Italy through Ages in English: Saints and Sinners in Early Modern Italy

Citation format: MLA Style

List of Topics

Select one of the following topics:

  • What are the foci of Dante’s and Boccaccio’s attacks on the clergy? Discuss differences (and similarities) between Dante’s depiction of the clergy in the Inferno and Boccaccio’s characterization of the clergy in the Decameron.
  • What behaviors and values does Boccaccio appear to encourage and discourage in the DecameronDiscuss at least two stories (and please avoid lengthy summaries of the stories you examine).
  • Compare and contrast Saint Catherine’s writings on the Church with either Dante’s critique of the Church in the Inferno orwith Boccaccio’s portrayal of the clergy in the Decameron: which text(s) provide a more effective critique of the Church? Why?
  • Discuss how Saint Catherine’s engagement with the Church hierarchy (through her letters to Pope Gregory XI (letter 26) and the three Italian cardinals (letter 82), as well as through her Dialogue) compares to women’s relationships to members of the clergy in the Decameron.
  • In Inferno 27, Dante indirectly compares Pope Boniface VIII to the Sicilian tyrant Phalaris, while in the Oration on the Donation of Constantine, Lorenzo Valla describes the pope as a tyrant, comparing him (the pope) to Julius Caesar. What do these comparisons imply?

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