IT1230 Politics, Religion, and Love : the Italian Three Crowns (Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio)
2017-18: Term 1
Convenor: Dr Stefano Jossa
Essay 1 30% (1,200-1,500 words); Essay 2 (1,500-2,000 words; Essay Outline (via moodle) 10%
Plus a formative commentary not counting towards the final mark
The course aims to introduce students to the life and works of the Tre corone – Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio, known as the Three Crowns – the three major writers of the Middle Ages and early Renaissance in Italy. The works of these three writers have inspired many subsequent writers, artists, dramatists and film makers, and their influence from the start has extended outside Italy, across Europe and beyond. Students will also be introduced to some of the fundamental ideas about literature in the Middle Ages.
The first half of the course will be dedicated to an introduction to themes and ideas in the literature of the Middle Ages – autobiography, love, writers and readers – to provide a firm basis for the study of the three great writers of the Italian Middle Ages. The course then continues with a close, detailed reading of Dante’s earliest work, the Vita Nuova in which he tells the story of his love for Beatrice. In the second half of the course, students will read a selection of the poems Petrarch wrote for his lady, Laura, which later inspired lyric poetry all over Europe, and a selection of the stories from Boccaccio’s most famous work, the Decameron. Visual and dramatic interpretations of the work of these three authors will also be included in the course.