This course focuses on the origin of Italian literary language and poetry. Special attention will be given to Dante’s Divina Commedia, Petrarca’s Canzoniere and Boccaccio’s Decameron; the three masterpieces of Italian and European literature. The study of selected works and authors will be combined with readings and discussions conducted by the instructor in English, though students will be constantly referring to the original texts. This course will provide a basic but exhaustive outline of medieval history, thought, and aspects concerning everyday life. Students will begin by briefly examining the birth and development of the Italian language. They will then study the rise of secular verse as well as newer literary topics such as profane love and the observation of nature. This will be followed by the study of everyday speech in the literary language. These themes and others will be discussed as the class studies the masterpieces of this period.