Academic year
2023/2024 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
FM0362 (AF:480918 AR:256483)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
4th Term
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The course takes part of the core educational activities of the Master's Degree programme in Italian Philology, Linguistics and Literature, as the first part of two (ECTS course 6, total ECTS 12). It takes part too of intersciplinary related or additional studies of the Bachelor’s Degree programme in History (code FM0347) and in Philosophy (code FM0347).
The class thus has three main objectives: to trace the development of Italian literature, by way of specific examples; to foster the capacity of autonomous reflection on a literary text; to furnish the methodological tools of textual analysis. Particular attention is devoted to the centrality of the text, be it poetic or prose, as an indispensable starting point in any theoretical or critical discourse.
Knowledge and understanding: a thorough knowledge of the developmental lines of Italian literature of the first centuries; a thorough knowledge of the theory of literary forms covered by the course and Boccaccio's poetics; an autonomous knowledge and understanding of the forms of texts in prose and poetry of the first centuries; a knowledge and understanding of the language of the origins.
Ability to use said knowledge: Students should be able to employ their historico-critical knowledge in the study of Italian literary history; to use correctly the specific terminology of the discipline; to analyse a literary text in its various aspects.
Judgment: Students should be able to autonomously formulate and argue hypotheses, as well as critically evaluate alternative hypotheses.
Communication skills: Students should be able to express the specifics of critical discourse on literature with adequate terminology.
Learning skills: Students should be able to critically consult the assigned texts as well as the bibliography therein.
A good knowledge of the Italian language; standard reading abilities with texts in Italian; knowledge of the elements that characterize a literary text in prose and in verse.
Boccaccio and the invention of the novella. The 'Decameron'
The teacher's challenge is to combine a textual approach (supported by literary theory) with a critical perspective . So the purpose of this class is to furnish students with a panoramic view of Italian literary tradition and of the relevant themes and problematics.. This module is meant to analyse a specific and well-developed narrative form belonging to the Italian literary tradition: the Giovanni Boccaccio' Decameron.
The 12 cfu course will consist of lectures by the lecturer and seminars by the students.
The first part of the course will deal with theoretical issues concerning the status of the novella as a short form; its development in Romance literature and the dialectical tendency to relate to other short forms (motto, facetiousness, apologue, enigma) and at the same time to constitute itself in the form of a collection.
In the second part of the course, a broad - but not systematic - reading of the Decameron will be tackled, following a number of themes of great critical interest, both with regard to the main structure (the so-called cornice) and to the novellas:
1. The multiformity of the amorous discourse in the Decameron (from Tristan's love and death to the novellas of amorous mockery, from the sublime example of Griselda to the preyed-up loves);
2. Gli artisti in novella (the novelle dedicated to artists, from Giotto to Calandrino);
3. The word of women in the Decameron (women's speeches and silences);
4. The gardens (of the novelists and in the novellas)
5. The Decameron as prosimeter (the complex relationship between the novellas and the ballads)

G. Boccaccio, "Decameron" (advisable editions by A. Quondam - M. Fiorilla - G. Alfano, Milan, Rizzoli, 2015 or by V. Branca, Turin, Einaudi, 2014 or by A. Quondam - M. Fiorilla - G. Alfano, Milan, Rizzoli, 2018).

Further instructions, as well as the specific bibliography concerning 'Decameron", will be given during the course.

Oral test. Students whose study plan includes the 12 cfu exam, will take a single oral test including the course of the first and second module (the exam will be available to take beginning with the May-June 2024 session).
The colloquy, roughly a half hour in duration, aims to test the student’s knowledge of the texts, of the problems involved in their interpretation, and of the problematics of their historico-literary context.
1. Students who have attended class will be asked to reflect on aspects analysed during the lessons, and they will be invited to integrate what they have learned in class with what they have learned from the assigned readings. The final evaluation of the attending students will be based not only on the examination interview but also on the seminar they present within the course.
2. Students who have not attended class will be expected to talk about the texts and studies they have read. Students will be judged by their historico-literary competence and ability to formulate, with an adequate use of language, critically valid connections between the various problematics at hand.
Lessons combine lectures with active student participation. Attending students will be required to give a seminar presentation during the second part of the course. Didactic materials available on the e-learning platform
These textual and critical materials offer cues for further study, with respect to the reference texts listed above.
This programme is provisional and there could still be changes in its contents.
Last update of the programme: 22/05/2023