Monday, December 14, 2009

Yale Lectures - Dante

I've just finished a course of lectures at Yale University. No I haven't been out of the country I listened to them via the wonderful Open Yale Courses site. You can download the lectures as audio and as video as well as transcripts of the lectures and extra notes for each lecture. You can even download the exams and have a go!

The course I listened to was Dante in Translation with Professor Giuseppe Mazzotta which consisted of twenty four one hour lectures. The course is an introduction to Dante and his cultural milieu through a critical reading of the Divine Comedy and selected minor works (Vita nuova, Convivio, De vulgari eloquentia, Epistle to Cangrande).

Very enjoyable. The professor, as we used to say, "knows his stuff" and from the two video lectures I watched seemed to lecture without the use of notes.

As a former teacher I was most interested in his methods and the equipment he used. Talk and chalk were his preferred option; no powerpoints, no slides, just talk and the odd phrase or work written on the board. He also spent quite a while answering questions from the students and the last session was a recap mostly by answering such questions.

I was delighted to see that the front rows of seats in the lecture theatre were empty, students and lecture goers are the same the world over!!

Picture: One of the many excerpts from the Divine Comedy in the streets of Florence. This one reads: I was born and grew up on the fair stream of Arno in the great city. (Sinclair translation)

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