ONLINE CLASS: Dante's Purgatorio (2378)

Six Thursdays: November 2, 9, 16, [skip 23 - no class], 30, and Dec 7, 14, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. ET Online

$170.00 per person (10% off for members)

Lecture and Discussion. This live class will be recorded and available for later viewing.

In 2021 we celebrated the seventh centenary of both the completion of Dante Alighieri’s masterpiece and the death of the poet. Throughout Italy, across America, and around the world public readings of the Divine Comedy, commemorative lectures and events, art exhibitions and theatrical performances pay homage to the legacy of "il Sommo Poeta."

The great Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges said that no one should ever deny themselves the pleasure of reading Dante. Join the celebration; take Borges at his word and let the artistry of Dante’s epic poem delight and amaze you. Even if you have not already read Inferno, far better to start now with Purgatorio than to put off any longer joining the community of those who have followed Dante into the mysterious journey of human life and death in search of its meaning, which Dante believes lies in our freedom and responsibility for ourselves. One effective way of becoming familiar with the world of Dante’s imagination is to read R.W.B. Lewis’ short book Dante: a Life.

Sadly, the majority of Dante’s readers do not accompany him beyond his escape from the Inferno, in part, perhaps, because of an instinctive anticipation that after the lurid excitement of the Inferno is over, then the hard work of maturation must begin. Indeed, there is work aplenty on Mount Purgatorio, but there is also so much more. There is day and night, labor and rest, waking and dreaming, all the rhythms of diurnal living; but above all, there is the delight of hope and the promise of forgiveness. For those willing to undertake the steep ascent of Dante’s seven-story Mountain, nowhere in the legacy of human culture is the process of becoming a “whole person” more closely observed, nor rendered in more compelling poetic expression than in the cantos of Dante’s Purgatorio.

Reading Schedule:
N. B: It will very much heighten your enjoyment and appreciation if you are able to read through the Purgatorio before the class begins, without troubling about footnotes and going lightly over passages that might seem obscure at first. We will attend to clarifying major themes in class. Read for the narrative, main characters and the vivid poetic expression of human emotions. 
Class 1 - Introduction;  Cantos 1 - 3
Class 2 - Cantos 4 - 9
Class 3 - Cantos 10 - 16
Class 4 - Cantos 17 - 22
Class 5 - Cantos 23 - 30
Class 6 - Cantos 31 - 33.

Six Thursdays: November 2, 9, 16, [skip 23 - no class], 30, and Dec 7, 14, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. ET Online

Purgatorio (9780385497008), trans. Robert and Jean HOLLENDER


  • Dante: A Life; R.W.B Lewis (Penguin)
  • From Dark Wood to White Rose; Helen Luke

Frank Ambrosio is Professor of Philosophy Emeritus, Georgetown University. After studies in Italian language and literature in Florence, Italy, he completed his doctoral degree at Fordham University with a specialization in contemporary European Philosophy.

He is the founding Director, with Edward Maloney, of the Georgetown University “My Dante Project” a web based platform for personal and collaborative study of Dante’s Commedia. In 2014, he acted as lead instructor for the launch of an ongoing web-based course (MOOC) on Dante offered by EDX ( which currently has been utilized by over 20,000 students.

His most recent book is Dante and Derrida: Face to Face, (State University of New York Press) (Link)

He has received five separate awards from Georgetown University for excellence in teaching. He is the former Director of the Doctor of Liberal Studies Program, and in 2015, he received the Award for Faculty Achievement from the American Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs.

In October 2009, The Teaching Company released his course, "Philosophy, Religion and the Meaning of Life," ( a series of 36 half-hour video lectures which he created for the "Great Courses" series. At Georgetown, he taught courses on Existentialism, Postmodernism, Hermeneutics, and Dante.

In addition to his work at Georgetown, he co-directs The Renaissance Company with Deborah R. Warin, leading adult study programs focusing on Italian Renaissance culture and its contemporary heritage.

REFUND POLICY: Please note that we can issue class refunds up until seven (7) days before the first class session.

SKU: 9787000011977
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Purgatorio By Dante, Jean Hollander (Translated by), Robert Hollander (Translated by) Cover Image
By Dante, Jean Hollander (Translated by), Robert Hollander (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780385497008
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Anchor - January 6th, 2004

Dante: A Life (Penguin Lives) By R. W. B. Lewis Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143116417
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - November 24th, 2009