Dan Christian, All My Life’s A Circle… A Harry Chapin and Dante Alighieri Anthology (2006)

“Taking ideas and putting them into action is a specialty of Baltimore, Maryland, English teacher Dan Christian. In his quarter century of teaching at The Gilman School, Christian has successfully merged his two passions, the music of Harry Chapin and the teaching of Dante’s poem the Divine Comedy. The result is a thought-provoking and insightful spiral-bound book of student essays called All My Life’s A Circle…A Harry Chapin & Dante Alighieri Anthology.

Until this year, Christian’s in-class efforts had been informal, with references to Harry being made as ideas arose while teaching. Recalling a concept that emerged from a 1990 seminar for teachers of Dante’s work, this year Christian formally put ‘celestial cross-pollination’–the intersection of art and literature–into place. Christian notes, ‘I asked my students to answer the question: Why and in what ways could a character in Dante’s poem have benefited from or been enriched by listening to this particular song?'”    –Linda McCarty, Circle!, Summer 2006

Dan Christian was the 2017 winner of the Durling Prize of the Dante Society of America, which recognizes exceptional accomplishments by North American secondary school teachers who offer courses or units on Dante’s life and works. Read more about Dan’s teaching philosophy on his website https://danteiseverywhere.com/.

Perpetual Astonishment Blog

“Join the journey, canto by canto, through Dante’s universe. This is a world of beauty, terror, holiness, humor and wisdom that is one of the world’s greatest creations.

[. . .]

This website/blogsite is a response to requests from some that we study and journey together. It will slowly expand through the weeks, months and years… or it will disappear all together. Several of us will begin walking through the entire Divine Comedy by Dante, not with me doing all the work, but with all of us involved in reading a canto a week or so, and then sharing insights, discoveries, etc. I will add other posts as I study in other areas.”    —Perpetual Astonishment, February 17, 2014

 

Enrico Castelli Gattinara, Come Dante può salvarti la vita (Giunti, 2019)

Enrico-Castelli-Gattinara-Come-Dante-puo-salvarti-la-vita-2019“Nell’era dell’effetto Dunning-Kruger, quella distorsione per cui chi meno sa più crede di sapere, è bello scoprire che invece ci sono stati casi – e tanti – in cui sapere, ricordare, rievocare ha fatto letteralmente la differenza tra vivere o morire, tra fortuna e miseria, tra resistenza e disperazione. E non il conoscere pratiche estreme di sopravvivenza, ma il fatto di riportare alla mente il brano di un grande classico imparato a memoria ai tempi della scuola, di sapere come posare le dita su uno strumento musicale, di riuscire a immaginare un dipinto o poter scattare una fotografia, di comprendere, se non interpretare, un’opera teatrale. Il fatto di avere l’opportunità di accedere alla cultura. Sì, alla cultura. Enrico Castelli Gattinara tutti i giorni deve trovare il modo per convincere i suoi ragazzi che conoscere serve. E quando loro sbuffano alla richiesta di imparare qualche verso di Dante a memoria, comincia a raccontare loro la storia di un uomo che grazie a quelle terzine è sopravvissuto al campo di concentramento.”    — Giunti catalog

Contributed by Jessica Beasley (Florida State University ’18)

Dante to College Administrators: On Debt

“I do not know if then I was too bold when I answered him in just this strain: ‘Please tell me, how much treasure did our Lord insist on from Saint Peter before He gave the keys into his keeping? Surely He asked no more than ‘Follow me.’

“So says Dante to Pope Nicholas. The pontiff is in torment in Dante’s hell for simony: profiting from selling church offices for money. Others will join him soon and he is only the latest of many before he came. Dante shows him upside down, feet in the air, because this false shepherd has loved money more than God or God’s people. He has turned the non-profit work of the church to profit and so inverted the calling of the church.

“Only a master as great as Dante can combine beautiful poetry with a jeremiad against the church that was so true, good, and lovely that Christians called his comedy divine.” […]    –John Mark N. Reynolds, Patheos, March 30, 2019

A College Education. . .

a-college-education

“A COLLEGE education aims to guide students through unfamiliar territory — Arabic, Dante, organic chemistry — so what was once alien comes to feel a lot less so. But sometimes an issue starts so close to home that the educational goal is the inverse: to take what students think of as familiar and place it in a new and surprising light.” [. . .]    –Ethan Bronner, The New York Times, November 1, 2012