ITAL20200 Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio: the Three Crowns

Dante Alighieri, Francesco Petrarch and Giovanni Boccaccio are known as the ‘Tre corone’ (the ‘Three Crowns’) of Italian literature. What is the meaning of this expression? And what are the reasons for its use? This module aims to enable students to answer these questions and develop an informed understanding of the life, works and reception of the three major Italian authors in the Middle Ages. The module combines an historical introduction to Italian Medieval history and culture with the analysis of a selection of the most influential cultural products of this period: that is, Dante’s Inferno (Hell), the first cantica of his Divina Commedia (Divine Comedy); the poems written by Petrarch and collected in his Canzoniere (also known as Rerum Vulgarium Fragmenta); and the stories from Boccaccio’s Decameron. Through the study of a selection of these texts, students will be introduced to some fundamental topics and themes in the study of Italian literature: the relationship between literature, politics, and religion; the beginnings of lyric poetry and short stories; the literary use of the Italian vernacular.

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