Dante and His World: Purgatory

Ref: C3527699

If you have survived the horrors of Hell, this course takes you further into Dante’s amazing world. Join him in a spiritual climb up the Mountain of Purification. Arduous, but everyone here is saved: the only way is up!

Additional information about this course

NB There is no session on 31/05/17

Course aim

To explore Dante’s concept and poetic treatment of the human soul in a temporary state of purgation on its journey to Heaven.

Who is the course for?

Some acquaintance with Dante’s Hell (the Inferno) is helpful, but it is NOT a requirement to have followed Dr Bemrose’s (or any other) course on that work.

What topics will this course cover

1.The nature of repentance 2. The central concepts of Love and Free Will 3. Dramatic encounters with mediaeval contemporaries of Dante 4. Dante’s European perspective on the history and politics of his time 5. His attitude towards the Church 6. The reunion with his beloved Beatrice

What will it be like?

WEA classes are friendly and supportive. You will be encouraged to work together with your fellow students and tutor. You will be asked to share your ideas and views in the class and work with the group to give and accept feedback in a supportive environment. The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you to be actively involved in your learning. You may be asked to undertake work to support your course outside of your class.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

1. Describe and illustrate how Dante’s relationship with his guide Virgil evolves as the Purgatorio progresses. 2. Analyse with specific examples Dante’s widening perspective on mediaeval Europe in the Purgatorio. 3. Link the fundamental motifs of Free Will and Love in the Purgatorio. 4. Show how Dante’s convictions about the nature and craft of poetry are central to his encounters with fellow poets in Purgatory. 5. Identify the basic theological components underlying the structure of Dante’s Mount Purgatory.

How will I know I'm making progress?

The course has no formal assessed assignments, but feedback on learning and achievement operates informally, yet very valuably, in the constant flow of questions, reactions and debate within the group. Individual involvement in this is constantly encouraged.

What else do I need to know, do or bring?

Students will need a copy of Dante, The Divine Comedy Vol.II : Purgatory, translated by Mark MUSA (Penguin Classics).

Reading and information sources

Some acquaintance with Dante’s Inferno is helpful, but by no means essential.

What could the course lead to?

This course offers ideal preparation for tackling Dante’s Paradiso.

Download full course outline

Dante and His World: Purgatory Course Outline

Is this course right for me? Request more information

This course has been cancelled.


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2016
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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