October 23, 2003

Barolini, Teodolinda Silver_nugget
Boccaccio and Dante

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Professor Barolini has been one of the best professors I have had at Columbia. She gives really good lectures (during which she allows students to offer up their own thoughts & comments) and is open to students with less than stellar Italian skills taking her classes...she'll lecture in English but usually the bulk of the reading is in Italian. She gives me the impression that she won't put up with any b.s. or time-wasting ego-indulging comments, but if you have something worthwhile to say, she'll gladly listen. The 3 classes I have had with her have been great and I'm definitely going to take another one with her. She's a fair grader--but she does expect you to come to class prepared and with the reading done. Likewise, she'll welcome you to office hours, but don't dither when you're there: just get to the point. (She won't, for example, spoonfeed you a paper topic, but if you have the slightest clue, she'll whip out a file of potential articles, etc. to look up.)


Usually she teaches major Italian texts which are demanding per se, and it takes a constant effort to keep up with the reading: the Divine Comedy, Boccaccio or poetry aren't light, and so you must resist falling behind. But it is doable and for undergrads there's just a midterm and a final. For grad students, final exam + final paper + reading critical articles. She does emphasize however that this prepares grad students for becoming critics themselves...