New Haven



Dante's Divine Comedy - Part 1          

Traugott Lawler, Professor Emeritus of English

Tuesdays, October 3 - November 21, 3:00 - 4:30 pm

Location: Rose Alumni House, 232 York Street, New Haven, CT 06511


Course Description: 

This course will run for two semesters.  In the fall we will read Inferno and half of Purgatorio; in the spring we will finish Purgatorio and read Paradiso.  Please read the first eight cantos of Inferno before the first class in the fall, and cantos 18-25 of Purgatorio before the first class in the spring.  It's a poem, not a treatise of theology, and we will aim to treat it that way.  Our text has both the Italian and a pretty literal translation, and your pleasure in the poetry will be far greater if you spend some time on that left-hand page, which you can do, using the translation as a guide, even if you have no Italian at all.



We will use John Sinclair's translation (the set availabe new from Oxford University Press for $60; many used copies available from; it's also in many libraries and there is a Kindle edition).


Syllabus: TBD

Week 1- Oct. 3: 

Week 2- Oct. 10: 

Week 3- Oct. 17: 

Week 4- Oct. 24: 

Week 5- Oct. 31: 

Week 6- Nov. 7: 

Week 7- Nov. 14:

Week 8- Nov. 21:


Professor Traugott Lawler

Traugott Lawler is a specialist in medieval English and Latin literature and a former Master of Ezra Stiles College.  He and Peggy, his wife of 59 years, live in Hamden.  After earning his doctorate from Harvard, he began teaching at Yale in 1966, left in 1972 to teach at Northwestern, and returned in 1981 as Professor of English.  He retired in 2005, but has continued to teach and do research, coming to his office at Yale daily.  He fell in love with English literature in high school, thanks to two charismatic teachers, and has never lost that love.  During his active career, he strayed from his specialty often to teach all the major poets, and he has taken the Alumni College as an opportunity to teach Yeats, Dickenson, Joyce, Dickens, Austen, George Eliot, Trollope, Hardy, and Thackeray, the nineteenth-century novel being a special favorite of his.  He has taught in the Alumni College in every semester but one since it started, and is looking forward now to teaching Dante in 2017-18.  Traugott Lawler was presented the Yale Alumni College Distinguished Teaching Award in 2017 for his engaging courses and dedication to the success of the program.