This course provides an introduction to the Italian short story from the novellas of Boccaccio to the fairy tales of Basile. We will consider some of the precursors to this tradition and explore its lasting influence in literatures beyond the confines of early modern Italy. Special attention will be paid to the orality and sociability of storytelling and to how narrative framing devices structure readerly experience. We will also delve into the paradox of how a narrative form as simple as the short story came to achieve such enduring popularity as a means of elaborating and debating complex ethical problems of everyday life.
All works will be read and discussed in English translation, though attention to the Italian originals will be encouraged wherever possible.