Dante’s Divine Comedy

The plan:

To read together one of the deepest, richest, and most enjoyable epic stories in the history of European civilization.


Weekly, 1 hour and 15 minutes.


Mid-September (Inferno); early-to-mid-January (Purgatorio & Paradiso).

Meeting times:

Determined by group needs; usually a weekday evening (ending by 9 Eastern) or a Saturday afternoon. Contact us using one of the buttons below, or “Contact” above, to let us know your preferences!

Meeting venue:

Online (via Zoom) and in-person options available. In-person meetings will happen in Roanoke, Virginia.

Amount of reading:

Three “cantos” most weeks (about 11 pages); a few times we’ll take only two.

Recommended text:

Allen Mandelbaum’s translation; the paperback Bantam Classic edition costs about $8 new for each “canticle” (that is, Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso). You can buy them one at a time as we go along.

Mandelbaum stays closer to the original Italian than most other verse translations, and he manages some fine poetic writing. However, if you already have another translation and would prefer to use it, please write your convener to ask. Many others will work well, but there are a few that aren’t suitable for the kind of reading we’ll do.


For the fullest impact of Dante’s epic, travel with us for his entire journey - descending into the depths of hell in order to be drawn later through the celestial heights! But, as with all our groups, you are welcome to come to as many, or as few, meetings as desired.

That means, for example, that you could come for just one or two of the poem’s three canticles, or just to attend as often as you can (and read along with the group when you can’t). Many participants in past years have done each of these, and it’s worked out fine.