Syllabus

Spring Semester 2016

Italian 1020: Boccaccio's Decameron
Class meetings: TTH 10:30-11:50 (Sec. 01); TH 4:00-6:20 (Italian section), Digital Scholarly Lab, Rockefeller Library.

Prof. Massimo Riva
Room 202, 190 Hope St. / Faculty Study B-15, Rockefeller Library
Tel. 863-3984/1561. OH: TTH 12-1, or by appointment.
e-mail: Massimo_Riva@brown.edu

Description: Close study and discussion of Boccaccio's collection of 100 tales told over ten days by ten young Florentines (the so called "onesta brigata") as a game and pass time, while in flight from the devastating plague of 1348. The Decameron defined the standard of Italian prose narrative for four centuries and deeply influenced Renaissance drama. It is also a gold mine of information about everyday life in the late Middle Ages. During this semester, we will pay particular attention to the book's visualizations and adaptations into a variety of media, from manuscript illumination to painting, theatre and film. Students will use, and contribute to, the Decameron Web, as the primary resource for the course. Sections in English and Italian.

Organization and weekly assignments. We will re-play the game of storytelling as staged in the Decameron: in order to do this, each student will choose the identity of one of the ten narrators of the "onesta brigata." All students are required to read, and come to class prepared to discuss, all the one hundred stories but will be responsible in particular for the ten stories told by their chosen narrator. This responsibility includes: an in-depth oral presentation of five stories, on selected days, according to the syllabus; and a written review (posted weekly on the Decameron Web blog) of each of the ten stories told by their narrator. Weekly reviews must quote and discuss at least one critical source (a page of the Decameron Web, or an article selected among those listed in the Bibliography, linked below, or available on reserve on Canvas). Other weekly activities include: contribution to the Decameron tweet pod (twits can be a paraphrase of Boccaccio's own synthetic title-descriptions of his stories in the so called rubriche, or short commentaries highlighting some of the themes/topics emerging in our discussion); and participation in the Digital Humanities class project (see details below).

Digital Humanities class project (No advanced knowledge of computing is required): Throughout the semester, as part of the weekly review, students will collect and enter data about the stories told by their narrator. Inserted into a database, this data (ranging from geolocative coordinates to thematic categories) will allow to produce two different visualizations of the text: 1) an interactive visualization of the world of the Decameron on the Brigata Map, a new feature of the Decameron Web that we will build together. We will use a version of GoogleMaps to plot the geographical locations across Europe and the Mediterranean world that provide the settings for the novelle. Clicking on each plotted point will then display relevant information associated with the novella (plot summary, characters, setting, time period, themes, etc); 2) the second visualization will draw upon the same data to create a tool that allows to search and filter the one hundred novelle by category and by associated attributes. Each of these visualizations provides a different model for organizing and displaying the information students gather from the text, and both facilitate analysis and pattern recognition. Additionally, these projects encourage collaboration on research in a field that has traditionally privileged individual scholarship.

Final Project. Final projects may focus on a single story or on a textual or contextual topic across several stories, or the entire book, and can be in any media of choice. Students can elect to write a traditional paper or participate in collaborative creative projects such as the theatrical staging of a novella, or its illustration in drawings or photographs, or its adaptation into a screenplay for a short film. Multimedia projects can be also based on the data collected for the class project.  The best papers and projects will be published in the appropriate section of the Decameron Web. A final project proposal is due on April 5 for the English section and April 7 for the Italian section (final projects can be in Italian or English, or bilingual).

Evaluation: class participation (including blog reviews, oral presentations and twits)=35%; contribution to the collaborative DH project: 30%; Final project= 35%.

Textbook: G. Boccaccio, The Decameron, English translation by Wayne A. Rebhorn, Norton (available at the Brown Bookstore). The Italian text of the Decameron is available on the Decameron Web (the V.Branca-Einaudi edition) and also available for purchase at the Brown bookstore. Additional materials will be available on Canvas.

WEEKLY PROGRAM

January 28
● Introduction to the Course: Overview of the Decameron Web. How to use the electronic syllabus. Reading assignment: Decameron Web: The Project.

February 2 (Sec. 01)
Boccaccio's Life and Works.
● Boccaccio, Author and Scribe
● How to read this book: The Author's Preface; Dante, Ovid, Petrarca and Boccaccio. Nicknamed Gallehault. The Novella before Boccaccio.

February 4 (Sec. 01)
● The Author's Introduction. The Plague and its representation.
● The Brigata and the Frame. Why did Boccaccio choose S. Maria Novella? Numerology and the Grammar of the Frame. The Frame as a "visual device." For a semiology of the Decameron's Space (and Time).
Pleasure and Plague.
Brigata Activities Brigata roles assignment (in class). Presentation of the collaborative class project.

February 4 (Sec. 02 - Italian)
Boccaccio: Vita e Opere.
● Boccaccio, Autore e Scriba.
● Il Proemio dell'Autore; Dante, Ovidio, Petrarca e Boccaccio. Soprannominato Galeotto. La Novella prima di Boccaccio.
● L'introduzione dell'Autore: La Peste e la sua rappresentazione.
● La Brigata e la Cornice. Perchè S. Maria Novella? Numerologia e la grammatica della cornice. La cornice come dispositivo ottico. Per una semiotica dello spazio (e del tempo) del Decameron.
Piacere e Peste.
Attività della brigata. Assegnazione dei ruoli (in classe). Presentazione del progetto di classe.

February 9 (Sec. 01)
● Day One (under the rule of Pampinea): discussion of novelle 1 (told by Panfilo) 2 (told by Neifile), and 3 (told by Filomena).
Religion as a context and a theme.
● Sainthood as (blasphemous) performance.

February 11 (Sec. 01)
● Day One: discussion of novelle 4 (told by Dioneo) and 10 (told by Pampinea).
Wit and clever remarks.
● Assignment: twit and blog review of the first novella told by your narrator. DH class project: enter data about the novella told by your narrator. See Reader's Guide to articles in English, Day One. Selected articles available on Canvas: choose one about your novella (if there is no article included in this Reader's guide, try the general Bibliography, or research the library resources to find articles to add to the DWeb bibliography module. This assignment repeats each week).

February 11 (Sec. 02 - Italian)
● Prima Giornata (regina Pampinea): discussione delle novelle 1 (raccontata da Panfilo) 2 (raccontata da Neifile), 3 (raccontata da Filomena), 4 (raccontata da Dioneo) e 10 (raccontata da Pampinea)
Religione come contesto e tema.
● Santità come performance blasfema. Ironia e motti di spirito.
● Compito: twit e recensione sul blog della novella raccontata dal vostro narratore. Progetto di classe: inserire i dati della propria novella. Consultate la Reader's Guide to articles in English, Day One e/o i saggi in italiano suggeriti in bibliografia (trovatene uno sulla vostra novella tra quelli disponibili su Canvas). Questo compito si ripete ogni settimana.

February 16 (Sec. 01)
● Day Two (under the rule of Filomena): discussion of novelle 2 (told by Filostrato), 4 (told by Lauretta), and 5 (told by Fiammetta).
Jesters and popular culture in the Middle Ages..
● The Wheel of FortuneFortuna as topic. The Iconography of Fortuna.
Prostitution in the Middle Ages.

February 18 (Sec. 01)
● Day Two: discussion of novelle 6 (told by Emilia), and 7 (told by Panfilo).
The World of the Decameron.
Medieval Merchant Culture.
● Class activity: Concordance to the Decameron. Searching for People and Places.
● Assignment: data entry, twit and blog review of the second novella told by your narrator. See Reader's Guide to articles in English, Day Two.

February 18 (Sec. 02 - Italian)
● Seconda Giornata (regina Filomena): discussione delle novelle 2 (raccontata da Filostrato), 4 (raccontata da Lauretta), 5 (raccontata da Fiammetta), 6 (raccontata da Emilia), e 7 (raccontata da Panfilo)
Giullari e cultura popolare nel Medioevo.
● La Ruota della FortunaFortuna come tema. L'iconografia della Fortuna.
Prostituzione nel Medioevo.
Il mondo del Decameron.
La cultura mercantile del Medioevo.
● Attività in classe: Concordanze del Decameron. Come trovare personaggi e luoghi.
● Compito: twit e recensione sul blog della novella raccontata dal vostro narratore. Progetto di classe: inserire i dati della propria novella. Consultate la Reader's Guide to articles in English, Day Two e/o i saggi in italiano suggeriti in bibliografia (o trovatene uno sulla vostra novella tra quelli disponibili su Canvas).

February 23 No Class. Long weekend

February 25 (Sec. 01)
● Day Three (under the rule of Neifile ): discussion of novelle 1 (told by Filostrato), and 2 (told by Pampinea). See Reader's Guide to articles in English, Day Three.
● The Garden of Desire. Love as a topic. Seduction by silence.
Disguise and Gender Roles. Deception and its implications.

February 25 (Sec. 02 - Italian)
● Terza Giornata (regina Neifile ): discussione delle novelle 1 raccontata da Filostrato), 2 (raccontata da Pampinea), 3 (raccontata da Filomena), 5 (raccontata da Elissa), e 10 (raccontata da Dioneo). 
● Il giardino del desiderio. Amore come tema. Seduzione col silenzio.
Travestimento e ruoli di genere. L'inganno e le sue implicazioni.
Natura e moraleDesiderio.
La sessualità negli autori medievali.
Fisiologia del genere.
● Compito: twit e recensione sul blog della novella raccontata dal vostro narratore. Progetto di classe: inserire i dati della propria novella. Consultate la Reader's Guide to articles in English, Day Three e/o i saggi in italiano suggeriti in bibliografia (o trovatene uno sulla vostra novella tra quelli disponibili su Canvas).

March 1 (Sec. 01)
● Day Three : discussion of novelle 3 (told by Filomena), 5 (told by Elissa), and 10 (told by Dioneo).
Nature as Morality
Sexual desire.
Sex in Medieval Authors.
The Physiology of Gender.
● Assignment: data entry, twit and blog review of the third novella told by your narrator. See Reader's Guide to articles in English, Day Three.

March 3 (Sec. 01)
● Day Four (under the rule of Filostrato): discussion of novelle 1 (told by Fiammetta), and 2 (told by Pampinea). See Reader's Guide to articles in English, Day Four.
● Love relics: Two hearts and a head.

March 3 (Sec. 2 - Italian)
●Quarta Giornata (re Filostrato): discussione delle novelle 1 (raccontata da Fiammetta), 2 (raccontata da Pampinea), 5 (raccontata da Filomena), 7 (raccontata da Emilia), e 8 (raccontata da Neifile).
● Reliquie amorose: cuore e testa.
Il Decameron e i romantici inglesi.
● Attività in classe: Boccaccio anrtopologico. Introduzione al Motif Index Codes. Trovate un tema per la vostra novella.
● Compito: twit e recensione sul blog della novella raccontata dal vostro narratore. Progetto di classe: inserire i dati della propria novella. Consultate la Reader's Guide to articles in English, Day Four e/o i saggi in italiano suggeriti in bibliografia (o trovatene uno sulla vostra novella tra quelli disponibili su Canvas).

March 8 (Sec. 01)
● Day Four: discussion of novelle 5 (told by Filomena), 7 (told by Emilia), and 8 (told by Neifile).
The Decameron and the English Romantics.
● Class activity: Anthropological Boccaccio. Intro. to Motif Index Codes. Find a motif for each of the novellas told so far by your narrator.
● Assignment: data entry, twit and blog review of the fourth novella told by your narrator. See Reader's Guide to articles in English, Day Four.

March 10 (Sec. 01)
● Day Five (under the rule of Fiammetta): discussion of novelle 3 (told by Elissa), and 4 (told by Filostrato). See Reader's Guide to articles in English, Day Five. 
● The Art of Courtly Love (and its criticism).
Sex and Marriage.

March 10 (Sec. 2 - Italian)
● Quinta Giornata (regina Fiammetta): discussione of novelle 3 (raccontata da Elissa), 4 (raccontata da Filostrato), 8 (raccontata da Filomena), 9 (raccontata da Fiammetta), e 10 (raccontata da Dioneo).
● Critica dell'Amore cortese.
Sessualità e matrimonio.
Usignoli e rapaci. Uccelli nel Decameron.
Decameron visualizzato. Nastagio e BotticelliCassoni nuziali e cultura materiale.
● Compito: twit e recensione sul blog della novella raccontata dal vostro narratore. Progetto di classe: inserire i dati della propria novella. Consultate la Reader's Guide to articles in English, Day Four e/o i saggi in italiano suggeriti in bibliografia (o trovatene uno sulla vostra novella tra quelli disponibili su Canvas).

March 15 (Sec. 01)
● Day Five: discussion of novelle 8 (told by Filomena), 9 (told by Fiammetta), and 10 (told by Dioneo).
Nightingales, and other birds.
Visualizing the Decameron. Nastagio and BotticelliCassoni paintings and material culture.
● Assignment: data entry, twit and blog review of the fifth novella told by your narrator. See Reader's Guide to articles in English, Day Five.

March 17 (Sec. 01)
● Day Six (under the rule of Elissa): discussion of novelle 2 (told by Pampinea), 3 (told by Lauretta), and 4 (told by Neifile). See Reader's Guide to articles in English, Day Six.
Witty remarks.
Performance and interpretation.

March 17 (Sec. 2 - Italian)
● Sesta Giornata: discussione delle novelle 2 (raccontata da Pampinea), 3 (raccontata da Lauretta), 4 (raccontata da Neifile), 7 (raccontata da Filostrato), e 10 (raccontata da Dioneo).
Delle pronte battute.
Performance e interpretazione.
Boccaccio femminista o misogino?
Culto dei santi e delle reliquie.
● Compito: twit e recensione sul blog della novella raccontata dal vostro narratore. Progetto di classe: inserire i dati della propria novella. Consultate la Reader's Guide to articles in English, Day Six e/o i saggi in italiano suggeriti in bibliografia (o trovatene uno sulla vostra novella tra quelli disponibili su Canvas).

March 22
● Day Six: discussion of novelle 7 (told by Filostrato), and 10 (told by Dioneo).
Boccaccio Feminist or Misogynist?
Cult of Saints and Relics.
● Assignment: data entry, twit and blog review of the sixth novella told by your narrator. See Reader's Guide to articles in English, Day Six.

March 24 No class, professor away (class made up during reading period)

March 29-31 No class. Spring Break

April 5 (Sec. 01)
● Day Seven (under the rule of Dioneo): discussion of novelle 1 (told by Emilia), 2 (told by Filostrato), and 4 (told by Lauretta). See Reader's Guide to articles in English, Day Seven.
Who rules the domestic space?
Adultery as a Power Game.
The Language of Spatial Relationships.
Music in the Decameron.
● Assignment: Draft proposal for final project due (1-2 pages on topic chosen, bibliography)

April 7 (Sec. 01)
● Day Seven: discussion of novelle 5 (told by Fiammetta), and 9 (told by Panfilo).
● Assignment: data entry, twit and blog review of the seventh novella told by your narrator. See Reader's Guide to articles in English, Day Seven.

April 7 (Sec. 2 - Italian)
● Settima Giornata (re Dioneo): discussione delle novelle 1 (raccontata da Emilia), 2 (raccontata da Filostrato), 4 (raccontata da Lauretta), 5 (raccontata da Fiammetta), and 9 (raccontata da Panfilo).
Chi controlla lo spazio domestico?
Adulterio come gioco di potere.
Il linguaggio delle relazioni spaziali.
Musica nel Decameron.
● Compito: twit e recensione sul blog della novella raccontata dal vostro narratore. Progetto di classe: inserire i dati della propria novella. Consultate la Reader's Guide to articles in English, Day Seven e/o i saggi in italiano suggeriti in bibliografia (o trovatene uno sulla vostra novella tra quelli disponibili su Canvas). Proposta per il progetto finale (due pagine di descrizione, bibliografia e materiali da utilizzare).

April 12 (Sec. 01)
● Day Eight (under the rule of Lauretta): discussion of novelle 2 (told by Panfilo), 3 (told by Elissa), and 6 (told by Filomena).
● Florentine lore: the Calandrino's cycle.

April 14 (Sec. 01)
● Day Eight: discussion of novelle 7 (told by Pampinea), and 9 (told by Lauretta).
Magicians in the Middle Ages. Social Critique of Magic.
Three Spells.
Echoes of an Indian Tale.
● Assignment: data entry, twit and blog review of the eigth novella told by your narrator. See Reader's Guide to articles in English, Day Eight.

April 14 (Sec. 2 - Italian)
● Ottava Giornata (regina Lauretta): discussione delle novelle 2 (raccontata da Panfilo), 3 (raccontata da Elissa), 6 (raccontata da Filomena), 7 (raccontata da Pampinea), e 9 (raccontata da Lauretta)
● Folklore fiorentino: il ciclo di Calandrino.
Maghi e magia nel Medioevo. Critica sociale della magia.
Tre incantesimi.
Echi di una leggenda indiana.
● Compito: twit e recensione sul blog della novella raccontata dal vostro narratore. Progetto di classe: inserire i dati della propria novella. Consultate la Reader's Guide to articles in English, Day Eight e/o i saggi in italiano suggeriti in bibliografia (o trovatene uno sulla vostra novella tra quelli disponibili su Canvas). Proposta per il progetto finale (due pagine di descrizione, bibliografia e materiali da utilizzare).

April 19 (Sec. 01)
● Day Nine (under the rule of Emilia): discussion of novelle 2 (told by Elissa), 4 (told by Neifile), and 5 (told by Fiammetta).
● The Corbaccio, a controversial work by Boccaccio.

April 21 (Sec. 01)
● Day Nine: discussion of novelle 8 (told by Lauretta), and 9 (told by Emilia).
● Assignment: data entry, twit and blog review of the ninth novella told by your narrator. See Reader's Guide to articles in English, Day Nine.

April 21 (Sec. 2 - Italian)
● Nona Giornata (regina Emilia): discussione delle novelle 2 (raccontata da Elissa), 4 (raccontata da Neifile), 5 (raccontata da Fiammetta), 8 (raccontata da Lauretta), and 9 (raccontata da Emilia)
● Il Corbaccio, opera controversa di Boccaccio.
● Compito: twit e recensione sul blog della novella raccontata dal vostro narratore. Progetto di classe: inserire i dati della propria novella. Consultate la Reader's Guide to articles in English, Day Nine e/o i saggi in italiano suggeriti in bibliografia (o trovatene uno sulla vostra novella tra quelli disponibili su Canvas). Proposta per il progetto finale (due pagine di descrizione, bibliografia e materiali da utilizzare).

April 26 (Sec. 01)
● Day Ten (under the rule of Panfilo): discussion of novelle 1 (told by Neifile), 2 (told by Elissa), and 5 (told by Emilia).
● Aristotle (Nicomachean Ethics, Book 4), Thomas of Aquinas (Commentary on Book 4) and Cicero, De Officiis, (On Moral Duties).

April 28 (Sec. 01)
● Day Ten: discussion of novelle 9 (told by Panfilo), and 10 (told by Dioneo).
● Griselda: A Moral Ending? A performance and interpretation by the students of an Italian high school, the Liceo Canopoleno of Sassari (winner of the Boccaccio AfterLife award).
● Assignment: data entry, twit and blog review of the ninth novella told by your narrator. See Reader's Guide to articles in English, Day Ten.

April 28 (Sec. 2 - Italian)
● Decima Giornata (re Panfilo): discussione delle novelle 1 (raccontata da Neifile), 2 (raccontata da Elissa), 5 (raccontata da Emilia), 9 (raccontata da Panfilo), e 10 (raccontata da Dioneo)
● Aristotle (Etica a Nicomaco, Book 4), Thomas of Aquinas (Commento al Libro 4) e Cicerone, De Officiis, (On Moral Duties).

May 3 (Sec. 01)
● The Author's Epilogue. Discussion of two cinematic adaptations of the Decameron: Decamerone, a film by Pier Paolo Pasolini (1971, subtitled in English).

May 5 (Sec. 2 - Italian)
● Conclusioni dell'Autore. Discussione di: Decamerone, regia di Pier Paolo Pasolini (1971), e Meraviglioso Boccaccio, regia di Paolo and Vittorio Taviani (2014, sottotitoli in italiano).

May 12, 12-1 p.m. (Sec. 01) and 2-3 p.m. (Sec. 2 - Italian). Presentation and discussion of final projects.

Deadline for completion of all final projects: May 16.