Textual Worlds Med&Humanistic
This course examines the emergence of Italian literary culture from its earliest manifestations in the 13th century to Renaissance Humanism of the 15th century. Selected readings from major works of representative authors will illustrate the dominant intellectual trends and the development of literary forms and of the Italian literary language. We will explore topics such as the interrelationship between literature, the history of ideas and the other arts, as well as the connection between literature and social forces. This course will focus on the following authors and on some of their works mainly focusing on linguistic aspects and on the theme of love:
- The Sicilian poets centered in the court of Emperor Fredrick II (1194-1250) and his son Manfredi (d. 1266). They established the vernacular. Among the outstanding poets of the Sicilian school was Giacomo da Lentini credited with the invention of one of the major Italian poetic forms: the sonnet. This course will analyze two of his poems: the sonnet Amor è uno desio che ven da core and the canzonetta Meravigliosamente.
- Dolce stil novo poets, a group of 13th–14th-century Italian poets, mostly Florentines, whose vernacular sonnets, canzoni, and ballate celebrate a spiritual and idealized view of love and womanhood in delicate and musical ways. The course will focus on one poem from each of the following poets: Guido Guinizelli’s Al cor gentil rempaira sempre amore, Guido Cavalcanti’s Chi è questa che vèn, ch’
ogn’om la mira and Dante Alighieri’s Tanto gentile e tanto onesta pare.
- Francesco Petrarca (1304-1374), Italian humanist, poet, and writer is famous for his Canzoniere, a collection of poems in vernacular which would go on to become the single greatest influence on the love poetry of Renaissance Europe until well into the 17th century. We will conduct a close reading of the proemial poem Voi ch’ascoltate in rime sparse il suono and one of the sonnets for Laura Levommi il mio pensier in parte ov’era.
- Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375) is the author of The Decameron, a medieval allegory told as a frame story encompassing 100 tales by ten young Florentine (7 women and 3 men), referred to as the Brigata, gathering together in a countryside villa for two weeks while escaping from the Black Death. Each agrees to tell one story each day for ten days. It is considered the masterpiece of the early Italian prose. This course will focus on Boccaccio’s Preface and two tales about love: IV, 5 Elisabetta da Messina (tragic love) and VII, 8 Arriguccio Berlingieri (cheating love).
- Ludovico Ariosto’s (1474-1533) Orlando furioso is an Italian epic poem which has exerted a wide influence on later culture. This course will introduce students to the new literary genre (“poema cavalleresco” “romanzo”) of which the Furioso is the best sample focusing on the first 4 strophes of Canto .
Students are required to read the indicated texts before the class in which they will be respectively discussed.
Critical works suggested:
Bruno Migliorini, Storia della lingua italiana, 2007.
Gianfranco Contini, Letteratura italiana delle origini (1978), BUR, 2013
Cesare Segre (a cura di), Introduzione, in Ludovico Ariosto: Orlando furioso, Milano, Mondadori, 1964.