Italian literature in the international context (2019/2020)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Flavia Palma
Flavia Palma
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
I semestre (Lingue e letterature straniere) dal Sep 30, 2019 al Jan 11, 2020.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

The main aim of the course is the detailed study of Italian literature through the close analysis of a group of literary texts, which have a meaningful role in the literary and cultural international context. At the end of the course the student will be able to: - analyse and consider a literary text as a complex form, in constant dialogue with other literatures and cultures, in particular in their translation and international circulation - show competency in the framework of Italian literature’s European and extra-European tradition


The «Decameron» and its Renaissance European legacy.
The first part of the course will be devoted to Giovanni Boccaccio’s «Decameron», which will be analysed taking into account its topics, aims, structure, and language. The relations with other Boccaccio’s meaningful works from both a structural (the «Filocolo» and its “questioni d’amore”) and an ideological point of view (philogyny and misogyny from the «Elegia di madonna Fiammetta» to the «Corbaccio») will be thoroughly studied.
The second part of the course will deal with the reception of Boccaccio’s novellas in Renaissance Europe, considering in particular France and England. The analysis will focus on translations and rewritings of specific tales, but also on French and English examples of collections of novellas based on Italian models, such as Margherita of Navarra’s «Heptaméron», William Painter’s «The Palace of Pleasure», and George Whetstone’s «An Heptameron of Civil Discourses».

Taught classes. Analysis and interpretation of meaningful novellas and their French and English rewritings and translations.
The e-learning platform will be used to provide students with further teaching material.

Weekly office hours will be arranged throughout the academic year (2019/2020), as shown on the professor’s web page.



Bibliography for ATTENDING students:

For the first part:
a) a complete edition of the «Decameron»
(suggested editions: Giovanni Boccaccio, "Decameron", ed. by A. Quondam, M. Fiorilla and G. Alfano, Milano, BUR; Giovanni Boccaccio, "Decameron", ed. by V. Branca, Torino, Einaudi; Giovanni Boccaccio, "Decameron", ed. by V. Branca, Milano, Oscar Mondadori)

NB: Students have to read the "Decameron" IN FULL.

b) Luigi Surdich, "Boccaccio", Bologna, il Mulino, 2008.

c) ONE of the following books:
- Giancarlo Alfano, “Introduzione alla lettura del ‘Decameron’ di Boccaccio”, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2014;
- Francesco Bausi, “Leggere il ‘Decameron’”, Bologna, il Mulino, 2017.

For the second part:
a) Robin Kirkpatrick, “English and Italian Literature from Dante to Shakespeare”, New York, Longman, 1995 (chapters 1, 2, 6, 8);
b) Guyda Armstrong, “The English Boccaccio. A History in Books”, Toronto-Buffalo-London, University of Toronto Press, 2013 (chapter 3);
c) Yvonne Rodax, “The Real and the Ideal in the Novella of Italy, France and England. Four Centuries of Change in the Boccaccian Tale”, Chapel Hill, The University of California Press, 1968 (chapters 5 and 7).

Further bibliographical material, which MUST be studied for the final examination, will be given during classes and loaded into the e-learning platform.

NON-ATTENDING student must study BOTH the aforementioned bibliography AND the following texts:

a) G. Chiecchi, "Nell’arte narrativa di Giovanni Boccaccio", Firenze, Olschki, 2017.

b) P. Salzman, “Placing Tudor Fiction”, in «The Yearbook of English Studies», 38, 1/2, 2008, pp. 136-149.

c) M. Wyatt, "The Italian Encounter with Tudor England. A Cultural Politics of Translation", New York, Cambridge University Press, 2005: only chapter 4.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Luigi Surdich Boccaccio Il Mulino 2008
Giovanni Boccaccio Decameron BUR 2013 O edizioni alternative come indicato dal programma
Robin Kirkpatrick English and Italian Literature from Dante to Shakespeare. A Study of Source, Analogue and Divergence Longman 1995 SOLO capp. 1, 2, 6, 8
Giancarlo Alfano Introduzione alla lettura del ‘Decameron’ di Boccaccio Laterza 2014
Francesco Bausi Leggere il Decameron il Mulino 2017
Guyda Armstrong The English Boccaccio. A History in Books University of Toronto Press 2013 SOLO capitolo 3
Yvonne Rodax The Real and the Ideal in the Novella of Italy, France and England. Four Centuries of Change in the Boccaccian Tale The University of California Press 1968 capp. 5 e 7

Assessment methods and criteria

There will be a final oral exam, which will be carried out in the same way for both attending and non-attending students.
Students must demonstrate a good knowledge of:
1) the «Decameron»’s topics, aims, structure, and language;
2) the relationships between the «Decameron» and the other literary works by Boccaccio;
3) the reception of Boccaccio’s novellas in the European context.
Students will also have to prove to be able to analyse, comment and contextualise the novellas studied during the course.