Dante's Divine Comedy, arguably the most famous work in Italian literature, is too politically incorrect for undiluted consumption in schools, a group of academics has claimed.
The epic, medieval poem, describing the writer's journey through hell, purgatory and heaven, is full of offensive stereotyping and should be removed from the curriculum or used with greater caution, according to the Rome-based research group Gherush92, which advises the United Nations on social issues.
The text, a cornerstone of literature lessons, "presents content that is offensive and discriminatory" in the way it routinely portrays grisly, divine punishments for Jews, Muslims and homosexuals, Valentina Sereni, the group's president, said.
"We do not advocate censorship or burning... but would like it to be acknowledged, clearly and unambiguously, that in the Comedy there is racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic content," Mr Sereni told the Adnkronos news agency. "Art can not be above such criticism." His comments provoked criticism from other academics.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies