The Divine Comedy by the late medieval Italian poet Dante Alighieri at once summarized the Middle Ages and suggested the impending era of Renaissance humanism. As a philosopher and theologian, Dante mastered the thought of his time. As a polymath with interests in Roman history, Latin literature, and the latest developments in science, optics especially, Dante anticipated the preoccupations of the ensuing centuries in Western European thought and literature.
William Greg Thalmann
William Greg Thalmann is professor of classics & comparative literature at USC. His research interests include Greek epic and drama. In particular, using anthropological and other theories, he studies the ways in which performances of ancient texts were the occasion for the convergence of class and gender discourses and the role of these texts within contemporary social and political processes, especially at times of great social change. He is currently writing a book on geography and the production of space in the Argonautika of Apollonius of Rhodes, treating the poem as an imaginative projection of questions about cultural identity that the Greeks faced in the wake of Alexander’s conquests. Truly polymathically minded, his teaching interests take him beyond Greece to Dante's Divine Comedy and to the streets of LA crime fiction.