Dominico di Michelino, Dante and the Three Kingdoms, the Museo d'Opera del Duomo (Florence). Oil canvas painting, 1465. (Image courtesy of Vern Blunk and Dante Alighieri on the Web.)
The course explores the literary masterworks of three of the most celebrated authors of the Middle Ages in their original literary and historical contexts. The various themes they take up - the importance of writing in the vernacular; the discourse of love as a form of discipline practised upon the self; the personal and political aspirations of the self in society; the constitution of ideal forms of social organization; the role of religion in the life and works of lay authors - transformed the course of much of Western literature for the next five centuries. Readings will include the entire Divine Comedy, generous selections from the Decameron, and all of Troilus and Criseyde in the original Middle English, together with samplings from the Troubadour tradition and the dolce stil nuovo.