ITAL530b Dante in Translation
|A critical reading of Dante’s Divine Comedy and selections from the minor works, with an attempt to place Dante’s work in the intellectual and social context of the late Middle Ages by relating literature to philosophical, theological, and political concerns.|
ITAL590a Literature into Film
Strategies employed by filmmakers who adapt literary works to the screen. Detailed comparisons between cinematic adaptations and the novels, plays, and short stories on which they are based. Case studies of literary works that pose a variety of challenges to filmmakers.
ITAL600a The Renaissance in Italy
An introduction to the Renaissance in Italy, focused on reading and analyzing key texts.
ITAL647b Ariosto and Machiavelli
|This course aims to challenge the Italian critic Francesco De Sanctis’s description of Ariosto and Machiavelli as exemplary early modern authors confronted with a common set of crises, to which they propose antithetical coping strategies. For De Sanctis, Ariosto aims to maintain the status quo, even while bringing it to a culminating stage in its development; Machiavelli, instead, enacts a decisive break, a paradigm shift that anticipates a new era. By reading closely some of their defining works in dialogue with each other (Orlando Furioso and Asino; Satire and Decennali; Cinque Canti and Principe; Suppositi and Mandragola; Lena and Clizia), we can appreciate the complexities, textured approaches, and challenges that both Ariosto and Machiavelli pose to the modern age.|
ITAL680a Passions & Ideology Romanticism
The dissolution of the neoclassical values and models of Europe experiences around the end of the eighteenth century inspired the new culture that has come to be known as Romanticism, which in Italy ranges from roughly 1790 to 1848. This course explores the pivotal ideology of the new movement: the new aesthetics of Romanticism, ideas of political liberty, pursuit of the unification of the country, and, in general, the cultural mythology of Risorgimento (encompassing issues such as the cult of Rome, universal education, revolutionary ideals, new configurations of urban spaces, etc.). We discuss these questions by focusing on five leading figures of the time and reading with considerable attention their selected works: the tragedies by Vittorio Alfieri, the poetry and prose of Ugo Foscolo, selections by the lyrical poet/philosopher Giacomo Leopardi, the aesthetic and political writings of Giuseppe Mazzini, and essays, poetry, plays, and a novel by Alessandro Manzoni.
ITAL781 Boccaccio's Decameron
|This course involves an in-depth study of Boccaccio’s text as a journey in genre in which the writer surveys all the storytelling possibilities available to him in the current repertory of short narrative fiction—ranging from ennobling exempla to flamboyant fabliaux, including hagiography, aphorisms, romances, anecdotes, tragedies, and practical jokes—and self-consciously manipulates those forms to create a new literary space of astonishing variety, vitality, and subversive power. In the relationship between the elaborate frame-story and the embedded tales, theoretical issues of considerable contemporary interest emerge—questions of gendered discourse, narratology, structural pastiche, and reader response, among them. The Decameron will be read in Italian or in English for non-Italian readers. Close attention is paid to linguistic usage and rhetorical techniques in this foundational text of the vernacular prose tradition.|
ITAL940a 1492 Before & After
|Not simply the date of Columbus’s landing, 1492 also marks Lorenzo de’ Medici’s death, the banishment of Jews from Spain and Sicily (and the arrival of hundreds of them in northern Italy, welcomed by Duke Ercole I d’Este and others), the election of a Borgia pope—Alexander VI, celebrated by Machiavelli—and the birth of Pietro Aretino. This course considers the shared cultural and religious history of Italy and Spain, even as it focuses largely on Italy’s role as precursor. The Florentine Vespucci was the first to use the phrase “nuovo mondo,” and Columbus was inspired by the stories of Marco Polo and travels of Italian pilgrims to the Holy Land. While much of our focus is on pre-1492 Florence, we spend the latter part of the course thinking about aftermaths: Savonarola and Machiavelli, and the apocalyptic fervor that took over the late fifteenth century.|