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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Spring 2009

E 322 • Boccaccio's Decameron

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
34255 MWF
12:00 PM-1:00 PM
BEN 1.106

Course Description

In this masterpiece of the western canon, ten young Florentines flee the horrors of the Black Plague of 1348 and use storytelling 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 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. We will read the Decameron in its entirety in English translation. The course is taught in English and contains a substantial writing component. There is no final examination.

Grading Policy

Analysis of a Member of the Decameron's Brigata 50% (detailed below):
-An analysis paper with a major rewrite based on teacher comments 25%
-Research short paper 5%
-Creative paper 15%
-Oral presentation 5%

Study questions 40% (detailed below):
-Portfolio of answers to weekly study questions 20%
-In depth analysis of one of the answers of portfolio 20%

Class participation 10%


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