E 322 • Boccaccios Decameron
9:00 AM-10:00 AM
In this fundamental 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 masterful 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.
Class preparation and participation 25%
Weekly responses to the readings (1-2 pages per week) 25%
10-12 page research paper with rewrite and bibliography 50%