The goal of this course is to introduce the students to Italian and
French Renaissance literature. The stress is put on reading and interpreting
literary texts in their cultural, historical contexts.
This course seeks to convey the skills needed to read and understand
French and Italian Renaissance literary texts. We do not intend
the course as an exhaustive survey or a history of Renaissance literature. Hence
the methodological premises, which are important in order to understand
the pedagogy underlying the course:
- Although the course is entirely online, it relies on an active interaction
of the students with the material, and encourages intellectual exchanges
among each other and with the Instructor.
- Contrary to some online courses, this course does not allow
for a random access of the material from the start of the semester. The
French and Italian Renaissance Literature Online course is highly
structured and precisely paced, although it allows for some flexibility
within the given time frames. It is therefore imperative that the
students keep up with the pacing of the material and follow all
the assignments sequentially.
- Literary texts and their interpretation are at the core of the course.
These are not casual readings. The students should read and reread
them carefully and take advantage of all the interpretative tools that
are proposed to them.
The navigation through the particular components of the course are
presented in the “How to use this course” link, accessible
from the side bar of the home page of the course.
Introduction: Instructions for proceeding through the course
Definitions of the Renaissance as an historical period and as an approach
to reading literature
The myth and history of Rome from Antiquity to the Renaissance; Dante
Renaissance Rome: The rediscovery of the Ancient world
Petrarch, on the cusp of the Renaissance; Papal restoration of Rome
Ficino and his legacy: Florentine Neo-Platonism in philosophy and art
Urbino and Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier: Renaissance
courts and civility
Machiavelli, Florentine politics and the advent of modern polical thought
Venice, courtesans, women poets and the Commedia
The court of Francis I: the School of Fontainebleau and the beginnings
of the French Renaissance
The worlds of Rabelais: the comic genius of the Renaissance
The poets of Lyons: Italian influences in French literature
Brazil: The “Antarctic France”
Villegagnon’s expedition to Brazil and Jean de Léry’s
The “Prince of Poets”:
Pierre de Ronsard and French national poetry
The role of mythology in Renaissance literature
Marguerite de Valois at the court of
Nérac: an intimate account
of life during the religious wars and the end of the Renaissance in France
Conclusion: the aspirations and disappointments of the Renaissance