This module offers a comparative study of short-story collections in the fourteenth century, particularly Boccaccio’s Decameron (which served as a model to all later writers of short fiction) and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. The tales are set strongly in their literary, cultural, and historical contexts, addressing topics such as frame narratives, humour, religion, and the place of women. We shall also discuss the influence of these collections in the Renaissance. The examination of texts in both English and Italian will develop skills in close reading and in comparative literary analysis. Lectures and seminars are supplemented by a reading group, geared to aid the comprehension of difficult texts in the original language. Warwick undergraduates and exchange students from Italy often take this module together, which makes it even more culturally comparative.
Assessment: Either 4000-4500 word essay OR one 2000-2500 word essay and a one hour examination.