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He's a really nice guy, but that doesn't help his teaching. Like others have said, he literally reads the text aloud. Though the class was called Dante, implying all his works, Betti focuses on the Inferno and rushes through Purgatory and Paradise; but he still expects you to write essays on the latter two. But if you're good with last-minute essays, this is the class for you; he'd give out prompts for two 4-page essays on Thursday and expect them by Tuesday. I didn't do any reading outside of class until I knew what the essay prompts were. If you're OK with being rushed, it's not that hard of a class, but it can get boring; Betti speaks with an accent that may be hard to understand at times and he tends to mumble. Try to stay awake.
I took him for his Dante class in Spring '06. Consider that most, if not all, people were taking this as a filler class since it has no G.E. value. The man is hard to understand (Italian accent and low voice). The class was sparsely attended despite threats that 4 absences would equal an automatic fail; no doubt one that stemmed from his previous experiences. What is sad to me is that this passes off as a UCLA class. If you really want to read Dante in-depth: 1) read it on your own as someone here mentioned or 2) take a Comparative Lit. class. Other than that be prepared to do 2 EASY, high school-quality papers to get an A and never go to class. I only went 'cause of the threat which never fell through otherwise he'd have failed 3/4 of the class. I do NOT recommend the class especially if you value your time.
Too bad he totally ruined Dante for me. I was really looking forward to taking this class, unfortunately, I don't even want to look at The Divine Comedy anymore. Lectures are not lectures. He basically reads out loud whatever we were supposed to have read outside of class. If I wanted story-time, I'd go back to kindergarten. There was a take-home midterm and a take-home final, which were both mediocre, but neither of which was discussed or considered in class lectures. Do your best to avoid this professor.
Did I miss something? Because I read these other reviews and definitely think I did. Betti is quite possibly the worst professor I've had at this school. I dread going to class and feel like everytime I do, it is merely read-along-with-Betti hour, as all he does is stand up in front of the sleeping class, reading verbatim from the Dante book, and telling useless anecdotes that are both uninteresting and not informative in the least. It's also disturbing how he storms out of the room immediately after class. You have to run out the door after him to talk to him...and he NEVER announced any sort of office hours for the class. Perhaps he's easy (I don't know yet as I still haven't received my midterm back yet) but at least for me, the lack of intellectual benefits far override a lack of difficulty. In sum, just avoid his class if you have any interest in learning something.