In 1302, Dante Alighieri found himself exiled from his home in Florence, Italy. As the victim of brutal party politics, he spent the remainder of his life struggling to comprehend the loss and humiliation he had suffered at the hands of his enemies. Over the next 20 years, Dante composed an epic poem that turned the details of his personal tragedy into a literary triumph. The Divine Comedy, an allegorical journey from hell to paradise, recasts the details of Dante's life, the events of his time, and the prominent ideas of the Middle Ages into a unified vision of striking beauty. This seminar will explore the life and work of this outstanding poet, revealing a rare glimpse of a dynamic age struggling with common human concerns including interfaith dialogue, sexuality, partisan politics, justice, and the role of community in human development. Students should expect to immerse themselves in the historical, literary, philosophical and religious sources that inspired Dante. In addition to reading excerpts from Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise, students will interpret these texts with primary source documents, historical studies, medieval art, and multimedia commentaries. Through writing, discussion, and debate, students will connect Dante's art and experience to contemporary issues and concerns.