While many associate the tradition of epic poetry with the pagan Greeks and Romans, both Dante and Milton qualify for the laurel crown right along with the best of them. These Christian epics, however, expand the focus to the whole sweep of history from the fall of Satan to the return of Christ and the whole cosmos of heaven and earth, hell and purgatory. In this course, we will cover the entire Divine Comedy, including discussion of its background in medieval philosophy and theology, and we will cover the whole of Paradise Lost, including reflection on the culture of post-Reformation England. 

We will read: Inferno Intro and I–XI, Inferno XII–XXII, Inferno XXIII–XXXIII, Purgatorio I–XI, Purgatorio XII–XXII, Purgatorio XXIII–XXXIII, Paradiso I–XI, Paradiso XII–XXII, Paradiso XXIII–XXXIII, Paradise Lost I–II, Paradise Lost III–IV, Paradise Lost V–VI, Paradise Lost VII–VIII, Paradise Lost IX–X, and Paradise Lost XI–XII.