The Classical Tradition in Italian Literature, I

Professor David Marsh
Italian 610
T 4:30-7:10 PM

This is the first half of a graduate seminar taught in Italian about the classical tradition. The course discusses the genres of epic, tragedy, comedy, lyric, and epyllion, and compares classical models with works by Italian writers from Dante to Carducci. The seminar is taught in Italian, and requires a knowledge of Italian for readings and discussions.

Experimentalism in Nineteenth-Century Italian Literature: An EcoGothic Approach 

Professor David Del Principe
Italian 646 
W 4:30-7:10 PM

This seminar introduces a new theoretical approach, the EcoGothic, to examine major texts of the Gothic and fin-de-siècle periods based on thematics of aberrant consumption and procreation. The EcoGothic employs an approach to the study of literature and culture that draws on several theoretical fields. It merges ecocritical and ecofeminist theory with Gothic theory, examining the role of humans, nonhumans, and nature in cultivating the Gothic zeitgeist and monstrosity. This approach will be employed to examine works of the Gothic (“il romanzo nero”) and Decadent periods in Italy in the second half of the nineteenth century, especially as an index of the social and political tension of post-unitary Italy. Several literary movements will be examined, for example, Scapigliatura, Decadentism, and Aestheticism for their narrative innovation and for their aesthetic and philosophical opposition to Romanticism. The course will explore both canonical and non-canonical texts of this period, examining the Italian Gothic as conversant with cornerstone European Gothic texts, such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and Edgar Allan Poe's Tales. Students will engage in an in-depth study of critical texts, designed to close the hermeneutical gap between nineteenth-century and contemporary conceptions of the Gothic and to equip them with a fundamental critical vocabulary. Themes such as rebellion, monstrosity, vampirism, (national) identity, consumption, and cannibalism will be examined as counter-cultural expressions and harbingers of (post-) industrialization, modernism, and the avant-garde.
This seminar will be comparative in critical orientation, offering an introduction to the modern Gothic novel in Europe and the United States with the goal of demonstrating the influential role that the Italian “romanzo nero," critically marginalized and excluded from canonical Gothic literature, played in developing the more renowned European Gothic aesthetic.
Primary Sources (partial list):
  • Cletto Arrighi. La scapigliatura e il sei febbraio. Roberto Fedi. Mursia: Milano, 1988. 
  • Ugo Tarchetti. Racconti fantastici, Fosca
  • Racconti neri della scapigliatura. Gilberto Finzi. Mondadori: Milano, 1980
  • Racconti fantastici di scrittori veristi. Monica Farnetti. Mursia: Milano, 1980.
  • Camillo Boito. Senso, Storielle vane. Milano: Garzanti, 1990
  • Collodi, Carlo. Note Gaie. “Pane e libri.” Ed. Giuseppe Rigutini. Firenze: R. Bemporad & Figlio, 1893. 185-90.
  • Collodi, Carlo. The Adventures of Pinocchio: Story of a Puppet. Trans. and ed. Nicolas J. Perella. Berkeley: UC Press, 2005.
  • Luigi Capuana. “Un vampiro”.
  • Alessandro Manzoni. The Betrothed.
  • Mary Shelley. Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus. 1818.  Reprint, New York: Heritage Press, 1934.
  • Bram Stoker. Dracula. Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism. Ed. John Paul
  • Riquelme. Bedford/St. Martin’s: New York, 2002. Print.
  • Bram Stoker. “The Dualitists or the Death Doom of the Double Born,” Best Ghost and Horror Stories. Ed. Dalby, Richard, Stefan Dziemianowicz and S. T. Joshi. Mineola: Dover Publications, 1997.
  • Cesare Lombroso. Nicole Hahn Rafter and Mary Gibson. Criminal Woman, the Prostitute, and the Normal Woman.
  • Wilde, Oscar. Complete Works of Oscar Wilde.  New York: Harper & Row, 1989.
  • Poe, Edgar Allan. Sixty-Seven Tales, One Complete Novel, and Thrity-One Poems. Minneapolis: Amaranth Press, 1985.
  • “The Poetic Principle.” In The Fall of the House of Usher and other Writings. David Galloway.  New York: Penguin, 1986.
  • D’Annunzio, Gabriele. Il piacere.  1889.  Reprint, Milan: Mondadori, 1976.
  • Huysmans, J. K. Against the Grain. 1884.  Reprint, New York: Dover, 1969.

Visualizing Race in (Post)colonial Italian Cinema

Professor Rhiannon N. Welch
Italian 674 (cross-listed with Program in Cinema Studies)
Th 4:30-7:10 PM

In a nation-state like Italy which, unlike Britain and France, did not experience the immigration of significant numbers of racially marked people until the 1980s, the racialized body has been relatively under-represented on the Italian screen. And yet, despite its rarity (particularly when compared to other national filmic traditions), racial representation in Italian cinema is as old as Italy’s cinematic tradition itself. This course will examine the representation of racialized bodies in a selection of narrative films produced in Italy over the course of the past century. Films are drawn from three historical thresholds that are critical to constructing the Italian racial imagination: 1) Fascist colonial conquest in Libya and East Africa; 2) “decolonization” in the post-WWII era and 3) contemporary responses to immigration. Our readings will be guided by critical works of early film theory on physiognomy and the face, feminist film theoretical works on the body and desire, as well as postcolonial film criticism on race. Some questions that will shape our inquiry are: what are the contours of Italy’s tradition of cinematic representations of race? What is unique about Italy’s brand of racial representation? How do racialized bodies relate to, complicate, or overlap with the sexualized or classed bodies? What are some of the collective fantasies engendered by Italian films about race? Instruction and readings in English; films in Italian (several without English subtitles).   
Films by: Giovanni Pastrone, Angela Ricci Lucchi and Yervant Gianikian, Augusto Genina, Mario Camerini, Roberto Rossellini, Michelangelo Antonioni, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Moustapha Akkad, Gabreiele Salvatores, Gianni Amelio, Marco Tullio Giordana, Emanuele Crialese, Moshen Melliti, Cristina Comencini, and Ermanno Olmi.  
Readings by: Béla Balázs, Walter Benjamin, Roberto Esposito, Richard Dyer, Teresa De Lauretis, Nicole Fleetwood, Tom Gunning, Laura Mulvey, Linda Williams, Paul Landau, Eleanor Hight and Gary Sampson.