WGS 345 • Boccaccio's Decameron-W
12:00 PM-1:00 PM
In this masterpiece of the western canon, ten young Florentines flee the horrors of the Black Plague of 1348 and use storytelling in order to overcome their fears and console their grief. Through the analysis of these 100 tales and their relationship to the characters who narrate them, we will discuss how Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375) explores the basic elements of the human condition - love and desire, power and politics, virtue and fortune - while at the same time exposing the ambiguities of language and the pitfalls of representation. Considering its reputation as a proto-feminist text and the major scholarly discussion around this notion, we will pay particular attention to the depiction of women and their roles.
The class will be held in English and we will read the Decameron in its entirety in English translation. The course contains a substantial writing component and has no final exam.