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Expanding Eyes: A Visionary Education

Expanding Eyes: A Visionary Education

By Michael Dolzani
This podcast is aimed at a non-specialist audience interested in acquiring what Northrop Frye called, in the title of one of his books, an educated imagination. Its materials are drawn from the many courses in literature and mythology that I taught, combined with material from my book The Productions of Time, for which I hope the podcast may provide an accessible introduction, with concrete examples.
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Ep. 11: The Purgatorio and the theme of reunion. The use and abuse of art. The achievement of true freedom.
The theme of reunion begins, as Dante meets his dead friend Casella. Casella, a musician, performs a poem by Dante that he has set to music, until they are interrupted by Cato, who tells them to stop wasting time. Art can be redemptive or escapist depending on how it is used. At the top of the mountain, Virgil tells Dante he has achieved the only true freedom, which is internal and disciplined, not a mere absence of external rules.
June 13, 2021
Ep. 10: Dante’s Purgatorio and the Hope of Self-Transformation
Recreation as the real promise of Christianity: we can change; we can be recreated through trial, an insight not dependent on literal belief in Christian doctrine. The role of education in the purgatorial or recreative process, and the role of the arts in education.
June 6, 2021
Ep. 9: Purgatorio, Canto 1: The Hope of a Purgatorial Life
Easter Sunday, 1300: the 7-story mountain of Purgatory, and image of the human hope of transformation through trial and suffering, whether in this life or the next.
May 30, 2021
Ep. 8: Inferno, Cantos 33 and 34: Satan and the Worst Sinners in History, the Betrayers
Why is betrayal the worst of all sins, far worse than murder? The psychological nature of evil, the rending of the bonds of human interconnection, the essence of damnation.
May 23, 2021
Ep. 7: Inferno, Canto 26: The Ulysses Canto. Forbidden Knowledge
The thrilling famous speech of Ulysses, questing for experience and knowledge. What is forbidden knowledge? Knowledge sought for selfish reasons, including power. The real forbidden knowledge is of our true motives, about which we lie not only to others but to ourselves.
May 16, 2021
Ep. 6: The Complexities of Love
Canto 5, continued: The tension between romantic and spiritual love in Dante. Canto 15: The mutual affection and respect between Dante and his former teacher (and father figure) Brunetto Latini, punished for homosexuality.
May 9, 2021
Ep. 5: The Nature of Evil. The Damnation of the Unbaptized
A psychological speculation on the motive for human evil that does not depend on religious commitment.The damnation of unbaptized infants and virtuous pagans: the acceptance of tragedy within the divine comedy.
May 2, 2021
Ep. 4: Romantic Love Continued, and the Vestibule of the Uncommitted
The problems of ideal romantic love, which we still wrestle with. The issue of commitment, of taking a stand, which we also still wrestle with.
April 25, 2021
Ep. 3: The Invention of Romantic Love
Canto 2 of The Divine Comedy, in which Dante, as reluctant as any hobbit, is induced by Virgil to embark upon his quest by speaking of Dante’s love Beatrice Portinari, a real woman, though loved according to the new conventions called Courtly Love, from which descend our ideas that romantic love can save you when nothing else can.
April 18, 2021
Ep 2: In the Dark Wood: Dante’s Mid-life Crisis and Ours
Canto 1 of The Divine Comedy: in mid-life, we suddenly realize we are “lost in the woods,” and no longer know “the way.”
April 11, 2021
Ep. 1: The Expanded Vision of the Imagination
Introduction to the “Expanding Eyes” podcast series and to its first subject, Dante’s Divine Comedy, completed exactly 700 years ago in 1321.
March 28, 2021