Graduate Courses, Spring 2013

Italian 581
L'italia e gli Italiani

Prof. Finotti
M 0200PM-0400PM

This course will investigate the birth of the idea of Italy, starting from its linguistic and cultural foundation, and will investigate its correlation with the supposed common identity of “Italians.” From culture to politics we will follow the transition of Italian myth to romantic patriotism and contemporary nationalism. And today - we will ask in conclusion - what is left of the “national” and “international” paradigm? Reading and lessons in Italian.  

Italian 584
Does Jewishness exist? The presence and influence of Jews in Italian Literature of Twentieth Century

Prof. Elkann
F 0200PM-0400PM

Description: The course will deal with the following books, Italo Svevo, "La coscienza di Zeno"; Alberto Moravia, "Gli indifferenti"; Giorgio Bassani, "Gli occhiali d'oro"; Primo Levi, "Se questo è un uomo"; Natalia Ginzburg, "Lessico famigliare"; Umberto Saba, "Scorciatoie e racconti. Il Canzoniere"; Alain Elkann, "Piazza Carignano"; Alessandro Piperno, Con le peggiori intenzioni". Lessons and readings in English.    

Italian 630
After Dante

Prof. Wallace
T 0900AM-1200PM

This necessarily experimental course will consider engagement with Dante by poets and artistes coming after him, particularly writers in English (but with openings to Comp Lit). The syllabus will be tailored to meet the needs and interests of folks attending the first class, or who express desiderata in anticipo. Experts in related fields may attend: Stuart Curran (Romantics) and Jean-Michel Rabaté (modernism) have already agreed to make guest appearances. We need not envisage a chronological trudge through the centuries, but topics and authors might include:

Chaucer, House of Fame; Troilus and Criseyde, Books I-III; “De Hugelino.”

slimmer pickings here, but a host of incidental references that could be pursued via Toynbee, and Boswell (see below), from Foxe, Actes and Monuments, to Milton, Paradise Lost.

Eighteenth century:
how Dante gets folded into anti-Catholic discourses post 1707; Voltaire’s anti-Dantism; Thomas Warton, Poet Laureate, on Dante’s “disgusting fooleries”; Dante as “A Methodist parson in Bedlam” (Horace Walpole).

early part-Englishings of the Commedia, and in 1802 the first full translation, by Irishman Henry Boyd. The first line-by-line translation by H.F.Cary (1814), endorsed by Coleridge and then Wordsworth, and carried by Keats in his knapsack.
Shelley, a brilliant Dantist: Triumph of Life (terza rima); A Defence of Poetry (1821)
Blake (as illustrator, more than as poet)

fondness for embellishing “scenes from Dante,” rather than grappling with the Commedia tout court. Tennyson, “Ulysses”; Arthur Hallam; Thomas Carlyle and the Brownings.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti: a turn to the Vita nuova and the cult of Beatrice.

Nineteenth-Century Americans:
Lorenzo da Ponte (1749-1838), born in a ghetto, Mozart’s librettist, later Professor of Italian at Columbia.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, complete translation (1867), with support of Charles Eliot Norton and James Russell Lowell, and the Harvard “Dante Club”; Fanny Appleton.
H. Cordelia Ray (Oxford-Schomburg Library of Nineteenth-Century Black Women Writers)

Ezra Pound (distantly related to Longfellow, devotee of Rossetti), Cantos.
T.S. Eliot: “Dante” (1929); Waste Land; “Little Gidding” (1942), etc.

Irish Dantes:
Yeats, a little (Pound served him as secretary, on and off, 1913-16).
Joyce, from Stephen Hero to Finnegans Wake; acquired a Vita nuova at Trieste.
Beckett, More Pricks than Kicks (1934); Happy Days?
Heaney, Field Work (“Lough Beg”), Station Island (“Lough Derg”), critical writings.

20th c.Caribbean and African-American Dantes:
Derek Walcott, Epitaph for the Young (1949); Omeros (1990)
Amiri Baraka, The System of Dante’s Hell (1965)
Gloria Naylor, Linden Hills (1985)
Eternal Kool Project, hiphop Inferno

Filmic and TV Dantes:
William B. Ramous, Francesca da Rimini (1907)
Henry Otto, Dante’s Inferno (1924)
Spencer Williams, Go Down, Death (1944, incorporating a 1911 Italian silent)
Peter Greenaway and Tom Phillips, TV Dante (1988/90)

Contemporary Dantes:
To include Caroline Bergvall, 48 Dante Variations

Participants will write one long essay, will have the opportunity to preview their work during the last two weeks of class, and may give class reports on their areas of expertise. This will be a collaborative effort; none of us can pretend to know all fields.

Class will be taught through parallel Italian-English texts, and it’s not utterly crucial we all follow the same edition (because the Italian text of the Commedia is remarkably stable; because variants in translating are themselves part of the interest).

There are many excellent translations to choose from. For a first investment, however, I would recommend Allan Mandelbaum in 3 vols, Bantam Classics, because: 1) he engages in a real poetic agon, but knows the Italian; 2) notes are helpful but not overpowering; 3) very cheap.

Also recommended:
Durling and Martinez (Oxford UP): excellent translating, super-scholarly notes
Robin Kirkpatrick (Penguin): brilliant, deeply-insider translating
Charles S. Singleton (Princeton UP): prose translation, the 6 vol Daddy of English Dantes

Very likely a required text:
Eric Griffiths and Matthew Reynolds, Dante in English (Penguin), anthology

Recklessly Select Bibliography:
Boswell, J.C., Dante’s Fame in England… 1477-1640 (1999)
Burwick and Douglas (eds), Dante and Italy in British Romanticism (2011)
Havely, N.R., ed., Dante’s Modern Afterlife (1998); Dante in the Nineteenth Century (2011)
Iannucci, I.A. (ed.), Dante, Cinema and Television (2004)
Looney, Dennis, Freedom Readers: the African-American Reception of Dante (2011)
Toynbee, Dante in English Literature… c. 1380-1844, 2 vols (1909)
Wallace, David, “Dante in English,” in Jacoff (ed.), Cambridge Companion to Dante


Prof. Poggi
R 0130PM-0330PM

F. T. Marinetti, poet and impresario, proclaimed the founding of Futurism in 1909 with an inflammatory manifesto published on the front page of Le Figaro in Paris.  He was soon joined by a group of artists, writers, musicians, architects, and theater designers, who hoped to wrench Italy out of its cultural and political passatismo.  This would be the first avant-garde movement to embrace all the arts, and to address both elite and mass audiences with the goal transforming Italy into a modern cultural, industrial, and militaristic power. This seminar will seek to understand the context in which Futurism emerged , and the interconnections it forged between bold avant-garde strategies and nationalist politics.  The movement is rife with apparent and real contradictions.  Among the questions we will ask are: How did Futurist innovations in the arts serve its political goals?  Why did the Futurists seek to create a new, "post-human" type?  How did the Futurists imagine the metropolis of the future?  What role did the machine play in their art?  Why did a number of prominent women participate in this "anti-feminist" movement? Did the Futurists support or resist the ideology of Fascism?  How did artists in other countries, including Russia, Argentina, and Britain, transform Futurism in constructing their own version of the movement?  Has Futurism continued to play a role in contemporary art?  Reading knowledge of Italian or French highly recommended.

Italian 690
Language Teaching/Learning

Prof. McMahon
W 0200PM-0400PM

This course is required of all Teaching Assistants in French, Italian, and Spanish in the second semester of their first year of teaching. It is designed to provide instructors with the necessary practical support to carry out their teaching responsibilities effectively, and builds on the practicum meetings held during the first semester. The course will also introduce students to various approaches to foreign language teaching as well as to current issues in second language acquisition. Students who have already had a similar course at another institution may be exempted upon consultation with the instructor.