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David Birdsong, Chair 201 W 21ST STREET STOP B7600, HRH 2.114A, AUSTIN, TX 78712 • 512-471-5531

Spring 2007

ITC 349 • Boccaccio's Decameron-W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
36830 TTh
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
BEN 1.102

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 exam.

Grading Policy

Study questions: 40%
Analysis paper and rewrite based on teacher comments: 20%
Short research paper: 10%
Quizzes: 10%
Creative paper: 10%
Class participation: 10%


Giovanni Boccaccio: The Decameron. Translated by Mark Musa and Peter Bondanella.


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