Graduate Courses, Fall 2005

Italian 630
Medieval Italian Literature

Prof. Brownlee
F 2-5

The course will explore new departures in 1st-person discourse (both lyric and narrative) in the duecento and early trecento, when literature in the Italian vernacular first comes into being as such. We will focus on issues of subjectivity, mimesis, authority and language. A related concern will be the self-conscious development of an authoritative Italian tradition, and the various ways in which this cultural enterprise relentlessly (and productively) problematized itself. In this context, we will explore the dynamic of "experimental" canon formation. Particular attention will be given to strategies used to appropriate "pre-existing" literary and cultural models, including French and Provençal. Texts will include Brunetto Latini's Tesoretto and Durante's Il fiore (with the Romance of the Rose as model); selected lyrics of Guittone d’Arezzo, Guido Guinizelli and Guido Cavalcanti; Dante's Vita Nova & De Vulgari eloquentia. A final section will treat Petrarch’s Epistles (on Dante, the Rose, and other poets), as well as Boccaccio’s Lives of Dante and of Petrarch.

Taught in English. Cross-listed as Comparative Literature 630.

Italian 640
Comedy of the Word and the Word in Comedy in the Italian Renaissance

Prof. Finotti
T 2-5


In Renaissance courts life acquires a distinctly theatrical character. The courtier moves on a stage that conditions his behavior and discourse. How does the extraordinary rebirth of comic theater in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries connect to this wide-spread theatricalization of courtly life? And what are the relationships between sixteenth-century comedy and contemporary lyric Petrarchism? Readings: 1) From sacred to profane theater: Poliziano, Orfeo. 2)  Performances and translations of Plautus. 3) The comedies of Ariosto, Bibbiena, Machiavelli, Aretino, Bruno. 4) The comic character of sixteenthy-century dialogues (ex. La Raffaella by Alessandro Piccolomini); 5) Language and dialect: Ruzante, Venexiana; Calmo. Comedy and satire: from Giraldi Cinzio's Egle to Tasso's Aminta.  The course will be conducted in Italian.