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ML2301 Boccaccio: Decameron

ML2301 Boccaccio: Decameron

Terms 1-2

Convenor: Dr Stefano Jossa

Assessment: By coursework :Essay 1 (30%) 1,500-2,000 words; Essay 2 (70%) 2,000-2,500 words


The course will be principally devoted to a close study of Boccaccio’s major prose work in Italian, the Decameron. After reviewing Boccaccio’s literary output and his place in medieval Italian culture, the course will proceed to examine general themes, structure, style, relationship to reality, the figure of the writer, levels of interpretation and meaning, as well as conducting close readings on individual novelle, with a view to understanding Boccaccio’s skill as a story-teller, forms of characterisation, humour etc. Novelle from each of the 10 days will be analysed in detail, and themes such as fortune, the place of women in society, and the clergy will be addressed within each day and across the whole work. Special attention will be paid to the narrative frame and its significance. The course will conclude with a consideration of the influence of the Decameron on subsequent European writers, on the visual arts and in the cinema.

Key Primary Bibliography:

Set text: Boccaccio, Decameron in a complete edition/translation.

Secondary Literature: General and Introductory

Boccaccio, Giovanni, The Decameron, translated with an introduction and notes by G.H.McWilliam, 2nd edition, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1995.

Wallace, David. Decameron. Cambridge Landmarks of World Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.. Cambridge Landmarks of World Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.




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