Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:
1. Explain the historic and cultural contexts of various representative works of Italian literature, including both western
and non-western elements.
2. Utilize the vocabulary and concepts of literary study, including terms specific to Italian literature and culture.
3. Analyze and evaluate selected Italian literature and criticism.
4. Analyze key characteristics of major Italian authors, styles, periods, and movements.
5. Evaluate works and authors with reference to the culture and readers of the 13th through 18th centuries.
6. Compare and contrast universal and uniquely Italian aspects of literature and culture, including ideas, values and
7. Analyze the role of translation and the translator in selected Italian literary works.
8. Compare and contrast various renderings of the same literary work, and significance of identified differences,
including perspectives of women and ethnic or other minorities.
I. Late Medieval and Early Modern Italian history
A. Late Medieval culture and political configuration of the Italian peninsula
B. Origins and development of the literary and artistic Renaissance
C. Rise of the late 15th-and early 16th-century court culture
D. Baroque movement and Counter-Reformation impact on Italian culture, 16th and 17th centuries
E. The Enlightment and Italy, 18th century
F. Italy's cultural, social, and political diversity, including influences exercised by other and/or occupying foreign powers
G. Relevance to 21st century culture and readers
H. Contributions and perspectives from social classes, gender
II. Late Medieval and Early Modern Italian culture and literature
A. Distinct literary eras, their components and relative chronology
B. Literary genres and their influence
C. Historical and cultural context of major authors and their works, and social, political and artistic trends of each period; including authorial motivation, and the content and style of his or her works
D. Significant biographical details of each author.
E. Key characteristics of major Italian authors, styles, periods and movements
F. The "Problem of Language" and the evolution of "Standard Italian"
G. Universal and uniquely Italian aspects of literature and culture, including ideas, values, and arts and aesthetics.
H. Relevance to 21st-century culture and readers
I. Comparison of different artistic expressions that reflect similar sociological, religious, ethnic, gender-based, or cultural events and themes
J. The Italian intellectual's service to power, and his/her response to Italy's political and social fragmentation and exogenous influences
K. Roles of social class, religion, gender and ethnicities
III. Understanding and appreciating literature
A. Basic terminology of literary analysis
B. How to read actively and critically, including:
1) following and summarizing a plot line
2) identifying and summarizing the major features of the works
3) recognizing the choices an author has made in shaping a work
4) recognizing the effects of those choices on the reader
C. The role of translation (the Italian adage "traduttore, traditore") and comparing translations
D.Representative authors include, but are not limited to Saint Francis of Assisi, Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Alberti, Poliziano, Castiglione, Lorenzo de' Medici, Michelangelo, Cellini, Leonardo da Vinci, Vittoria Colonna, Ariosto,
Guicciardini, Machiavelli, Aretino, Vasari, Campanella, Galileo, Tasso, Goldoni, Foscolo, Parini, and Alfieri
IV. Writing about literature
A. Formulating ideas about the reading
B. Gathering evidence from works to support ideas
C. Gathering evidence from critical sources to support ideas
D. Testing the textual and critical evidence against other available evidence
E. Presenting and supporting ideas persuasively
F. Avoiding plagiarism
1. Weekly readings of literary works and textbooks, approximately 90 to 120 pages a week.
2. In-class discussions and student evaluations of assigned readings.
3. Regular written assignments of varying lengths, which may include passage analysis, research papers, essays, reading journals.
4. Periodic progress-analysis tests. These tests will cover all major components of the course, and there will be at least one per literary work. Each test will measure the student's mastery of factual content, both of assigned
materials and of subjects presented in instructor's
lectures, and will provide an opportunity to display student's
analytical skills and personal evaluation of the works under study.
5. Mid-term and final examinations.
6. Oral participation in in-class discussions.
7. Optional: Special projects and student presentations may be assigned.
Complete English-language or dual-language texts, or anthologies, of major representative works of Italian literature from the 13th through the 18th centuries.
Texts may include, but need not be limited to:
Francis and Clare: The Complete Works. Paulist Press, 1982 (classic)
The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri. Ed. and trans. Robert M. Durling. Oxford UPR, 1996 (classic)
Petrarch's Lyric Poems, Robert M. Durling. Harvard UPR, 1976 (classic)
The Italian Renaissance Reader. Ed. Julia Conway Bondanella and Mark Musa. Meridian. (classic)
The Book of the Courtier. Baladassare Castiglione. Trans. C. Singleton. Anchor, 1959 (classic)
The Prince. Niccolo Machiavelli. Trans Geo. Bull. Penguin Books, 2005 (classic)
Selected Letters of Aretino. Trans Geo. Bull. Penguin Books, 1977 (classic)
Autobiography. Benvenuto Cellini. Trans. Geo. Bull. Penguin Books, 1999 (classic)
Tasso's Dialogues.Trans. Carnes Lord & Dain Trafton. UCPR 1982 (classic)
The City of the Sun.Tommaso Campanella. Trans Daniel Danno. UCPR. 1981 (classic)
Poems From Italy. William Jay Smith, Dan Gioia, eds. New Rivers Press. 1996 (classic)
Cambridge History of Italian Literature. Peter Brand, Lino Pertile. eds. 1996 (classic)
Medieval Callings. Ed. Jacques Le Goff. Chicago UPR. 1987 (classic)
Renaissance Characters. ed. Eugenio Garin. Chicago UPR. 1991 (classic)
The Day: A Poem. Giuseppe Parni. Hyperion Library of World Literature, 1978. (classic)
The Comedies of Carlo Goldoni. Hyperion Library of World Literature, 1978 (classic)
Tragedies. Vittorio Alfieri. Greenwood Press, 1970. (classic)
"Dei Sepolcri" and "Ultime Litter di Jacopo Ortis." Ugo Foscolo. Ed. Christina Giacometti and Maurizio Falghera. Multilingual Books and Tapes, 1998. (classic)