ONLINE CLASS: “In the Middle of Our Life’s Journey”: Dante’s Inferno (2171)

Six Tuesdays: June 15, 22, 29 and (skip July 6), July 13, 20, 27, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.


$170.00 (10% off for members)

This class is sold out. Please email for the waitlist.

This year marks the seventh Centenary of both the completion of Dante Aligheri'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. The Divine Comedy offers us the most familiar, yet most mysterious of all spectacles: the human journey through the full cycle of life and death.

Frank Ambrosio, director of Georgetown University’s My Dante Project, lays out a roadmap that enables participants to experience the Comedy as Dante intended: a journey of his self-discovery, both terrible and sublime, set in a landscape as varied as the array of unforgettable characters who reside there. For readers, it can be a rewarding journey of personal discovery, too. This 6-week session, to be followed by future sessions on the Purgatorio and the Paradiso, begins with look at Dante’s first work, Vita Nuova, which sets the stage for the Commedia, and then moves through the first stage of Dante’s journey from the Dark Wood where he finds himself lost and alone, through the nine infernal circles to the climactic encounter with Satan, which, ironically, becomes the occasion of his conversion and the beginning of his return to the light. His guide on this adventure is the greatest of classical “pagan” poets, Virgil, whose Aeneid offered Dante the prototype of his own epic. Dante’s choice of Virgil as guide and his choice of the “vulgar” Tuscan language of Florentine home both alert us to the scope of his ambition for his poem, “to write in verse what has never been written before….” Six Tuesdays: June 15, 22, 29 and (skip July 6), July 13, 20, 27, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.



  • The class will be using the Inferno, by Dante (Translation by Robert and Jean Hollander) ISBN 9780385496988
  • For the Vita Nuova, by Dante (Translation by Mark Musa) ISBN 9780253201621


  • Dante: Poet of the Secular World, by Erich Auerbach
  • Introductory Papers on Dante: The Poet Alive in His Writings, by Dorothy L. Sayers
  • Dante: A Life, by R.W.B Lewis 

Frank Ambrosio is Professor of Philosophy at 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 teaches 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.

The Inferno Cover Image
By Dante, Robert Hollander (Translated by), Jean Hollander (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780385496988
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Anchor - January 8th, 2002

Dante's Vita Nuova, New Edition: A Translation and an Essay (Midland Book) Cover Image
By Dante Alighieri, Mark Musa (Translator)
ISBN: 9780253201621
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Indiana University Press - April 22nd, 1973

Dante: A Life (Penguin Lives) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143116417
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Penguin Books - November 24th, 2009

Dante: Poet of the Secular World Cover Image
By Erich Auerbach, Ralph Manheim (Translated by), Michael Dirda (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9781590172193
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: NYRB Classics - January 16th, 2007

Introductory Papers on Dante Cover Image
ISBN: 9781597524919
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Wipf & Stock Publishers - January 1st, 2006