McConnell Scholars journey through Dante's Hell
University of Louisville English Professor Andrew Rabin, PhD, is leading McConnell Scholars through a year-long study of Dante’s “Inferno.” The allegory relates the journey of Dante, guided by the poet Virgil, through Hell – depicted as nine circles of suffering.
McConnell Center Director Gary Gregg, PhD, said he was inspired to create the “Dante Society” after realizing how frequently Dante’s work came up in Scholar seminars last spring, particularly discussions on Robert Penn Warren’s “All the King’s Men” and Wendell Berry’s “Jayber Crow.”
“It seemed like we were being led to read Dante himself, to really sink in and learn the works rather than merely speculate on the meanings and connections referenced in other literature,” Gregg said.
Rabin is leading five seminars on Dante this fall. The Society will complete “Inferno” in the spring.
Scholars said they were excited for the chance to explore Dante’s masterpiece in depth and in a relaxed group setting.
“The text is so intricate that, even though I’ve only just begun to read it, I know it will warrant multiple readings in the future,” said Natalie Smith (’16), chair of the McConnell Scholars Program.
“I learn best through discussion,” said Nicole Fielder (’19). “The Dante Society will help me learn much more than I would have had I decided to read the work on my own.”
“We hope the students come away from this year with a profound new understanding of one of the foundational pieces of literature in western history and might come to learn a few things about themselves along the way,” Gregg said.
By Alicia Humphrey, a 2017 McConnell Scholar