Topics in Italian Culture: Love + Death, Desire + Despair

FRIT-M222 — Fall 2021

Akash Kumar
WH 009
Days and Times
3:15P - 4:30P TR
Course Description

Fulfills GenEd World Cultures and A&H requirements. 

This course is taught in English.

This course will center on Francesco Petrarch’s groundbreaking 14th-century collection of lyric poetry, the Rerum vulgarium fragmenta (Fragments of vernacular things). Engaging in a holistic reading of the collection, we’ll explore the world of conflict that Petrarch creates between secular love and spiritual impulses and how his obsessive structuring of his collection captures his metaphysical musings on time and mortality. We will also consider how Petrarch created an influential model for literature to come, and sets a course for the trajectory of Italian culture as defined by its extremes. We’ll think about the prehistory of the collection in how Petrarch drew his inspiration from the Italian, French, and Latin past, and how Petrarchism became a dominant mode of poetry and cultural construction not only in Europe but also in a wide global expanse. This last point of reception will ask us to think about the implications of lyric poetry as a force that crosses boundaries: what happens when women take up the form of the sonnet as a way of forging a new identity? How is the colonial condition reflected upon by non-European writers who seek to emulate European literary forms? And finally, how might we see these extreme ideas of love, desire, and death in contemporary literature and popular culture?


Interested in this course?

The full details of this course are available on the Office of the Registrar website.

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