30931 - Italian Literature 1 (GR. D)

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Francesco Sberlati

  • Credits 9

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education Gender equality Reduced inequalities Peace, justice and strong institutions

Academic Year 2018/2019

Course contents

Boccaccio as "modern" novelist

The course of Italian Literature, divided in two units, will focus on Medieval and Renaissance literature. The second unit will particularly analyse Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron. Furthermore students are requested to achieve an appropriate knowledge on Italian literature from XIII to XVI century (from Sicilian poetry until Torquato Tasso). Within the course students are also requested to read Dante Alighieri's Inferno, cantos I-X.


First unit (history of Italian literature).

To acquire a competent knowledge of Italian literature history students are requested to read the following texts:

ANDREA BATTISTINI (ed.), Letteratura italiana, volume 1: Dalle origini al Seicento, Bologna, il Mulino, 2014, pages 19-410;

ANTONIO PIROMALLI, La storia della letteratura italiana, chapters 2-9, available on the web site www.storiadellaletteratura.it

Second unit (research section).

Students are requested to carefully read the following sections and tales of Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron: Proem; Introduction; I 6 and 9; II 7; III 1; IV 2 and 9; V 8 and 9; VI 3 and 7; VII 5; VIII 4 and 8; IX 2; X 6 and 10; Author's Epilogue.

The text, without notes, is available on the following web sites:

www.letteraturaitaliana.net/gli autori/Boccaccio Giovanni/Decameron

www.liberliber.it/Autori/Boccaccio, Giovanni/Decameron

English translation available at the following web site:




Essential is a careful reading of the following texts:

FRANCESCO BAUSI, Leggere il "Decameron", Bologna, il Mulino, 2017;

NATALINO SAPEGNO, Boccaccio, Giovanni, available on the web site www.treccani.it/Biografico (ad vocem)

It is also requested the reading of DANTE ALIGHIERI's Inferno, cantos I-X. The following updated editions are recommended: E. PASQUINI - A. QUAGLIO (eds.), Milano, Garzanti, 1988; B. GARAVELLI - L. MAGUGLINI (eds.), Milano, BUR, 2000; T. DI SALVO (ed.), Bologna, Zanichelli, 2003; A. M. CHIAVACCI LEONARDI (ed.), Milano, Mondadori, 2007; P. STOPPELLI (ed.), Bologna, Zanichelli, 2008.

Text and commentaries are also available on the web site dante.dartmouth.edu

Teaching methods

Lectures on courses themes, connected with information about bibliographical references, using pc, web sites, slides, overhead projector.

Assessment methods

The evaluation of the students' competencies and abilities acquired during the course consists of two phases:


a written test leading up to and preparatory to the specific subjects contained in the course programme, and an oral test aimed at ascertaining a general knowledge of all the subjects covered during the course.

The written test responds to criteria relating to orthography, morphology, syntax and semantics, clarity of expression, the ability to summarize.

The oral test consists in an oral interview which has the aim of evaluating the critical and methodological ability of the students. The students will be invited to discuss the tests on the course programme. The student must demonstrate an appropriate knowledge of the bibliography in the course programme. Access to the oral test depends on having passed the written test. The final mark is not a mathematical average of the two tests.


Those students who are able to demonstrate a wide and systematic understanding of the issues covered during the lessons, are able to use these critically and who master the field-specific language of the discipline will be given a mark of excellence.


Those students who demonstrate a mnemonic knowledge of the subject with a more superficial analytical ability and ability to synthesize, a correct command of the language but not always appropriate, will be given a ‘fair' mark.


A superficial knowledge and understanding of the material, a scarce analytical and expressive ability that is not always appropriate will be rewarded with a pass mark or just above a pass mark.


Students who demonstrate gaps in their knowledge of the subject matter, inappropriate language use, lack of familiarity with the literature in the programme bibliography will not be given a pass mark.



Teaching tools

The following is a list of some helpful web sites. Some of them will be visited during the course.












Office hours

See the website of Francesco Sberlati