The Invention of Fiction: Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron|
Spring 2020 not offered
MDST 245, COL 255|
In this course we read and discuss Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron (ca. 1353), a collection of 100 short stories traded by an "honest brigade" of 10 Florentine men and women. They tell each other these stories while sheltered in a secluded villa as the plague of 1348 rages in Florence. We study the Decameron as both a product and an interpretation of the world Boccaccio inhabited. We examine the Decameron's tales and narrative frame as a point of entry into the cultural and social environment of medieval Italy. We look at its scurrilous, amusing, and provocative innuendos as traces of erotic, religious, ethnic, and cultural questions. We investigate the sexual exuberance of many of Boccaccio's tales and the tension between "high" and "low" culture. We consider the development of mercantilism and literacy in early-modern Europe and its emerging virtues of wit and self-reliance. We review the dynamics of composition and reception in manuscript culture and the book's adaptation into different media, from illuminations to film. And by impersonating the 10 Florentines, we will reenact their pastime of telling stories and appreciate Boccaccio's remarkably modern sensibility and unsurpassed art of writing fiction. This course is conducted in Italian.
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Seminar||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (ITST)(RMST)
G. Boccaccio, DECAMERON (ed. V. Branca, Turin: Einaudi)
P.P. Pasolini, IL DECAMERON (film)
F. Fellini, BOCCACCIO '70 (film)
Additional reading materials will be provided in PDF.
|Examinations and Assignments: |
Oral presentation, quizzes, discussion questions, written assignments of varied lengths, including book review, final project. This is a discussion-based class and students' active participation is expected, encouraged, and supported.
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments: |
THIS COURSE IS INTENDED PRIMARILY FOR THE FOLLOWING STUDENTS: those who have a) completed the 221-222 sequence; b) who have studied in Italy (for one or two semesters); c) whose experience with Italian is very recent (e.g., studied in Italy during the Fall). This course may be suitable for students who have not completed a course at the 221-222 level but whose placement exam suggested they should take courses numbered above 221. In the event that a student with advanced reading, writing, and speaking abilities in Italian has not yet completed a course at the 221-222 level, s/he will be asked to conduct a brief oral interview with the professor during registration or drop/add. In the event that the student does not meet the prerequisites AND the professor has any doubts as to placement, he will ask the student to engage in a brief oral interview.
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