Italian Studies 215: The Italian Romance Epic: Boiardo, Ariosto, Tasso

Instructor: Professor Albert Russell Ascoli

This course fulfills the elective requirement for the DE in REMS.

This course will offer an advanced introduction to the 15th and 16th century Italian Romance-Epic tradition, focusing principally on the “Ferrarese” tradition extending from Matteo Maria Boiardo through Ludovico Ariosto to Torquato Tasso. The focus of the course will be on the place each of the poems assumes in key literary and political-cultural histories. In addition to selections from the poems themselves we will spend some time on the early theoretical works devoted to the generic identity of the Italian long poem, including Giambattista Pigna, I romanzi; Tasso’s Discorsi sopra l’arte poetica; and the Ariosto vs. Tasso debate, as well as on the late 16th century chivalric epic, Floridoro, of Moderata Fonte. Students whose interests focus on English, Spanish, French or other traditions that respond to the Italians may find the course useful and would be encouraged to present and write on such responses.


Taught in English, reading knowledge of Italian and/or Latin very useful but not indispensable (check with the instructor!)

Section times and locations in the Schedule of Classes