Exploration of medieval Italian cultural history through a broad variety of literary and other textual traditions.
Autumn 2013 - Boccaccio and the Italian Novella. This course offers students the opportunity to study Boccaccio’s Decameron, one of the most influential works in the history of European literature, analyze some of Boccaccio’s sources, and consider the impact of Boccaccio’s technique on later authors. The Decameron resists classification as either a fully medieval or Renaissance text, combining an elaborately worked out structure reminiscent of Dante with forward-thinking views on religion and women. Boccaccio is a consummate storyteller who presents a collection of short stories famous for their humor, sexual explicitness, and anti-clericalism, dealing with themes such as love, the vagaries of fortune, the power of speech, and business and travel in the Mediterranean world, as well as crafting a highly articulate meta-narrative which comments on the art of storytelling itself. Taught in Italian.
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