Registration begins November 12, 2018 via Albert.
ITAL-GA 2165.001 Visions of Italy and America in Film
3:30PM-6:10PM, Mondays; Casa Italiana Library (Room 203)
Mary Ann Carolan
Same as EURO-GA 1156.002.
Italian cinema, which has given rise to movements such as neorealism, commedia all’italiana, and the spaghetti western, has provided the original material for adaptations by directors from other countries, notably those from the United States. The prevalence of American versions of Italian films is a measure of the artistic contribution of the Italian national cinema. In this course we analyze the phenomenon of adaptation and interpretation of Italian films from the postwar period until today. After a condensed review of more than 60 years of Italian cinematic history, we examine several American interpretations of Italian film classics. Garnett’s The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946), which was based upon James Cain’s eponymous novel, revisits Visconti’s Ossessione (1943). Neil Simon’s Sweet Charity (1966) re-tells Fellini’s tragic tale of Le notti di Cabiria (1957) against a more innocuous American backdrop. More subtle parallels are found between Neil LaBute’s Nurse Betty (2000) and Fellini’s Lo sciecco bianco (1956). Brian DePalma’s Blow Out (1981), starring John Travolta, maintains the premise of Antonioni’s art film Blow-Up (1966) while switching to the genre of detective film. Garry Marshall’s Overboard (1987) follows the outline of Wertmutller’s Travolti da un insolito destino nell'azzurro mare d’agosto/Swept Away (1974) while transforming the Italian dark comedy into a Hollywood romantic comedy. More recently, Lee Daniels’s Precious (2009) recalls the work of the neorealist master Vittorio DeSica as the author of the film (Two Women, 1960) within. We will also consider the successes and failures in artistic and commercial terms of American remakes of Italian originals such as The Last Kiss, Everybody’s Fine. These American reflections on Italian films are themselves dark mirrors that reflect the themes and assumptions of American film hegemony.
ITAL-GA 2312 Paradiso
12:30PM-3:15PM, Wednesdays; Casa Italiana Library (Room 203)
Same as COLIT-GA 3323.001, ENGL-GA 2271.001, EURO-GA 1156.001, MEDI-UA 2200
The final third of the Divine Comedy is its least user-friendly. T. S. Eliot charged this up to a certain modern prejudice against beatitude as material for poetry, since “our sweetest songs are those which sing of saddest thought.” Far less seductive than the Inferno and more abstract than the brightly-colored Purgatorio, the Paradiso has a reputation for being formidable, verbose and somehow irrelevant. All the more reason to study it together. It is simultaneously the most “medieval” part of Dante’s masterpiece, being rooted in historical and political upheavals of the moment and the most au courant philosophical debates coming out of Paris, as well as the most “modern,” radical and daring. Grounded in the necessity of happiness and the reality of evil, it is a reflection on the foundational ideals of a culture in constant tension with the world as it is. For this reason it can and has been studied from the perspectives of history, politics, philosophy, psychology, literature and art. The course will follow the trajectory of the Paradiso, delving into the questions it poses and the history it presupposes. Students are encouraged to investigate connections between Dante and their own research interests.
ITAL-GA 2331.001 Boccaccio
3:30PM-6:10PM, Tuesdays; Casa Italiana Library (Room 203)
Maria Luisa Ardizzone
Same as COLIT-GA 2965 & EURO-GA 1156.003.
This course is devoted to the reading of Boccaccio’s Decameron. Boccaccio (1313-1373) is the most important Italian prose writer, and the Decameron is his chef-d’oeuvre.
During the plague of 1348, seven young ladies and three young men decide to leave Florence and to go to live on the Fiesole’s hills. In the splendid framework of the 14th century Tuscan landscape, the “brigata” enjoys a natural life and spends its time in conversations interspersed with dancing and chanting. Every day during the hours in which the weather is hottest, they meet in a small wood and tell each other ten stories.
The book thus consists of one hundred stories, in which imagination and criticism of established values play a crucial role. These stories inaugurate a new way of considering human beings and their passions, goals, vices, and virtues.
This course will focus on the classical and medieval background of the Decameron and on the new elements of the culture of humanism which enter to interact and supersede the old models and ideas. This new sense of the past, a past revisited with a critical eye in order to build new ethical values for a new society, is one of the issues that will be introduced and discussed.
Among the topics considered in the course are: society, community, conversation, environment, nature, natural law, body, chastity, misogyny, eros, language, imagination, slavery, the Mediterranean, animality and sickness.
The course will also provide students with an avenue for investigating the problems of historical knowledge and guide them in developing critical tools and research skills. To that effect, the class discussion will focus on how to move from narrative to problems and from problems to narrative. Course given in English
ITAL-GA 2588 The Arts of Eloquence in Medieval & Renaissance Italy
3:30PM-6:10PM, Wednesdays; Casa Italiana Library (Room 203)
Same as MEDI-GA 2300, ENGL-GA 2270.002, HIST-GA 1981.001
Recent scholarship in medieval and early modern culture has increasingly stressed the centrality of the study of rhetoric in these periods and the range of its influence, not simply on literature but on everything from art, music, and architecture to political thought. This course serves as an introduction to medieval and early modern rhetoric in Italy, conceived of broadly as a global art of persuasive discourse, spanning both verbal and nonverbal uses.
See sample syllabus here.
ITAL-GA 2389.001 Year Zero: Neorealism
(Class # in Albert: 22897)
Mandatory Screens on Fridays 11:00AM-1:00PM
*January 31 2019-March 14 2019; 2 credits*
Casa Library, Room 203
View full website here.
Same as CINE-GT 1982.001.
Following the traumatic devastations of Fascism and the World War filmmakers such as Rossellini, Visconti, and De Sica (to cite only the most celebrated) offered the most immediate and most forceful responses to the Italy’s physical and moral collapse. Neorealism – in its various forms and inclinations, across media but most assertively in the cinema – has thus come to define the culture of reconstruction. It forged a vital myth of origins; it projected an image of Italy back to itself, inspiring a vision of unity and purpose in a period of transition. Yet some of neorealism’s most compelling expressions also betray tensions and contradictions that the seminar will examine closely: we will discuss historiographic approaches to neorealism, study both contemporary and later critical and theoretical responses, and pay particular attention to questions of film style, narrative and visual form, the use of locations, the joining of non-actor and star, the imprint of history. We will trace neorealism’s achievements, its influences, and its fallacies, juxtaposing key feature films with lesser-known works, including documentaries, newsreel, and shorts.
ITAL-GA 2389.002 Raccontare in breve. Da Parise e Calvino, libri composti attraverso il montaggio di prose autonome
(Class # in Albert: 21180)
12:30PM-1:45PM, Tuesdays & Thursdays
*March 26 2019-May 9; 2 credits*
Casa Italiana Library (Room 203)
This course will be dedicated to short narrative prose pieces, beginning with Goffredo Parise’s Syllabaries and Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, both published in 1972. These works are composed of brief prose pieces that deal with important themes: desire, love, adventure, friendship, animosity, cohabitation, death, etc. The pieces do so in relatively few lines, and—as many have noted—they have the feeling of a poem, or short story, or even a novel. And yet Parise—and even more so Calvino—felt compelled to enclose the pieces within a structure, to present them as parts of a whole.
We will read some of these texts, discussing the sense of completeness that they convey, while considering the way in which they contribute to the development of the larger narrative. We will also see how those books, conceived fifty years ago, still offer models for the many writers who have used the montage of short prose pieces texts to occupy a literary space that coincides neither with the short story collection, nor with the novel, and that remains to be defined.
Students will be required to participate actively in class discussions and to write a final paper of approximately ten pages. Class and readings in Italian.
Taught by the Italian Studies Department’s 2019 Writer in Residence, the best-selling Italian novelist Domenico Starnone, author of numerous works of fiction, including Ties, Trick, and Via Gemito, which won the prestigious Strega Prize in 2001.
ITAL-GA 2389.003 History & (mis)remembering of Fascism in Postwar Italy
(Class # in Albert #: 21181)
*March 28, 2019- May 9, 2019; 2 credits*
Casa Italiana Library, Room 203
View bio here.
The Course will consider the history of Fascism and its narration in Postwar Italian society and memory. Specific attention is paid to different representations of this political experience and phenomena in Cinema, Literature, Popular Culture, and to other forms of interpreting and memorizing the recent fascist past in democratic Italy, by social groups, intellectuals and ordinary people. Particular emphasis is given to the individual and collective memory, according to gender and generations of Italians since 1945, expressed by oral history, journals and unpublished testimonies. The course includes also a survey on places of fascist and WW2 memories, their identifications, and also the controversies around some of them, like the Mussolini’s birth place and grave. It will be also analyzed some forms of mis-memories, oblivions and justifications of the fascist past responsibility, traceable in national public history; concerning in particular colonialism, racism and antisemitism, and discrimination of people by religion, language or sexual behaviour. A comparison is also made with the public memory of Nazi and other fascist experiences in postwar European societies and states, mainly in the two Germanies, France and Spain. The course is addressed to students in Italian studies and in History. Most of the reading are in English, several of them in Italian. The knowledge of Italian is not required, but the students in Italian studies and the students in History who want to study more in depth Italian History and Culture will be invited to choose some recommended readings in Italian or in other languages. All participants will be invited to read an average of chapters and essays a week and to prepare short reviews and at least one full presentation. A final paper is required.
ITAL-GA 3030 Research Preparation in Italian Studies
12:30-3:15PM, Thursdays; Location: Casa Italiana
*Requires Department Consent to register. Contact Anne Wolff-Lawson (firstname.lastname@example.org) to register.*
ITAL-GA 2891 Guided Individual Reading
*Requires Department Consent to register. Contact Anne Wolff-Lawson (email@example.com) to register.*