Graduate Courses, Spring 2011

Italian 581
Italian Women Writers

Prof. Benini

This course will explore women’s writing in Italy from Fascism to the 21st century, analyzing the works of novelists such as De Cespedes, Masino, Morante, Ortese, Ginzburg, Maraini, Bruck, Ferrante, Ramnazali Fazel, Parrella, and poets such as Pozzi, Campo, Spaziani, Rosselli, Merini, Lamarque, Insana, Tarozzi. Among the themes we will examine, we will consider the issue of “scrittura femminile,” autobiography, motherhood, gender relationships, madness, feminism and “pensiero della differenza” (the specific Italian articulation of feminist thought), and Italian translingual and postcolonial tradition. The course will be taught in Italian.

Course Materials/Textbooks for this course will be available at the Penn Book CENTER (130 S. 34th Street; (215) 222-7600).

Italian 588
Cinema and the Sister Arts

Prof. Kirkham

This course explores film as a pan-generic system constructed of other art forms. Ricciotto Canudo, in a classic taxonomy, calls it “the Seventh Art” (after the plastic arts Painting, Architecture, Sculpture, and the kinetic arts, Dance, Poetry, and Music). The interrelationships between film and its sister arts will be discussed 1) with respect to the historical emergence of cinema in the first decades of the 20th century as a new medium that evolved from antecedents in Old Master painting, photography, and (melo)drama; 2) as a reflection of an individual director's own style and programmatic choices (e.g., Visconti in his relationship with opera); 3) to consider how the conscious citation and appropriation of non-verbal narrative forms function emblematically to enhance cinematic meaning (e.g., embedded tableaux vivants that reproduce famous paintings; in musical commentary on a soundtrack; in the incorporation of folksongs to serve "realism"; in the use of dance as a metaphor for social interaction or sexual seduction). Emphasis will be on Italian cinema with occasional comparisons that draw on films and texts from other national cultures. Each week class discussion will focus on one film. Students will present a final class report on a film of their choice (with prior approval of instructor)and submit a final paper based on the report of 15-20 pp. Reading knowledge of Italian desirable but not required. Open to upper-level undergraduates and graduate students. No prerequisites.

Italian 601
Chivalric Literature

Prof. Finotti

The course will focus on Chivalric Literature from its origins to Italian Renaissance (Boiardo, Ariosto, Tasso). We will explore the formal and thematic characters of chivalric production and its relation with other traditions (religion, law) and non-verbal languages (such as art, music, architecture). The course will be taught in Italian. Undergraduates need permission.