Italian Literature in the Renaissance – Boccaccio in the XVIth Century

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No prerequisites are required.

This course is aimed at PhD candidates, but is valid also for undergraduate students.


The course – strictly connected with the undergraduate course – aims to investigate the multiple forms of the sixteenth-century reception of Giovanni Boccaccio’s work, and will focus on Boccaccio’s figure and works from the point of view of Renaissance culture. The discussion will not be limited to the Decameron, a work that exerted a strong influence on Italian fiction in the Renaissance, both at a literary and linguistic level; the reflection will in fact also be extended to his vernacular poems, to the activity of mythographer, to historiographical production and to bucolic poetry, all experiences that decreed the success of Boccaccio throughout the Sixteenth Century. The linguistic, literary and cultural influence of the Decameron will therefore be accompanied by the study of the reasons and methods of the persistence of Boccaccio’s legacy also in political thought, sacred literature, pastoral poetry and theater.

Educational aims

The course aims to introduce the research tools and textual analysis that can improve the historical, linguistic and stylistic understanding of the 16th Century Italian culture, and the investigation of the dynamics of cultural memory and the diachronic and interdisciplinary reuses of thematic and stylistic topoi.

Bibliographical references

Detailed bibliographical references will be given during the seminar. For an introduction to the main questions: The Cambridge Companion of Boccaccio, ed. by G. Armstrong, R. Daniels, S.J. Miller, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2015; Boccaccio, a cura di M. Fiorilla e I. Iocca, Roma, Carocci, 2021.