame” for a discussion of love in literature from the Middle Ages to the present day in the undergraduate seminar. Selected cantos of the Commedia
can initiate an examination of love—lust, romantic love, caritas
—and provide ways to analyze depictions of love by important authors. For example, Inferno
Cantos I and III introduce the concept of the “journey”—Dante’s through the three realms of the afterlife, and our “journey” through a series of texts to be read over one semester. Dante’s education in Inferno
constitutes an understanding of sin and of hell as the farthest place from God and His love. Moreover, in Canto I of Paradiso,
Dante reiterates that God and His love can be found throughout creation “in some places more and in others less” (I: 3), and he concludes his poem with a vision of God and of the entire universe as moved by His love. Six great authors—Francis of Assisi, Vittoria Colonna, William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Flannery O’Connor, and Gabriel García Márquez—articulate in their own words this very human experience of love, of loving something or loving someone. In the process, they illuminate both Dante’s experience in the afterlife and ours in the modern world.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited