04Inf5W11 - Cultural encounters, cont.: The ancient world...

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Cultural encounters, cont.: The ancient world judges the modern Inferno 5: Francesca: “modern” woman; paradigm of sin 1
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The moderns judge the ancients: Limbo: A good place or a bad place? Limbo, Gustave Doré, 1861 A noble castle, seven times encircled by high walls, defended all around by a lovely little stream. This we passed over like solid ground… a meadow of fresh green, bright green grass ( verde smalto ) Inf. 4.106-118. 2
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Limbo: A good place or a bad place? Aeneas in Elysian Fields. Dosso Dossi (c. 1490 – 1542) They gained the land of joy, the fresh green ±elds, the Fortunate Groves where the blessed make their homes. Here a freer air, a dazzling radiance clothes the ±elds and the spirits possess their own sun, their own stars. Aeneid 6, 620-47, trans. Fagles 3
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Limbo: A place we know? • So I saw come together the lovely school of that lord of highest song… (4.94) • Through seven gates I entered with these sages; we came into a meadow of fresh green 4
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Limbo: A place we know? Here were people with slow, grave eyes and great authority in their countenances …(4.112) There opposite, on the bright green grass, all the great spirits were shown to me, so that I am still exalted within myself at the sight (4.118) 5
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“A kind of immortality” “Entering into a conversation with the great authors of the western tradition holds out the prospect of experiencing ‘a kind of immortality’ and achieving ‘a position immune to the corrupting powers of time.’ Stanley Fish, “Will the Humanities Save Us”, The New York Times , Jan. 6, 2008, http://±sh.blogs.nytimes.com/ , paraphrasing Anthony Kronman, Education’s End: Why Our Colleges and Universities Have Given Up on the Meaning of Life . 6
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Saving the humanities. Can the humanities save us? “Given the shallowness of spirit and superFciality of philosophy among the most elite in this country, some salvation is required. The humanities are what we see them to be. If we see an academic subject as diversion, that’s what we get. And if we see in it the meaning of life, we have a shot to save our mortal souls.” Blogger’s response to Stanley ±ish, “Will the Humanities Save Us”, The New York Times , Jan. 6, 2008, http://Fsh.blogs.nytimes.com/ , 7
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Did Virgil need saving? “It is not the business of the humanities to
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This note was uploaded on 04/24/2011 for the course ITALIAN 333 taught by Professor Cornish during the Winter '11 term at University of Michigan.

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04Inf5W11 - Cultural encounters, cont.: The ancient world...

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