R5B Section 1: Reading and Composition

TT 8-9:30 | 259 Dwinelle | Instructor: Greg Bonetti

Units: 4

Back to Basics: Classics of Italian Literature

All Reading and Composition courses must be taken for a letter grade in order to fulfill this requirement for the Bachelor’s Degree. This course satisfies the second half or the “B” portion of the Reading and Composition requirement.

In this course, we’ll explore the richness of Italian literature from its earliest manifestations to post-WWII. We’ll examine texts that stand witness to the peninsula’s tumultuous history, beginning with a fragmented set of city-states and ending with the failure of Fascism. How did writers respond to the various cultural and social developments that shook the peninsula? What is the relationship between literature and nation-building? In what way do works critique political and gender power structures? These are just a few of the questions we’ll pose as we read.

Course Requirements

Students are expected to attend and participate regularly. There will be three writing assignments throughout the semester (totaling a minimum of 32 pages, including drafts), as well as a number of mandatory grammar/stylistic workshops.


Successful completion of the “A” portion of the Reading & Composition requirement or its equivalent. Students may not enroll in nor attend R5B courses without completing this prerequisite.


Dante, Vita nuova

Boccaccio, Decameron

Petrarch, Canzoniere

Franco, Terze rime

Machiavelli, The Prince

Manzoni, The Betrothed

Goldoni, The Artful Widow

Collodi, Pinocchio

Marinetti, “Futurist Manifesto”

Aleramo, A Woman

Levi, Survival in Auschwitz

Calvino, Invisible Cities

Lampedusa, The Leopard