Italian literature in the international context (2020/2021)

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 28, 2020 al Jan 9, 2021.

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 course will be devoted to Giovanni Boccaccio’s «Decameron». First of all, the «Decameron» will be analysed taking into account its structure, its topics, and its style, and considering its relations with both the other literary works written by Boccaccio and the Classical and Romance literary tradition. Then, the focus will move to the examination of the forms of the Centonovelle’s reception during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance: on the one hand, the sixteenth-century censorship of the «Decameron»; on the other, the treatment of Boccaccio’s novellas in Europe between the fourteenth and the seventeenth centuries, with special attention to England and the role of France as 'mediator'. The analysis will deal with translations and rewritings of specific tales, but also with autochthonous examples of collections of novellas based on Italian models.

Taught classes. Analysis and interpretation of meaningful novellas written by Boccaccio and their English translations and rewritings. The Moodle will be used to provide students with further teaching materials.
The course will be delivered both in presence and online.

1. a complete edition of the «Decameron» (suggested editions: Giovanni Boccaccio, "Decameron", a cura di A. Quondam,
M. Fiorilla e G. Alfano, Milano, BUR; Giovanni Boccaccio, "Decameron", a cura di V. Branca, Torino, Einaudi; Giovanni
Boccaccio, "Decameron", a cura di V. Branca, Milano, Oscar Mondadori).
Students have to read the following pats of the «Decameron»:
• “Proemio”;
• Day I: “Introduzione”; novellas 1, 2, 3;
• Day II: novellas 2, 5, 7, 10;
• Day III: novellas 1, 2, 5, 6, 8, 10;
• Day IV: “Introduzione”; novellas 1, 2, 5, 9;
• Day V: novellas 4, 8, 9;
• Day VI: novellas 1, 2, 4, 7, 10;
• Day VII: novellas 1, 5, 7, 8, 9;
• Day VIII: novellas 1, 2, 3, 4, 7;
• Day IX: novellas 2, 6, 10;
• Day X: novellas 4, 5, 9, 10;
• “Conclusione dell’autore”;
2. Giancarlo Alfano, “Introduzione alla lettura del ‘Decameron’ di Boccaccio”, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2014 (chapters 2-3);
3. Guyda Armstrong, “The English Boccaccio. A History in Books”, Toronto-Buffalo-London, University of Toronto Press,
2013 (chapter 3, from p. 161 to p. 172; chapter 4, from p. 216 to p. 223);
4. Giuseppe Chiecchi, “Nell’arte narrativa di Giovanni Boccaccio”, Firenze, Olschki, 2017 (chapter 4);
5. Carlo Delcorno, "Ironia/parodia", in "Lessico critico decameroniano", a cura di Renzo Bragantini e Pier Massimo Forni,
Torino, Bollati Boringhieri, 1995, pp. 162-191;
6. Mario Lavagetto, “Oltre le usate leggi. Una lettura del ‘Decameron’”, Torino, Einaudi, 2019, pp. 25-53;
7. Luigi Surdich, “La cornice di amore. Studi sul Boccaccio”, Pisa, ETS, 1987 (chapter 5).

Students who need an alternative bibliography only in English may write an email to:

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Giovanni Boccaccio Decameron BUR 2013 Parti indicate nella sezione "Bibliografia" del programma. Edizioni alternative: Giovanni Boccaccio, "Decameron", a cura di V. Branca, Torino, Einaudi; Giovanni Boccaccio, "Decameron", a cura di V. Branca, Milano, Oscar Mondadori
Giancarlo Alfano Introduzione alla lettura del ‘Decameron’ di Boccaccio Laterza 2014 Capitoli 2-3
SURDICH, L. La cornice di amore. Studi sul Boccaccio ETS 1987 Capitolo 5
Renzo Bragantini e Pier Massimo Forni (a cura di) Lessico critico decameroniano Bollati Boringhieri 1995 Solo il saggio di Carlo Delcorno ("Ironia/parodia") alle pp. 162-191.
G. Chiecchi Nell'arte narrativa di Boccaccio L.S.Olschki 2017 Capitolo 4
Lavagetto Mario Oltre le usate leggi. Una lettura del ‘Decameron’ Einaudi 2019 PP. 25-53
Guyda Armstrong The English Boccaccio. A History in Books University of Toronto Press 2013 Cap. 3 da p. 161 a p. 172; cap. 4 da p. 216 a p. 223.

Assessment methods and criteria

There will be a final oral exam. Students must demonstrate a good knowledge of:
1) the «Decameron»’s structure, topics, and style;
2) the relationships between the «Decameron», the other literary works by Boccaccio and the Classical and Romance literary tradition;
3) the forms of censorship of the «Decameron»;
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.
The exam will be carried out in the same way for both attending and non-attending students.