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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Wayne A Rebhorn

Professor Ph.D., 1968, Yale University

Wayne A Rebhorn



Wayne Rebhorn's scholarship explores the social and political dimensions of literature and rhetoric in the European Renaissance. Working in three fields—the literatures of the English Renaissance and of the European Renaissance as well as Renaissance rhetoric—he has written, translated, edited, or co-edited eight books in addition to over twenty-five scholarly articles on authors from Boccaccio through More and Shakespeare down to Milton. He has won numerous awards and prizes and has been invited to lecture at major universities throughout the United States as well as in France, Italy, and Germany, and while he continues to work on Renaissance authors such as Machiavelli and on Renaissance rhetoric, his major current project is a new translation of Boccaccio's Decameron, which Norton is expected to publish in 2013.  


English and European Renaissance literature and Renaissance rhetoric.

T C 357 • Self & Society In Renais Cul

42070 • Fall 2015
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm PAR 310
(also listed as LAH 350 )
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This course aims to introduce students to the civilization of the Renaissance in Europe from Petrarch and Boccaccio in mid-fourteenth century Italy to Molière in mid-seventeenth century France.  Although our primary focus will be on the literature of the period, we will also consider politics, philosophy, and art, as well as social and intellectual history.  Since we cannot hope to do justice to all these subjects or to a period as immense as the Renaissance, we shall focus on two of its central preoccupations, both of which are harbingers of the modern world: first, its notion of a flexible or protean self and of identity as something shaped and manipulated by the individual; and second, its sense of the historical contingency of the social order, of society as something man-made and hence transformable.  Proceeding in chronological order, we will follow the first of these notions in autobiographical writings and in books which aimed to prescribe just how the self should be fashioned.  At the same time, we will also examine the preoccupation of the Renaissance with society in the utopian literature of the period and in a variety of works concerned with the alienation of marginal groups and with social change.  Actually, these two concerns were never really distinct from one another in the minds of Renaissance people, nor were they kept apart in the works we shall read.  Finally, we shall consider the growth of rationalism and absolutism in the course of the period which ultimately led away from the Renaissance and into the Enlightenment.   

Among the works we will read will be: generous selections from Petrarch's letters; Boccaccio’s Decameron; Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier; Erasmus's Praise of Folly; More’s Utopia; various works by Machiavelli, including The Prince; portions of Rabelais’ Gargantua and Pantagruel; the first picaresque novel, Lazarillo de Tormes; some of Montaigne’s Essays; Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus; Shakespeare’s The Tempest; Quevedo’s The Swindler; and Molière’s Tartuffe

Students will write two essays during the course of the semester, determining the topics for those essays on their own. One essay will be shorter (around 8 pages) and one, considerably longer and will include some work with secondary materials. There will be opportunities for consultation with the instructor about the essays at various stages of their composition as well as an opportunity to re-write each essay.  On two occasions during the semester, students will present their papers orally to the class and then begin class discussion. There will also be frequent reading quizzes during the course of the semester. The final grade will be determined by the essays (75%), the quizzes (15%), and class participation, including the students' presentation of their essays (10%). 


T C 357 • Comic Renaiss: View From Below

43105 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm CRD 007A
(also listed as LAH 350 )
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This course aims to introduce students to a particular view of the Renaissance that runs counter to the usual definition of the period that is inscribed in its name. We will be looking at the Renaissance in terms of its employment and adaptation of the folk traditions of the Middle Ages, traditions which were in some ways quite anti-classical and which stressed 'low' genres such as comedy, farce, and satire, as well as 'low' characters such as tricksters, fools, and clowns.



We will read a couple of theoretical essays near the start of the course and will then read a range of comic writing that will include both narrative materials (short stories and novels) and dramas (farces and various kinds of comedy) written between about 1350 and the 1660s.  These works will include: Boccaccio’s The Decameron; Rabelais’ Gargantua and Pantagruel; several plays by Shakespeare; a couple of picaresque novels, such as the anonymous Lazarillo de Tormes; Jonson’s Volpone and The Alchemist; and Moliere’s Tartuffe, Dom Juan, and The Misanthrope.



Students will write four essays of around 5 pages.  Each one will also be expected to present their essays to the class orally on two occasions.  And there will be unannounced reading quizzes throughout the semester.  The two best essays will count for fifty percent of the final grade; the two less successful, forty percent; and the quizzes, ten percent.  Class participation will be factored in to the final grade as well.  Final grade will use pluses and minuses.

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