Paul Colilli

Associate Director of Italian School, Italian School Faculty


Paul Colilli holds a B.A. (McMaster University), as well as an M.A. and Ph.D. (University of Toronto). He is professor of Italian Studies at Laurentian University and is a regular Visiting Professor at Middlebury College's Scuola italiana in Middlebury, Vermont. He has written many articles in the area of Renaissance to Modern Italian literature and thought. As well, Dr. Colilli is the author of numerous scholarly books including Petrarch's Allegories of Writing (1988), Poliziano's Science of Tropes (1989), La poetica dell'aletheia nell'Africa del Petrarca (1993), Signs of the Hermetic Imagination (1993), The Idea of the Living Spirit (1997), The Angel's Corpse (1999), Semiotics as a Bridge between the Sciences and the Humanities (co-ed. 2000), Vico and the Archives of Hermetic Reason (2004). Dr. Colilli is presently Laurentian University's Dean of Graduate Studies




Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

ITAL 6573 - Intro Early Modern Ital Lit      

Introduction to Early Modern Italian Literature

This course focuses on the historical development of mid- to late- sixteenth-, seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century Italian literature. We will read the works of major Italian authors in relation to their impact on both Italian and European culture, from the last days of the Renaissance to the onset of Arcadia. While discussing the representative literary and philosophical works of these two centuries, we will examine the evolution/involution of the intellectual class, the hegemony of religious and political power over science and the arts and how literature emerges from the society which it attempts to change or describe. (1 Unit)

Required text: M. Pazzaglia, Letteratura italiana. Testi e critica con lineamenti di storia letteraria. Vol. II. Bologna: Zanichelli, 1992-1993. ISBN 9788808130662 Literature

Summer 2012, Summer 2013

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ITAL 6577 - Textual Worlds Med&Humanistic      

The Textual Worlds of Medieval and Humanistic Italy

This course examines the emergence of Italian literary culture from its earliest manifestations in the 13th century to Renaissance Humanism of the 15th century. Selected readings from major works of representative authors will illustrate the dominant intellectual trends and the development of literary forms and of the Italian literary language. We will explore topics such as the interrelationship between literature, the history of ideas and the other arts, as well as the connection between literature and social forces. This course will focus on the following authors and on some of their works mainly focusing on linguistic aspects and on the theme of love:
- The Sicilian poets centered in the court of Emperor Fredrick II (1194-1250) and his son Manfredi (d. 1266). They established the vernacular. Among the outstanding poets of the Sicilian school was Giacomo da Lentini credited with the invention of one of the major Italian poetic forms: the sonnet. This course will analyze two of his poems: the sonnet Amor è uno desio che ven da core and the canzonetta Meravigliosamente.

- Dolce stil novo poets, a group of 13th–14th-century Italian poets, mostly Florentines, whose vernacular sonnets, canzoni, and ballate celebrate a spiritual and idealized view of love and womanhood in delicate and musical ways. The course will focus on one poem from each of the following poets: Guido Guinizelli’s Al cor gentil rempaira sempre amore, Guido Cavalcanti’s Chi è questa che vèn, ch’
ogn’om la mira and Dante Alighieri’s Tanto gentile e tanto onesta pare.

- Francesco Petrarca (1304-1374), Italian humanist, poet, and writer is famous for his Canzoniere, a collection of poems in vernacular which would go on to become the single greatest influence on the love poetry of Renaissance Europe until well into the 17th century. We will conduct a close reading of the proemial poem Voi ch’ascoltate in rime sparse il suono and one of the sonnets for Laura Levommi il mio pensier in parte ov’era.

- Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375) is the author of The Decameron, a medieval allegory told as a frame story encompassing 100 tales by ten young Florentine (7 women and 3 men), referred to as the Brigata, gathering together in a countryside villa for two weeks while escaping from the Black Death. Each agrees to tell one story each day for ten days. It is considered the masterpiece of the early Italian prose. This course will focus on Boccaccio’s Preface and two tales about love: IV, 5 Elisabetta da Messina (tragic love) and VII, 8 Arriguccio Berlingieri (cheating love).

- Ludovico Ariosto’s (1474-1533) Orlando furioso is an Italian epic poem which has exerted a wide influence on later culture. This course will introduce students to the new literary genre (“poema cavalleresco” “romanzo”) of which the Furioso is the best sample focusing on the first 4 strophes of Canto .

Required Texts:
Students are required to read the indicated texts before the class in which they will be respectively discussed.
Critical works suggested:
Bruno Migliorini, Storia della lingua italiana, 2007.
Gianfranco Contini, Letteratura italiana delle origini (1978), BUR, 2013
Cesare Segre (a cura di), Introduzione, in Ludovico Ariosto: Orlando furioso, Milano, Mondadori, 1964. Literature

Summer 2013

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ITAL 6665 - Mediterranean & Dante's DC      

The Mediterranean Signature of Dante’s Divina Commedia

The course will explore Dante’s Divina Commedia with special reference to the Medieval Mediterranean cultural context from which it emerged. We will be reading selected cantos, as well as some of Dante’s other works, in relation to the network of intellectual traditions (Islamic, Jewish, Christian) that dominated Dante’s age.

Required Text:
Dante Alighieri, Tutte le opere (Divina Commedia, Vita Nuova, Rime, Convivio, De vulgari eloquentia, Monarchia, Egloghe, Epistole, Quaestio de aqua et de terra). Introduzione di Italo Borzi. Commenti a cura di Giovanni Fallani, Nicola Maggi e Silvio Zennaro. (Roma: Newton Compton editori, 1993). Civ Cul & Soc Literature

Summer 2012

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The Italian School

Sunderland Language Center
Middlebury College
P: 802.443.5874
F: 802.443.2075

Mailing address
Italian School
14 Old Chapel Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT  05753

Joe Tamagni, Coordinator