Proposed Program: A Literary History of Italy.

Explore Italy through its literary history as we travel through space and time and approach the many sites the same way their artists did: through their texts. We would begin:

I. Classical Rome

The Colosseum

 - Martial, The Book of Spectaclesa series of 30+ short epigraphs that capture the opening day festivities at the Flavian Amphitheatre, 80 CE.

 - Ovid, the Ars Amatoriaselections. The colosseum and the Circus Maximus as Roman dating sites!

 - Catullus, Love Elegies - selections

 - Vitruvius, On Architecture

 The Roman Forum

 - Cicero, Defense speeches (delivered on the rostra and/or in the Curia. Pro Archia & II Philippic (scandalous accusations against Marc Antony, that led to Cicero’s execution)

 - Cicero, On Rhetoric (selections) Basic principles of composition, including how people like Vergil and Ovid constructed “memory palaces” to allow them to deliver their works orally.

 The Capitoline Museum

 - Vergil, The Aeneid the mythic history of Rome’s founding. Selections that form the basis for artworks (Aeneas carries Anchises)

 - Ovid, the Metamorphoses after the Bible, the second most influential book on the visual arts. Selected episodes that form the basis for the artworks.

 Galleria Borghese

 - Ovid, the Metamorphoses selected episodes

 Palazzo Massimo

 - Roman Wall-Painting


The Rediscovery of the Classical Past

- Dante's "Vita Nuova" - Love as a transcendent force

- Petrach's "Canzoniere" - the Love sonnet

- Boccaccio's Decameron - the Lustiness of Love