ONLINE LITERATURE COURSE
Binging on Boccaccio: The Decameron as Hope and Healing in “Pandemic Times”
Set in Florence, Italy during the 1348 plague known as the Black Death, Boccaccio’s one hundred novella collected in his masterwork The Decameron have received recent, widespread attention as readers the world over struggle to navigate the perils of the COVID 19 pandemic. The real strength of Boccaccio’s tales, however, is not derived solely from the weight of their literary proximity to our current experience. Rather, these stories about virtue and vice; honesty and deceit; love and loss; fortitude and temperance; prudence and magnificence, help readers to shift their focus to the humanity that is needed to rebuild and remake the world.
In this three-part course, we will introduce readers to the major themes of The Decameron against the backdrop of the historical reality of the plague in Florence. We will then focus our specific attention on a close reading of various novelle from the Decameron. Each of these novelle will be read in relation to one another and discussed from within the framework of Boccaccio’s larger thematic and literary concerns. As these tales will demonstrate, it is not the pathos of Boccaccio’s plague that gives The Decameron its enduring and vital power, it is the passion and compassion that his stories reveal us capable of when called upon to care about and for each other.
Kristin Stasiowski, Ph.D is the Assistant Dean of International Programs and Education Abroad for the College of Arts and Sciences and is also an Assistant Professor of Italian Language and Literature in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages at Kent State University. She received her Ph.D from Yale University in Italian Language and Literature and has taught Italian language, literature, cinema, history and culture in both Florence, Italy and at Kent State. She recently published a chapter entitled A Divine Comedy for All Time: Dante’s Enduring Relevance for the Contemporary Reader in Italian Pop Culture: Media, Product, Imageries. Rome, Italy: Viella Editrice s.r.. Her current research is focused on Dante, Boccaccio, and the modern poet Clemente Rebora.
Virtual Classroom: Full access to an online educational platform with discussion forum, videos of recordings, syllabus, and reading list.
Location: LIVE INTERACTIVE ON-LINE LITERATURE LECTURES
Readings to be provided to students in website and PDF format prior to the beginning of course.
Complete syllabus will be provided upon registration.
- ALL LECTURES WILL BE RECORDED AND AVAILABLE FOR VIEWING AT YOUR CONVENIENCE IN OUR VIDEO LIBRARY FOR THE DURATION OF THE COURSE