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The Invention of Fiction: Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron
ITAL 235
Spring 2018
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: 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.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA RLAN
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (ITST)(RMST)
Past Enrollment Probability: 90% or above

Last Updated on DEC-15-2017
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