Reading assigment for 11/30

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Exercises in the mythological tradition

Having read what there is to say about Vergil's Aeneid in Powell's Chapter 21, Go ahead and read the first book of the Aeneid. If you have your own copy already (which all educated people should, of course), fine. If not, you can find it at the following Web site:

Click Here

As you read, think of it as the Roman response to the Odyssey. Try to find as many parallels as you can to events and themes in the Odyssey as the narrative of Aeneas' wave-tossed adventure commences.

And, lest you get too cheerful and optimistic, let's also talk about the theme of the underworld. Remind yourself (to the extent necessary) of the underworld scene in Odyssey, Book 11, and of the underworld narrative from the Aeneid Book 6, excerpts of which you can find in the underworld chapter of your textbook (or, alternatively and even better, click HERE for an electronic text of the entirety of Aeneas' underworld sojourn).

Then, by way of comparison, see how this theme is transformed into proto-renaissance Christian allegory in the Inferno of Dante. Again, anyone with a sense of self-worth should have his/her own copy of Dante, but here's an electronic text if you're having trouble finding yours:

Click HERE

Try to read at least the first Ten "Cantos" (divisions or chapters), and look for similarities and differences. Vergil is Dante's guide here in more ways than one.