E 392M • Renaissance Literature
2:00 PM-3:30 PM
This course is designed to introduce students to major writers and major phases of the Renaissance in Europe from its beginnings in Italy in the fourteenth century down to its end in the middle of the seventeenth. Through my lectures and student reports on collateral readings, we will familiarize ourselves with some of the basic concepts (humanism, neo-platonism, the Counter-Reformation, etc.) which have been used to map the period. We will also read a number of theoretical works dealing with different aspects of the Renaissance and which engage the problem of period definition. Our primary concern, however, will be to read a number of important, seminal texts with real care, and to trace themes, character types, literary conventions, and intellectual problems from one work to the next in order to gain some sense of development within the Renaissance.
Secondary and theoretical material to be studied will include works by authors from the following list: Perry Anderson, Mikhail Bakhtin, Peter Burke, Terence Cave, Natalie Davis, Eugenio Garin, Stephen Greenblatt, Thomas M. Greene, J. R. Hale, Hiram Haydn, Victoria Kahn, Lauro Martines, Richard Popkin, and Lawrence Stone.
The literary texts to be read will include a selection from among the following: Boccaccio, The Decameron; More, Utopia; Erasmus, The Praise of Folly; Castiglione, The Book of the Courtier; Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel; Machiavelli, The Prince, The Mandrake Root; Montaigne, The Essays; Lazarillo de Tormes; Marlowe, Doctor Faustus; Quevedo, Don Pablos; Jonson, Volpone; Shakespeare, The Tempest; Tirso de Molina, The Trickster of Seville; Moliêre Dom Juan, Tartuffe.