International Institute for Culture


Lectura Dantis Aulae Hederosae
—Reading Dante at Ivy Hall

A guided reading and discussion of all 100 songs of La Divina Commedia

Dante’s great poem, La Divina Commedia, presents a personal and poetic, religious and political, literal and allegorical, vision of the afterlife.  Divided into one hundred poems or songs (canti), this work is also a reflection on the spiritual journey of the soul towards God. Reading Dante, we become  his fellow pilgrims as he travels from the lowest depths of the underworld to the very face of God, the “Love who moves the sun and the other stars.”

The pace for readings is one canto per session, which allows a thoughtful and leisurely consideration of one of the most beautiful poems ever written. The text will be read in both Italian and English.  The recommended edition and translation is by Robert Durling, The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri. Volume I: Inferno.  (Oxford University Press, 1997). Any other translation or edition is welcome, but it is best to have one with both the Italian and the English.

Nota bene: this is a grand endevor, in theory taking more than two years, but do not feel obliged to attend each and every meeting.  Indeed, each session is a one-off. Nevertheless, the more you attend, the more will you savor the most beautiful poem in the Western tradition.

Schedule of Readings Fall 2018

Wednesday, September 26

Canto: Inferno 11
Topic: Is there a structure to Hell?

Wednesday, October 3

Canto: Inferno 12
Topic: The violent bear it away.

Wednesday, October 10

Canto: Inferno 13
Topic: Violence inflicted upon oneself.

Wednesday, October 17

Canto: Inferno 14
Topic: Violence against God, Nature, or industry.

Wednesday, November 24

Canto: Inferno 15
Topic: Are even our heroes are in Hell?

Wednesday, November 7

Canto: Inferno 16
Topic: Weep for the city!

Wednesday, November 14

Canto: Inferno 17
Topic: Monstrous usury.

Wednesday, November 28

Canto: Inferno 18
Topic: Malebolge—a wicked, wicked place.

Wednesday, December 5

Canto: Inferno 19
Topic: Who are these wolves in wolf’s clothing?

Wednesday, December 12

Canto: Inferno 20
Topic: Seeing seers suffering.

Cost for the course: $10 per meeting; however enthusiastic participants may purchase a Frequent Reader’s Card: pay $100 for ten canti and you will get the next canto for free. To register for the course. please contact Miss Rebecca Haas at 215-877-9910 or write her at and copy Stephen C. Córdova at

The instructor: Stephen C. Córdova is a Latin instructor at Ivy Hall. An expert scholar of thirteenth-century Italy and intellectual history, he brings a lively and passionate approach to ancient and mediaeval texts.

Readings will resume in mid-January.

Latin Lives at Ivy Hall
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The IIC offers Latin classes throughout the year in the evening on Wednesdays, as well as full-time summer intensive courses. For more information, click here to contact the Institute.

New upcoming events will be posted soon.

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