Italian Department

Courses are conducted in Italian, except for Italian 175, 237, 238, 242, 250, 255, Medieval and Renaissance Studies 220.

Requirements for Concentration: 10 units including Italian 220, 222, or equivalent, 301. (One course, such as Anthropology 150, or Italian 250/255, may be counted in the required 10 units.)

Senior-Year Requirements: Italian 301 and 2 units of 300-level courses. Students who wish to be considered for departmental honors must also complete a Senior Project (Italian 300).

Recommendations: The department strongly recommends that students interested in the Junior Year in Italy begin the study of Italian in their freshman year. Majors in their junior year are encouraged to participate in Italy in the Eastern College Consortium in Bologna (ECCO).

Advisers: The department.

Correlate Sequence in Italian: Students majoring in other programs may elect a correlate sequence in Italian.

Requirements: 6 units chosen from the following: Italian 205, 206, 207, 217, 218, 220, 222, 260, 265, 301, 330, 331, 337, 338, 342, 380, 385, 386, 389. At least one course must be taken at the 300-level. All courses must be taken for the letter grade. Courses taken in Italy or during the summer may be substituted with department approval.

I. Introductory

105a. Elementary Italian (1)

Introduction to the essential structures of the language with emphasis on oral skills and reading. Reading and performance of a play by a contemporary author in the second semester. Supplementary material from "Andiamo in Italia", a web-based trip to Italy. The department.

Year long course 105-106.

Open to all classes; four 50-minute periods; one hour of drill and one hour of aural-oral practice. Electronic versions of required materials are not accepted.

106b. Elementary Italian (1)

Introduction to the essential structures of the language with emphasis on oral skills and reading. Reading and performance of a play by a contemporary author in the second semester. Supplementary material from "Andiamo in Italia", a web-based trip to Italy. The department.

Year long course 105-106.

Open to all classes; four 50-minute periods; one hour of drill and one hour of aural-oral practice. Electronic versions of required materials are not accepted.

107. a and b. Intensive Elementary Italian (2)

A single-semester equivalent of Italian 105-106. Ms. Blumenfled (a). Mr. Giusti (b).

Open to all classes; four 75-minute periods; one hour of drill and one hour of aural-oral practice. Supplementary material from Andiamo in Italia, a web-based trip to Italy. Electronic versions of required materials are not accepted.

Permission of the Instructor

175a. The Italian Renaissance in English Translation (1)

A survey of the masterworks: Petrarch's Canzoniere and Letters, Boccaccio'sDecameron, poems and letters by women humanists, Machiavelli's Prince and La Mandragola, Castiglione's Book of the Courtier, Gaspara Stampa's and Veronica Franco's poems, and Tullia d'Aragona's Dialogue. Mr. Giusti.

May not be counted towards the Italian major. Satisfies college requirement for a Freshman Writing Seminar.

177. Freshman Writing Course: Italy and the Modern Self: Malady, Masks and Madness (1)

This course analyzes different definitions of illness, or malady, indifference, and madness in the works of Italian authors of the early twentieth century. Frequently employed as metaphors for the condition of the artist and intellectual in modern society, these ideas contribute to redefine the notion of self in a country increasingly concerned with progress and modernization while still looking to the past in search of a national identity. Masquerading and acting easily become analogies for a divided self and for the loss of certainties characterizing the human condition in the context of modernity. Readings by Luigi Pirandello, Italo Svevo, Alberto Moravia and others. Ms. Bondavalli.

Not offered in 2011/12.

181a. With Dante in Hell (1)

Where is Hell? Who goes there? Why? Is it organized? How can a poet know so much about it? We read the Inferno in the context of Italy in the Middle Ages. Topics include: political persecution and expulsion, the reciprocal imitation of Empire and Church, the interaction of desire, deceit, and violence, the dialogue of the classical past and the chaotic present, proto-capitalism and radical religious poverty. There are also selected readings from some of Dante’s sources, parallel texts, and critical responses to the poem from the fourteenth-century to the present. Using a bilingual edition, we read the poem in translation with a glance at the original Italian. There are brief weekly writing assignments. Mr. Ahern.

May not be counted towards the Italian major. Satisfies the college requirement for a Freshman Writing Seminar.

II. Intermediate

205. a and b. Intermediate Italian I (1)

Narration in popular culture, literature, and film. Analysis of folktales, short stories, and a contemporary feature film. Strong emphasis on effective oral expression. Formal study of grammar. Successful completion of this course provides a suitable background for other 200-level courses. The department.

Two 75-minute periods and one hour of conversation. Electronic versions of required materials are not accepted.

Prerequisite: Italian 105-106, 107 or permission of the instructor.

206b. Intermediate Italian II (1)

Advanced formal study of grammar, with strong emphasis on expansion of vocabulary, complex linguistic structures, the use of dialect. Through analysis and discussion of strategies of representation in a contemporary novel and a film, students develop writing skills and effective oral expression. Ms. Bondavalli.

Two 75-minute periods and one hour of conversation.

Prerequisite: Italian 205 or permission of the instructor. Electronic versions of required materials are not accepted.

217. Advanced Composition and Oral Expression (1)

Development of oral and written skills through extensive conversation and essay writing. The course makes use of a variety of "texts" available in traditional formats (books, magazines, journals, films), as well as web-based materials. The topics covered are in the area of contemporary issues, with emphasis on cultural and socio-political phenomena.

Topic for 2011/12a: The Making of Contemporary Italy. Designed for students at the upper-intermediate and advanced levels who wish to improve their oral and written expression skills, this course offers an overview of Italian society as it has been the Resistance, the economic boom, 1968, the end of the Cold War, immigration, and the changes in race and gender relations throughout the century. Parallel readings of historical, literary and cinematic texts are the sources for class discussion, extensive writing practice and student presentations. Review of advanced grammar will be conducted in context. Ms. Bondavalli.

Two 75-minute meetings.

Prerequisite: Italian 206 or special permission.

218a. Giorgio Bassani's Garden of the Finzi-Contini (1)

Bassani's novel is the story of the decadence of a Jewish family, from the proclamation of the Mussolini's Racial Laws in 1938, to the deportation of Italian Jews to Nazi death-camps in 1943, to the present of the narrator some 15 years later. Through social, historical, intellectual contextualizations, we engage in extensive linguistic, literary, and aesthetic analysis. Particular attention is devoted to the development of oral and written skills. Individual and group multi-media projects. Ms. Blumenfeld.

Prerequisite: Italian 206, 207, 217 or special permission.

220b. Italian Civilization: Interpreting the Texts (1)

From the origin of the Italian language to the masterpieces of the Renaissance. Selected texts from the "Dolce stil nuovo" and Dante's Vita nuova; Petrarch'sCanzoniere and Italian Humanism; Boccaccio's Decameron and the "novella" tradition; Ariosto, and the Italian epic; Machiavelli, Castiglione, Bembo on politics and ideology; Michelangelo, Stampa, Franco on gender in literature. Mr. Giusti.

Prerequisite: Italian 217, 218 or permission of the instructor.

222. Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Italian Culture (1)

Italian Cinema and Society: Contemporary Italy. An analysis of the transformation of Italian society in the second half of the twentieth century through its cinematic representation: the impact of capitalism and American culture, political protest, terrorism, the crisis of Communism, the influence of TV culture, and the question of national identity. The viewing and discussion of films is accompanied by critical readings. Movies by Moretti, Capuano, Garrone, Bellocchio, Giordana, and others. The course is taught in Italian. Films in Italian with English subtitles. Ms. Bondavalli.

Prerequisite: Italian 217, 218 or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2011/12.

237. Dante's Divine Comedy in Translation (1)

A close reading of the entire Comedy in its historical, philosophical, theological, and literary contexts. Conducted in English. Mr. Ahern.

Open to all classes. Italian majors see Italian 337.

238. Dante's Divine Comedy in Translation (1)

241. Modern & Postmodern Italy (1)

242. Boccaccio's Decameron in Translation: The "Novella" as Microcosm (1)

A close reading of the one hundred tales with emphasis on social, cultural, and gender issues of the later Middle Ages. Reference is made to classical sources (Ovid, Petronius, Apuleius), the French Fabliaux, and Courtly Literature. The course also analyzes contemporary rewritings of the text in different genres and media. Conducted in English. Mr. Giusti.

Open to all classes. Italian majors see Italian 342.

Two 75-minute meetings.

250. Italian Cinema in English (1)

Cultural, ideological, and aesthetic issues in the history of Italian cinema from neo-realism to contemporary auteurs. Ms. Blumenfeld.

Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors. May be counted towards the Italian major.

One 3-hour meeting and one film screening.

255. Four Italian Filmmakers (in English) (1)

Close analysis of the narrative and visual styles of Michelangelo Antonioni, Bernardo Bertolucci, Lina Wertmüller, Gianni Amelio and Nanni Moretti, in the context of post war Italian cinema and culture. Theoretical literature on these directors and on approaches to the interpretation of cinematic works aid us in addressing questions of style and of political and social significance. Ms. Blumenfeld.

No prerequisites.

Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors. May be counted towards the Italian major.

Two 75-minute meetings and two film screenings.

282. Italian Fictions (1)

Analysis of short fiction and a film. Practice in spoken and written Italian. Advanced Grammar review. Mr. Ahern.

Prerequisite: Italian 205 or permission of the instructor.

One two hour class and one hour of conversation.

290a or b. Field Work (1/2 or 1)

297. Reading Course (1/2)

297.01. Reading Course. Topics in Seventeenth Century.

297.02. Reading Course. Topics in Eighteenth Century.

297.03. Reading Course. Topics in Nineteenth Century.

The department.

298a or b. Independent Work (1/2 or 1)

III. Advanced

301b. Senior Seminar (1)

An examination of selected topics in recent Italian culture or of a single topic across several centuries. May be taken more than once for credit when topic changes. Required of all senior majors.

Topic for 2011/12b: Fictions of Youth: Youth Culture in 20th Century Italian Literature. The course examines the relationship between youth and literature in post-WWII Italy from two perspectives: young people as a literary subject, as protagonists of fiction and essays, and as authors. The two aspects intersects in various ways and are deeply connected to the increased visibility of young people on the political and cultural scene in what was defined "the century of youth". Using the Bildungsromas as a narrative model for the representation of youth in modern fiction, we examine the different ways in which European and American coming-of-age novels influence 20th century Italian literature. The significance of youth in Italian society, the construction of a generational identity through media and popular culture, the creation of a new literary language are some of the topics we will address. Readings by Pasolini, Moravia, Tondelli, Brizzi, Santacroce, and others. Ms. Bondavalli.

One 2-hr period.

302a. Senior Project (1/2)

Year-long course (302-303). The department.

303b. Senior Project (1/2)

Year-long course (302-303). The department.

304b. Senior Project (1)

Semester-long course. The department.

331. The Italian Renaissance: The Italian Epic Tradition from 1300 - 1600 (1)

A study of the epic tradition from the early Carolingian cantari and Arthurian romances of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries to the leading Italian epics of the sixteenth century written at the Ferrara Renaissance court and their great influence on later literature, music, and paintings. Readings include selections from the Chanson de Roland and the Roman de Tristan, Pulci's Morgante, Bolardo's Orlando Innamorato, Ariosto's Orlando furioso, Torquato Tasso's Gerusalemme liberata, and Italo Calvino's parody Il cavaliere inesistente, as a contemporary reference to the traditional epic poetry. This book, epitomizing Calvino's long interest in the epic poem, provides a good basis for analyzing the archetypal character of Roland, his stoic and ascetic demeanor, and his transformation through the centuries until he becomes indeed "nonexistent." Ms. Antognini

Prerequisite: Italian 220, 222 or 218 with the permission of the instructor.

338. Dante's Divine Comedy (1)

A close reading of the entire Comedy in its historical, philosophical, theological, and literary contexts. Designed for Italian majors in their senior year. Conducted in Italian. Mr. Ahern.

Prerequisite: Italian 220, 222 or 218 with the permission of the instructor.

342a. Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron: The "Novella" as a Microcosm (1)

Designed for Italian majors and correlates in their junior and senior year. Students in this course attend the same lectures as in Italian 242, but do the readings in the original, attend a separate discussion class, and take separate exams. Mr. Giusti.

Prerequisite: Italian 220, 222 or 218 with the permission of the instructor.

380. Modernity in Italy. Il Primo Novecento (1)

The notion of modernity in Italian literature and culture, with particular attention to its manifestation in the twentieth century. We focus on the first half of the century and consider the impact of urban life, war, Fascism, and economic growth on literary creation and its aesthetic and social function. We read poetry, fiction, drama, and theoretical texts and analyze how the ideas of newness, progress, change, revolution, and avant-garde, are defined, expressed and questioned in works by Marinetti, Gozzano, Palazzeschi, Pirandello, Svevo, Vittorini and others. Ms. Bondavalli.

Prerequisite: Italian 220, 222 or 218 with the permission of the instructor.

381. Gender Effects: Women in Italian Cinema (1)

Through analysis of various filmic portrayals of the female body, narratives of female subjectivity, articulations of female desire, and experiments with female and feminist agency, we raise questions about female characters in Italian cinema, and the gendering significance of formal cinematic features. We study such films as Pier Paolo Pasolini's Mamma Roma, Federico Fellini's City of Women, Lina Wertmüller'sLove and Anarchy, Bernardo Bertolucci's Besieged, Pappi Corsicato's Libera. Readings of pertinent works from feminist film theory in English and Italian. Ms. Blumenfeld.

Prerequisite: Italian 220, 222 or 218 with the permission of the instructor.

385. Three Contemporary Women Writers: Dacia Maraini, Rossana Campo, Liana Borghi (1)

This course explores new literary styles that reflect the new freedoms of contemporary Italian women and women writers. We study the texts of these writers from the 1970s to 1990s, from the early days of feminist activism, to recent transformations in literature and politics, asking whether postmodernism leads to the de-ideologization of feminism. Ms. Blumenfeld.

Prerequisite: Italian 220, 222 or 218 with the permission of the instructor.

387. The 20th Century Italian Novel (1)

Topic for 2011/12b: The Arts and the Spiritual is a survey of Italian art, music and folklore. In the course we introduce concepts such as spirituality, symbolism, esotericism, mystery and devotion. We analyze a wide range of subjects such as fable and tales by Italo Calvino and Carlo Collodi (Pinocchio), paintings by Giotto and Botticelli, folk traditions such as the Palio of Siena and the Apulian tarantella, and the symbolism of Renaissance gardens. The course has a performative component associated to several of its topics. Ms. Biagi.

Prerequisites: Italian 220, 222 or 218.

One 2-hour period.

389. The Impossible Task of Translating:An Introduction of Literary Translation from Italian to English (1)

Whether translation between two languages is at all possible is a question as old as translating itself, but no matter how many answers have been given, the truth of the matter remains that we have always translated and we will continue to do so. Translation studies have flourished in the last few years and literary translation is more and more considered a creative undertaking rather than an unoriginal and quite tedious activity. Given the intrinsic bilingualism of the foreign literature classroom, translation is particularly intertwined with teaching and learning and becomes an integral part of the course. As a result, many students choose to complete their B.A. in Italian with a literary translation. Translating is above all a decision process-- careful interpretation and intelligent notation-- and as such it requires passion, accuracy, careful attention to details, together with a knowledge and understanding of both the source and the target language and culture. This course aims to give students of Italian some insight into the field --historical and theoretical--as well as a solid grasp of the tools required to be a literary translator. While analyzing different translation strategies and doing practical exercises, such as contrasting and comparing different versions of the same source text, students will devote time to studying not only Italian grammar but also English. By the end of the semester, they will produce a final original translation, accompanied by a "translation diary" , a metatextual description of the problems encountered during their work. Our theoretical background will be Umberto Eco's considerations on translating, both as a writer and as a translator.

Ms. Antognini.

Prerequisite: Italian 220, 222 or 218 with permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2011/12.

399a or b. Senior Independent Work (1/2 or 1)