Course description:

In this seminar-style course (taught in Italian), we will analyze modern Italian travel writing. The authors considered – cfrom early twentieth century playwright and novelist Luigi Pirandello to postmodern authors Italo Calvino and Antonio Tabucchi – write about travel to everyday places such as work and home, dream-like journeys to India, and imaginary travels to “invisible cities.” Some of the questions we will consider are: is travel always about moving from one place to another? How is travel linked to the process of writing and/or reading? Do we read/write in order to travel, or do we travel in order to read/write? How does travel change our understanding of “home”? Is there such thing as an “Italian” perspective on travel?

Authors to include: Luigi Pirandello, Elio Vittorini, Italo Calvino, Carlo Levi, Pier Paolo Pasolini and Antonio Tabucchi.

Learning goals:

The goal of the course is to continue to develop students’ knowledge of Italian language and culture through the reading of literary texts in Italian, in-class discussion, independent research, and written work (papers, exams). By the end of the course, students will have a working understanding of the political and historical contexts of twentieth-century Italy, an introduction to theoretical and philosophical approaches to travel literature, as well as a deeper understanding of a selection of critically acclaimed modern Italian literature. 

Departmental Goals II and III: Cultural Proficiency and Professional Preparation.

Required texts:

Italo Calvino, Città invisibili (1972)

Elio Vittorini, Conversazione in Sicilia (1941)

Pier Paolo Pasolini, L’odore dell’India (1961)

Antonio Tabucchi, Notturno indiano (1984)

Course reader to contain:

Luigi Pirandello, “Il treno ha fischiato,” Novelle per un anno (1914)

Carlo Levi, “L’Italia e il treno,” Le mille patrie; “La prima immagine infantile del treno”; “L’automobile,” Le tracce della memoria (ca. 1950-1970)

Course Requirements and Grade distribution:

Participation: 30% Active participation in daily class discussions required. Students will also be responsible for generating discussion questions (up to 5 total per student per semester).

Two papers: 40% Two 3-4 page close-reading essays.

Midterm exam: 15% Short response, identification, and essay questions on first half of course materials.

End of semester exam: 15% Short response, identification, and essay questions on second half of course materials.