The adventure of this course will be to read Ludovico Ariosto’s epic romance, Orlando furioso, full of ladies, knights, warfare, and love interests, as well as the first appearance in world literature of the Hippogriff. We will read the text over the course of the academic term in its presentation by the 20th-century story-teller, Italo Calvino, who frames the poem’s original stanzas with his equally lively and entertaining prose.
The goals of the course are
- practice in the four skills of the Italian language and
- familiarity with a masterpiece of European literature and the cultural context that produced it.
Ariosto’s poem will be the occasion to learn about the Renaissance city of Ferrara and its “enlightened despots”, the Este family, as well as innovations in art, literature, religion, warfare, and politics that marked the beginning of the modern era.
In addition, we will study the 2001 prize-winning film by Ermanno Olmi, “Il mestiere delle armi” as a didactic text, for language-learning and perspective on key events of the Italian Renaissance, such as the sea-change brought about by the introduction of firearms.
Students enrolled in ITALIAN 483 will be expected to achieve greater facility in deciphering original stanzas of the Orlando furioso, and will write a final paper.
Students of Italian language and culture with the equivalent of at least two years of college language study.
Two days a week, discussion of reading, presentations on relevant cultural phenomena, work on grammar and vocabulary.