Dante had his Beatrice and Petrarch his Laura, but Boccaccio was interested not only in one particular woman, whom he sometimes called Fiammetta, but also in women as a group. This seminar investigates Boccaccio’s exploration of this theme in a range of works, including the clever and occasionally cruel women featured in his Decameron; the distraught lover that narrates Europe’s first psychological novel, the Elegy of Madonna Fiammetta; the many nymphs that populate both the Ameto and the Nymphs of Fiesole; the lives of mythological and real women recounted in his Genealogies of the Gentile Gods and On Famous Women; and his manipulation of misogynistic discourse in the Corbaccio. By situating Boccaccio’s works in the literary tradition of Ovid, Dante, and Apuleius, we will examine how Boccaccio engages discourses of gender and sexuality in new ways and how his innovations have been received by contemporary criticism. All readings will be available in English.
MEDREN 618S, LIT 584S