ITALG006 - Medieval and Renaissance Texts: Resources and Research Techniques

Value: 30 credits
Tutors: Dr Dilwyn Knox, Prof. Giulio Lepschy, Dr Chiara Franceschini, Dr Laura Nuvoloni (Cambridge University Library) and Mr Stephen Parkin (British Library).
Teaching structure: Each week, students submit a piece of work relating to the research technique covered in class and complete a translation from a late medieval or Renaissance text. These pieces of work and the translations are not included in the module assessment.
Assessment: 4 hours exam.

Module Description:

The module introduces students to some of the research skills required for advanced study of Italian medieval and Renaissance texts and documents. It is suitable for students who intend to take a research degree and for those who wish to familiarize themselves with aspects of the Italian Renaissance that do not feature in undergraduate modules on the period. 

Topics covered include palaeography, transcription from manuscripts and printed books, editorial techniques, archival techniques, varieties of Renaissance Italian, manuscript catalogues, translation, bibliography, calendars, measures, citation conventions, library catalogues, and digital resources.

Preparatory Reading and Set Texts:

A good preliminary exercise for familiarizing yourself with Renaissance Italian is to translate passages from Machiavelli's Il principe or Castiglione's Il libro del cortegiano, comparing two or three published translations as you go along. You will soon find that the published translations are unreliable. Two online dictionaries that you will find useful when translating Renaissance Italian are: John Florio's 1611 Italian-English Dictionary, Queen Anna's New World of Words and Lessicografia della Crusca in Rete. You should also buy a copy of Adriano Cappelli, Dizionario di Abbreviature Latine et Italiane (Ulrico Hoepli, Milan, many editions). This is available online; you will probably find, however, that it is easier to use a printed copy.