ITAL-375 Boccaccio: The Invention of Storytelling
Fall for 2017-2018
The Decameron, one of the most entertaining, beloved and imitated prose works ever written, is an accurate reflection of fourteenth-century life in Italy. Like Dante's Divine Comedy, this human comedy was written not only to delight, but also to instruct by exploring both our spiritual and our natural environment. Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375), considered by some typically medieval and by others one of the first truly modern literary figures to emerge from the darkness of the Middle Ages into the light of the Renaissance, shows himself, as author of The Decameron, to be both a passionate believer and a passionate critic as he reconstructs society, destroyed by the Black Plague, through the perfection of his 100-fold narrative. Class discussions will focus on a close reading of the Decameron. Attention will also be given to Boccaccio's sources, his imitators and the socio-cultural milieu in which he wrote. The Decameron will be read in English translation. Conducted in English. This course satisfies the Humanities and Writing II requirements of the College.
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