Comparative Literature | Honors Seminar: Virgil. Dante. MIlton.
C200 | 11537 | Prof. Jeff Johnson

MWF 11:15AM-12:05PM
Carries Arts & Humanities credit

This is your chance to journey through three unforgettable epic poems.
They dominate the landscape of Western literature like few others.
Vergilís Aeneid tells the harrowing story of the founding of the Roman
Empire. In The Divine Comedy, Dante travels through the lowest pit of
hell to the outer reaches of the cosmos to glimpse the face of his
God. John Miltonís Paradise Lost brings to life the rebellion of
Lucifer and the Fall of Adam and Eve. Each poet put everything he knew
about life and literature into his masterpiece. Centuries later,
artists, designers, songwriters, historians, politicians, theologians,
and film makers continue to find inspiration in these rich narratives.
We will read each epic in its entirety, accompanied by selections of
modern scholarship to help situate each poem in its historical
context. We will examine each poetís biography and his own time period
to see how they shaped his development as a literary artist. In
particular, we will focus on how Dante transformed the work of Vergil
and how Milton in turn transformed the work of Vergil and Dante together.
Students interested in literature, history (ancient Rome, medieval
Italy, and Renaissance England), politics and art, philosophy,
mythology, theology, ethics, and psychology are welcome. There are no
prerequisites for this course; however, it is recommended that you
have completed at least one literature course or one course in
pre-modern European history. This course is reserved for students in
the Hutton Honors College; however, students interested in this course
who are not in the Hutton Honors College are encouraged to contact the
instructor, Jeff Johnson (, for permission to
enroll. Workload will include two shorter essays, one comparative
essay, and a report on modern scholarship, in addition to brief
writing assignments. For further information, contact the instructor
at the preceding address.