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SOF Three-Day Symposium: Dante and the Origins of the Modern World

In collaboration with the Friends of Florence.

*This event is by invitation only.

What teachings does Dante conceal in his “veil of verses”? In fact, the Divine Comedy teaches us about virtually everything. It is an encyclopedia that illuminates politics, history, justice, religion, ethics, art, friendship, and love. It teaches about freedom, responsibility, and what it means to be human. The great Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges, who called the Divine Comedy the best and most moving book ever written, said that no one should deny themselves the pleasures of reading Dante. This seminar will explore Dante’s life and writings in order to realize how his work influenced the world of the Italian Renaissance, and how, seven centuries after it was written, his poetry still speaks to us today.View full agenda here


Bill Cook is Distinguished Teaching Professor of History Emeritus at the State University of New York at Geneseo. He has won several important teaching awards including Professor of the Year in the state of New York from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. Bill is co-author of The Medieval World View: An Introduction (3rd edition, Oxford University Press) and the author of several other books and numerous articles. He has taught Dante’s Divine Comedy for 40 years, including at a maximum security prison (Attica) in New York. Bill and his colleague Ronald Herzman made a 24-lecture Dante course for The Great Courses (aka The Teaching Company) and led a Dante program in Italy for Friends of Florence. Bill has also appeared in a Learning Channel special about Dante. In retirement, Bill has established the Bill Cook Foundation, which provides educational opportunities for some of the world’s poorest children in 15 countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

Ross King is the author of five books on Italian history, art and architecture, including Brunelleschi’s Dome and Leonardo and The Last Supper. His most recent work is Florence: The Paintings & Frescoes, 1250-1743, the most comprehensive book ever published on the art of Florence. He is one of two art historians on “The Leonardo Project,” a multidisciplinary joint venture with Institut de Paléontologie Humaine, the J. Craig Venter Institute, Rockefeller University, and the University of Florence. He is currently working on pictorial representations of The Divine Comedy by Italian artists in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

Day 1: August 23, 2016
Private Home

Dat 2: August 24, 2016
Lauder Room in Koch Building

Day 3: August 25, 2016
Lauder Room in Koch Building

Cost: $550/participant or $410/auditor

Event information
Tue Aug 23, 2016 - Fri Aug 26, 2016
Koch Building
Aspen Meadows Campus
Aspen, CO