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Course Description:

This course explores Italian Literature from the beginnings to the 16th century, starting with early texts in Italian vernacular, the religious poetry of the 13th century, and continuing with the writings of canonical writers such as Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarca, Ariosto, Machiavelli, and Tasso. The course addresses different literary genres (lyrical and epic poetry, short story, epistolography) in their historical and cultural context. Active participation in the discussion of literary texts is required.

Learning Goals:

At the end of the course, students will be able to identify the main elements of various literary movements, recognize different genres of writings (sonnet, canzone, epic poem, novella), and analyze literary texts according to their main generic and formal conventions. Students will learn to relate literature to its specific historical and cultural values. Taught in Italian, this course will also serve as a review of complex grammatical and syntactical structures and as an opportunity to understand how rhetorical and stylistic features function in a particular cultural tradition. Finally, students will begin to develop and practice a literary vocabulary adequate to the discipline.

Departmental Goal I and III: Linguistic Proficiency and Professional Preparation

Required Texts:

Literature: Course packet available in the Italian Department and supplementary material made available throughout the semester via the Course Sakai website.

Language: Dizionario della lingua italiana, Garzanti Devoto-Oli or the following free website:

Course Requirements:

Attendance and Participation are mandatory. More than 2 unjustified absences and late arrivals will negatively affect your attendance and participation grade. Every fourth late arrival constitutes one absence. If students have ten absences, they will fail the course, regardless of what grade they have. The student is responsible for any work missed due to his or her absence from class.

Homework: For most of relevant literary texts, students will have to prepare a written synthetic analysis based on the "scheda d'analisi" provided by the instructor or based on the analysis done in class. All homework assignments should be typed, unless otherwise directed. When writing more than one page, include page numbers and staple the pages together.

Oral Presentation: consists of an oral discussion of 10 minutes on a research topic arranged with the instructor. The oral presentation is aimed to develop students’ research skills as well as their ability to express themselves orally in discussing Italian literature. Texts, graphics and other visuals materials may be used to accompany presentations. Reading directly from notes is not permitted (although students may use an outline). Students must provide a typed handout/outline for the rest of the students in the class with relevant information/points of discussion. Among other things, the evaluation of the presentation will be based on: a) preparation; b) content; c) clarity and d) fluency.

Tests: There will be four in-class tests during the semester.

Final Paper: Students will be responsible for a final paper of 4-5 pages double-spaced. The paper is to be submitted in MLA format (Font: Times New Roman 12-point; double-spaced; 1-inch margins on all sides; Quotes: if 1-3 lines, insert the text; if more than 3 lines, indent 1" and single space.

Students must include page numbers and staple the pages together. Proofread all papers to catch grammatical errors, spelling errors, and typos before they are handed in. Any paper not checked for spelling will not be accepted. Please use spell check, available at the language lab. No rewriting is permitted. Plagiarism and other violation of academic integrity will not be tolerated: any use of a source that is not quoted will result in a grade of 0 for the composition and any other steps that your school’s dean may see fit.

Breakdown of grade:

Attendance and Participation: 15%

Presentation: 15%

Homework assignments: 20%

Tests: 30%

Final Paper: 20%

Language Policy:

Italian is the language of instruction. English is not permitted.

Note: Homework and class announcements will be posted on Sakai:

Contact Us

Department of Italian
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
15 Seminary Place, #5105
New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Voice (848) 932-7031
Fax (732) 923-7126

Sheri La Macchia, Administrator

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