Graduate Courses, Spring 2010

Italian 539
Cracking the Code: Numerology and Literature

Prof. Kirkham

This course reconstructs traditions of Western number symbolism from antiquity (Plato, the Pythagoreans) to the early modern period with readings both in encyclopedic treatises on Arithmetic (Macrobius, Martianus Capella, Rhabanus Maurus) and in literary texts that are numerical compositions (Augustine's Confessions, Petrarch's epistle on the ascent of Mt. Ventoux, Dante's Vita Nuova and Commedia, Boccaccio's Diana's Hunt, the Old French Vie de St. Alexis, and Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose). Discussion will focus on numerology as it relates to the medieval esthetic of order, the literary text as microcosmic counterpart to God's macrocosm, veiled meaning, and "difficult" poetics. We shall also consider the end of the tradition and what changes in science and culture brought about the disappearance of number symbolism in literature, except for a few moderns (e. g. Thomas Mann). Cross-listed with COML 539.

Italian 586
Italian Women Directors

Prof. Benini

In Peter Bondanella' s book, "Italian Cinema, from Neorealism to the Present,"  only two Italian women directors are mentioned: Lina Wertmuller and Liliana Cavani. However, in recent years, the Italian cinema has generated a new wave of Italian women directors who have significantly made their mark on the national cinematic imagination. Francesca Archibugi, Roberta Torre, Cristina e Francesca Comencini, Antonietta De Lillo, Fiorella Infascelli, Anna Negri,Laura Muscardin among others, have established themselves as important voices of the last generation of Italian filmmakers in feature films, Angela Ricci Lucchi in the realm of non-fiction films and Alina Marazzi in the realm of documentary. In this course, we are going to explore their films, in connection to feminist and post-feminist culture in Italy, examining the originality of their approach and their relationships to the challenges offered by the advent of new technologies. The course will be taught in Italian.

Italian 601

Prof. Finotti

The perceptions of Time differ according to various societies, conceptions of history, religious and literary traditions. Literature not only inhabits Time, but forges it. The course will focus on representations and elaborations of time throughout the Italian culture from Dante to the XX Century. We will deal also with the theoretical issues connected with the relation between time and history. The course will be taught in Italian. Undergraduates need permission.