What does literature written 700 years ago in Italy have to do with our 21st Century? Everything!!! Italy has spent this year celebrating the 700th anniversary of the death of Dante (1321) with festivals, exhibits, and parties. We’ll join the fun by reading selections from Dante’s Inferno and working together to create a public exhibit of rare books by and related to Dante’s Divine Comedy in Norlin Special Collections. We’ll also read selections and watch film versions of tales from Boccaccio’s Decameron, one of the greatest pandemic texts of all time. We’ll study the love poetry of writers such as Francesco Petrarca, Vittoria Colonna, and Gaspara Stampa and see how their language and theories of love can be found in today’s pop music. At the end of the semester, we’ll read two texts by Niccolò Machiavelli, Il principe and La mandragola (a comedy), and discuss why Renaissance political theory for governing nations and households is still be alive today.