Graduate Courses, Spring 2009

Italian 501 (cross listed: COML-503)
History and Language of Italy

Prof. Finotti

The course will explore the connections between Italian language and the political, social, cultural history of Italy. We will also address questions related to Nationhood, Emigration and Identity. Course open to undergraduates, under permission.

Italian 534 (cross listed: COML-534; GSOC-534)
Women in Poetry: From the Trobairitz to the Petrarchans

Prof. Kirkham

This course presents poetry by women and about women. The first half will trace a Romance lyric tradition from the 12th-c. Provencal troubadours and their female counterparts, the trobairitz, into the Sicilian School of the Duecento, the Tuscan Dolce Stil Novo, Dante’s early Stony Rhymes,” and Petrarch’s 14th-c. love poetry. The second half of the course will be dovoted to Renaissance lyric, when Petrarchism becomes a European fashion, producing numerous polyvocal anthologies, or “virtual salons.” We shall consider how Petrarch’s “Scattered Rhymes” undergo a transformation in Petrarchismo, why this literary mode makes possible a flowering of poetry by women, how the women adapt a first-person male lyric voice to their own purposes (as maiden, wife, widow, courtisan, virtuosa), and how they gain acceptance by the male establishment (e.g., Bembo, Della Casa, Michelangelo, Varchi, Bronzino, Cellini) in the art of poetry as “epistolary” exchange, or dialogue, linking members of a cultural community. Our female authors will include Vittoria Colonna, Chiara Matraini, Tullia d’Aragona, Isabella di Morra, Gaspara Stampa, Veronica Franco, and Laura Battiferra degli Ammannati. Their varying critical reception will raise larger questions: how do women enter a national literary history? Is their presence less stable than that of male authors? Do all-female canons reflect lines of literary influence or do they relegate women to a kind of virtual matroneum that segregates and diminishes the female voice? Undergraduates welcome, after prior consultation with instructor.

Italian 585 (cross listed: CINE-548)
Pasolini and Calvino

Prof. Benini

This course aims to examine the literary works of Italo Calvino and Pier Paolo Pasolini, together with Pasolini’s films, to debate the dynamics of the Italian Novecento through the increasingly divergent trajectories of these two authors, who were in a constant and critical dialogue throughout the years of their literary and cinematic careers. We will retrace two visions of the role of literature and culture, which point to two different legacies for the 21 st Century. In Italian.