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Mythgard Academy

Author: Mythgard Institute

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Mythgard Academy aims to make engaging discussions of fantasy and science fiction literature free and open to everyone. The Mythgard Academy program features live discussions with Dr. Corey Olsen, The Tolkien Professor, and other experts on speculative fiction. Books are nominated and voted on by our supporters, and recordings are available for free via podcast and the Signum University YouTube channel.
336 Episodes
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MSA028: Inferno, Class 20

MSA028: Inferno, Class 20

2021-04-0301:53:101

Week 20: Where we call bologna on Dante’s talent curbing and clearly see the simple summer simile. Where with Ulysses we pass the columns, and the poles, and founder on the shores of Mount Purgatory having found the earth round. Where we hear that one cannot logically be absolved before, or during, the commission of an evil deed or counsel. Sorry, not sorry, or something like that, Minos judges. And Dante litters his own path with cautionary examples; there but for the ‘rock’ goes he. For more information about the Mythgard Academy series on Dante's Inferno, visit https://mythgard.org/academy/inferno/
MSA028: Inferno, Class 19

MSA028: Inferno, Class 19

2021-03-2801:32:07

\Week 19: A Place Among the Classics In the seventh pocket of the eighth circle, the fraudulent thieves are beset with snakes. Dante calls them all serpents, but some have six legs, and some none; some are caliente, peppercorn serpents, and some are winged, fiery dragons; some are smoking, and some are boring. Later, while describing the transformations from snake to thief and thief to snake, Dante disses Ovid and Lucan, two poets he wished to be named with back in Limbo. For more information about the Mythgard Academy series on Dante's Inferno, visit https://mythgard.org/academy/inferno/​
MSA028: Inferno, Class 18

MSA028: Inferno, Class 18

2021-03-2001:49:10

Guess what sin is punished by snakes. And cyclical incineration.
MSA028: Inferno, Class 17

MSA028: Inferno, Class 17

2021-03-1401:46:20

Week 17: Now into the second half of the Malebolge, we look back at the closing line of Canto 21 and The Comedy's lack of humor. Then on to Canto 23, where Aesop’s frog and mouse story is called upon to warn Dante against trusting too closely the partnership of Demons. And Virgil luges Dante down the rocky slope, making a quick escape from pocket 5 to 6, where they try to hide among the lead-lined, golden-robed hypocrites. For more information about the Mythgard Academy series on Dante's Inferno, visit https://mythgard.org/academy/inferno/
MSA028: Inferno, Class 16

MSA028: Inferno, Class 16

2021-03-0701:50:19

Tonight we encounter some really ... unexpected demons. What under the earth is going on here?
MSA028: Inferno, Class 15

MSA028: Inferno, Class 15

2021-03-0101:52:47

Week 15: We revisit the Baptistery of San Giovanni and notice the inversions in Dante’s destroying holy furniture to save a life while the popes destroy lives to save holy money for themselves. But what is with all the feet? And do you think Boniface saw the funny side of his little cameo, or would he be depressed in determinism like his predecessor having perverted the mechanism of forgiveness and having then no path to repentance? And here Virgil the ghost grabs Dante the flesh-man and poltergeists him back to the bridge, to the fifth ditch, the rampart of the Fortune Tellers. Where Dante cranes his own head to see the parade of backward-headed shades and sheds a tear for those who weep as their fate. And Virgil rebukes Dante, and Dante corrects Virgil, and one is ready to trust the poets again. For more information about the Mythgard Academy series on Dante's Inferno, visit https://mythgard.org/academy/inferno/
MSA028: Inferno, Class 14

MSA028: Inferno, Class 14

2021-02-2101:47:29

Week 14: True to the nature of Fraud, the 8th circle is an artificial construct of inverted imagery split into 10 concentric pockets, with bridges that look down upon each trench. The first pocket is a gender discriminated container for pimps and seducers, a sex traffic kept moving by demons with whips. The second pocket is an egalitarian circle of very rude words (What? Would you like to sugar coat with flowery language the circle of flattery?). The third pocket is for spiritual pimps, the fraud of simony, punished in inversions of baptismal fonts with sprinklings of fire on feet. The core of these three - the pimps, the seducers, and the flatterers - is treating people as beasts for their own gain. O see what Dante did there. Then, with one mention of Dante’s guilt at breaking the Baptistry of Saint John, the session ends with an internet crash. For more information about the Mythgard Academy series on Dante's Inferno, visit https://mythgard.org/academy/inferno/
MSA028: Inferno, Class 13

MSA028: Inferno, Class 13

2021-02-2102:05:55

Week 13: At the waterfall edge of the 7th circle Dante gives up his belt to conjure a ride. What is the truth which seems a lie? Poetic allegory of course. For Dante breaks the 4th wall to give his poem a name, Comedy, and to swear that he saw a beast swim in the air up the waterfall. Geryon is the impossible thing, but that’s ok, he’s a fraud. No, he’s The Fraud and through his depiction we see the truth. Fraud or no, the brute animal is the only way down into the 8th circle. And even with the command to be strong and daring, Dante is afraid like Phaethon and Icarus as Geryon descends. For more information about the Mythgard Academy series on Dante's Inferno, visit https://mythgard.org/academy/inferno/
MSA028: Inferno, Class 12

MSA028: Inferno, Class 12

2021-02-2101:51:08

Dante Finds Himself Among Friends Week 12: There are no poor people in rings 8 and 9 of the 7th circle of Hell, but no one sees clearly either. Dante condescends to walk and talk with his old teacher Brunetto and stops to let three wealthy Florentine nobles ask for news from home. But everything about this tableau is inverted and full of oblique references. For more information about the Mythgard Academy series on Dante's Inferno, visit https://mythgard.org/academy/inferno/
MSA028: Inferno, Class 11

MSA028: Inferno, Class 11

2021-02-2101:42:54

Violence Against God Session 11: Still in the Seventh Circle, in the first ring of the third ring of the Violent, where the violent objector is the landscape itself, fiery sands and flaming rain that banish all growth, we see Capaneus stuck in his railing rebellion against Jove. In the Old Man of Crete we see from the Golden Age to the crumbling of the Kingdom’s of Mankind a cracked statue weeping tears into four mythic rivers. Three of the rivers come into Hell. One confounds Dante's sense of direction, but protects his feet and quenches the fires above. And we shall forget about the fourth for the moment. For more information about the Mythgard Academy series on Dante's Inferno, visit https://mythgard.org/academy/inferno/
MSA028: Inferno, Class 10

MSA028: Inferno, Class 10

2021-01-2301:59:37

Concerning Violence Session 10: Where we arrive on time to find the tormentors of the violent are themselves the violent. The symbolic Nessus, whose own blood became the instrument of the death of his enemies, is the gracious guide and ride for Dante across the field of blood and flame and into the black wood of the suicides. Where we pause and check our own souls, lest we be careless, for the Medieval mind held that to take one’s own life was to be both murderer and victim. And Dante, in pity, becomes the voice of one tree, for when you are in the seventh circle if someone up above remembers your name it’ll be ok, cheers! For more information about the Mythgard Academy series on Dante's Inferno, visit https://mythgard.org/academy/inferno/
MSA028: Inferno, Class 9

MSA028: Inferno, Class 9

2021-01-1601:38:13

Week 9: Where we stop and notice that the Medieval mind is not modern. And just as the organization of Hell was Aristotlean so too is the nature of physics and philosophy. As Virgil and Dante discuss the purpose and place of everything in the world, Prof. Corey reminds us that in their model the sun is Happy to go around the earth, and the rock is Happy to fall to the ground with a thud, and the soul is Happy to go toward the God who made it. Thus choosing to chart a different path is the essence of sin. And in the Happiness of the motion of the spheres both the zodiac and astronomy, even as seen from the pit of Hell, could be used to tell the time of night. And we are reminded that the Harrowing of Hell has had the metaphysical effect of changing the entire landscape, making a highway out of a sheer fall.
MSA028: Inferno, Class 8

MSA028: Inferno, Class 8

2021-01-0802:01:58

The Mythgard Academy resumes our discussion of Dante's Inferno. Having gotten, with some difficulty, through the Gates of Dis, it is time to enter a new sector of Hell!
MSA028: Inferno, Class 7

MSA028: Inferno, Class 7

2020-12-1902:11:48

Class 7: Where we are reminded that Dante’s frame is a vision and an allegory and not a GPS-enabled map, and even more disturbing there are no bodies in the pageant he sees except his own. Yet, when they get to Dis, the locks may be disabled but so is their confidence; and now all Dis’ demons block their way and Virgil is dismayed. And the angel is full of disdain. And we distance ourselves from Virgil. And we leave Hell in disarray. For more information about the Mythgard Academy series on Dante's Inferno, visit https://mythgard.org/academy/inferno/
MSA028: Inferno, Class 6

MSA028: Inferno, Class 6

2020-12-1201:50:181

Class Six: Where Boethius and Dante do not understand Fortune, but Virgil does. And three of the 7 deadly sins make their appearance in a swampy, messy, mud wrestling fracas, where souls struggle against Fortune on multiple levels. And someone admits to being on the game show and to seeing someone fall! Apropos! And then there was a tall tower, with eyes. And here Dante refuses to faint but waxes eloquently unallegorical on the fate of his RL political enemy. For more information about the Mythgard Academy series on Dante's Inferno, visit https://mythgard.org/academy/inferno/
MSA028: Inferno, Class 5

MSA028: Inferno, Class 5

2020-12-0502:03:541

Class Five: Where we ask: Does Virgil recognize the shade of Aeneas’ Cerberus, and is his beast being punished here for its own appetite? And does Ciacco really want to be remembered for eternity as the man with mud on his face...? And though there is an order to the levels and punishments of Hell, the intended audience may not be obvious. And so we move from lust, through gluttony, but cannot be bothered to pause for sloth and end tonight with avarice. For more information about the Mythgard Academy series on Dante's Inferno, visit https://mythgard.org/academy/inferno/
MSA028: Inferno, Class 4

MSA028: Inferno, Class 4

2020-11-2701:49:261

Class Four: Where we digress, and agree with Aristotle. And then we think about Francesca da Rimini and Paolo and the very tragedy of their romance is the irony of their situation in the Second Circle of Hell. Is it really about turning Courtly Love on its head? Yup! And can Dante understand this intimately? Um, Dante? Oh, he has fainted again. And will we really enter the Third Circle of Hell on the day before American Thanksgiving? Where Cerberus, the three thoated doglike worm barks at, claws, rakes and rends the shades of the gluttons? Ah, we will save some of this for next week. For more information about the Mythgard Academy series on Dante's Inferno, visit https://mythgard.org/academy/inferno/
MSA028: Inferno, Class 3

MSA028: Inferno, Class 3

2020-11-2101:59:491

Class three: Dante was a poet of courtly love, and he perfected the art in pursuit of Beatrice; but here in the Inferno, he places her as his patroness in heaven sending him aid. He starts at the gates of Hell that say: Abandon all Hope; and The Divine Architect has the authority, wisdom, and love to accomplish justice here. Yet Dante must put cowardice aside and move forward through sweat and blood and tears. Past a river with a boat for the dead only, and past a Limbo where he writes himself into the list of great Latin poets, and on to where mythological pagan characters are the portal keepers of the first two circles of Hell. For more information about the Mythgard Academy series on Dante's Inferno, visit https://mythgard.org/academy/inferno/
MSA028: Inferno, Class 2

MSA028: Inferno, Class 2

2020-11-1502:04:581

Class Two: Where we set the frame, and meet the sun, and identify the scary beasts. And we see that the political, moral, spiritual, and poetical allegories blend and twist and illustrate each other. Can we dig deeper and find more treasures in Dante’s words? Oh, yes. Look how he places one moment in time! He never just says, ‘It was morning.’ No! He must take four lines to place his story in a celestial context with heavenly descriptions. And is that Virgil? And the Virgin Mary? And a host of feminine saints? What help is there for a visionary with second thoughts? Perhaps there is respite in courtly love. For more information about the Mythgard Academy series on Dante's Inferno, visit https://mythgard.org/academy/inferno/ Follow Mythgard: - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mythgardinstitute - Twitter: https://twitter.com/mythgardian - Instagram: https://instagram.com/mythgardian Connect with Signum University: - LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/signum-university - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/signumuniversity - Twitter: https://twitter.com/signumu - Instagram: https://instagram.com/signumuniversity - Twitch: https://twitch.tv/signumu
MSA028: Inferno, Class 1

MSA028: Inferno, Class 1

2020-11-0701:54:111

Mythgard Academy goes to Hell with Dr. Corey Olsen and Dante’s Inferno. Class One starts off the close look at Dante’s masterful poem with a great introduction to the 4-fold interpretation of poetry and scripture, and a warning to avoid looking at the notes instead of experiencing the poem for ourselves. It is a deep dive into a super gutsy fan fiction in everyday language that is full of allegory, politics, morality, intricate structure, and rich poetic patterns. For more information about the Mythgard Academy series on Dante's Inferno, visit https://mythgard.org/academy/inferno/
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