Graduate Courses, Fall 2004

Italian 631
Dante's Commedia

Prof. Brownlee
W 2:00-5:00

A close reading of the Inferno, Purgatorio and the Paradiso which focuses on a series of interrelated problems raised by the poem: authority, representation, history, politics, and language. Particular attention will be given to Dante's use of Classical and Christian model texts: Ovid's Metamorphoses, Virgil's Aeneid, and the Bible. Dante's rewritings of model authors will also be studied in the context of the medieval Italian and Provençal love lyric. The course will be taught in English and cross-listed with Comparative Literature. Students taking it for Italian crediit will do the readings and written assignments in Italian.

Italian 640
Love and Anger in the Ideal City

Prof. Cracolici
R 2:00-5:00

This course seeks to explore the interplay between passions and the production of culture in early modern Italy. Love and anger are both taken here as troublesome emotions. Their mutual combination, as well as their relation to other disruptive passions, such as melancholy, jealousy, envy, and pride, will serve as the point of departure for a comparative investigation on the representational power of both the written and the visual arts in developing gestural and rhetorical conventions about different discourses on the passions. The underlying rationale of these discourses is certainly bound up with the stoic advocacy of detachment and freedom from disturbance—an ethical engagement that recurs not only in poetry and art, but also in writings on medicine, politics, and architecture as the ideal condition for dwelling in the ideal city. In the intellectual arena of the time, however, this ethical engagement is often challenged by an equivalent and thus paradoxical commitment towards the emotional life. This ambivalent approach occasions anxiety for both the defender of detachment and the defender of the emotions.

This course investigates precisely this formal and conceptual anxiety and how it was subsequently handled in the European reception of Italian satirical and sentimental writings. Two contrasting models of the relationship between art and the emotions will lead the discussions—art as a taming device against passion, and passion as the source of artistic inspiration. Apart from a thorough examination of medical, literary, and artistic material, we will also engage in recent debates in philosophy (De Sousa, Nussbaum, Bodei) as well as in anthropology (Turner, Myers, Lutz). Among the authors and artists who may be considered for the final research project are Alberti, Valla, Ficino, Piccolomini, Poliziano, Leonardo, Machiavelli, Michelangelo, Dürer, Brandt, de Rojas, Vives, Erasmus, Ariosto, Dossi, Rabelais, Cardano, Titian, Montaigne, and Caravaggio.

Italian 684
Twentieth-Century Novel

Prof. Marcus
M 2:00-5:00

No literary form is better suited to gauging the convulsive changes wrought by Italy's entrance into modernity than the novel. Infinitely permeable to the forces of historical circumstance, the novel will counter these external forces with its own version of the evolving Italian subject in all its personal richness and complexity. We will study the evolution of this literary genre throughout the course of the twentieth century and, in the process, will adopt a variety of approaches, including, but not limited to, semiotics, psychoanalysis, narratology, gender, ideological criticism, and "la questione della lingua."

The following is a tentative reading list:
Moravia, Alberto, Gli indifferenti
Sciascia, Leonardo, A ciascuno il suo
Svevo, Italo, La coscienza di Zeno
Vittorini, Elio, Conversazione in Sicilia, Biblioteca Universale
Pirandello, Luigi, I quaderni di Serafino Gubbio operatore
Pavese, Cesare, La luna e i falo'
Morante, Elsa, La Storia
Lampedusa, Giuseppe Tomasi, Il gattopardo
Bassani, Giorgio, Il giardino dei Finzi-Contini
Tabucchi, Antonio, Sostiene Pereira