Italian Department

Professor: John Ahern (Director, Eastern Colleges Consortium in Bolognab); Associate Professors: Rodica Diaconescu-Blumenfeld (Chair), Eugenio Giusti; Assistant Professor: Roberta Antognini (Director, Eastern Colleges Consortium in Bolognaa); Visiting Assistant Professors: Simona Bondavalli, Maria A. Nicolettia.

a Absent on leave, first semester.

b Absent on leave, second semester.

Courses are conducted in Italian, except for Italian 175, 237, 238, 242, 250, 255. Medieval and Renaissance Studies 220, or a course in Linguistics, such as Anthropology 150, may be counted in the required 10 units.

Requirements for Concentration: 10 units including Italian 220 or equivalent, 301.

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: Summer study at the Vassar program in Siena. 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 Colleges 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, 220, 260, 265, 270, 301, 330, 331, 337, 338. 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-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.

Open to all classes; four 50-minute periods; one hour of drill and one hour of aural-oral practice.

107b. Intensive Elementary Italian -2

A single-semester equivalent of Italian 105-106. Ms. Antognini.

Open to all classes; four 75-minute periods; one hour of drill and one hour of aural-oral practice or videolab.

[175b. The Italian Renaissance in English Translation] -1

A survey of the masterworks: Dante’s Vita Nuova, Petrarch’s Canzoniere, Boccaccio’s Decameron, Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier, Machiavelli’s Mandragola, and Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso. Mr. Giusti.

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

Not offered in 2005/06.

II. Intermediate

205a. Intermediate Italian I -1

Narration in popular culture, literature, and film. Analysis of folktales, short stories, and Gabriele Salvatores’ film Marrakech Express. 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.

206b. Intermediate Italian II (1)

Italy today: the image in the Italian media. Analysis and discussion of strategies of representation in newspapers (La Repubblica, Corriere della Sera), magazines (Espresso), television and radio, advertisements, cinema, and the Internet. Formal study of grammar. Strong emphasis on effective oral expression. Ms. Blumenfeld.

Two 75-minute periods and one hour of conversation.

Prerequisite: Italian 205 or permission of instructor.

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’s Canzoniere 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 205 or special permission of instructor.

[237b, 238a. 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 337-338.

Not offered in 2005/06.

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.

[250a. Italian Cinema in English] (1)

For description see Italian 260a.

Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors.

May not be counted towards the Italian major.

Two 75-minute meetings and one film ­screening.

Not offered in 2005/06.

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

For description see Italian 265. Ms. Blumenfeld.

No prerequisites. Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors.

May not be counted towards the Italian major

Two 75-minute meetings and two film screenings.

[260a. Italian Cinema] -1

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

Prerequisite: Italian 205 or the equivalent.

Three 75-minute meetings and one film screening.

Not offered in 2005/06.

265a. Four Italian Filmmakers (1)

Close analysis of the narrative and visual styles of Federico Fellini, Michelangelo Antonioni, Bernardo Bertolucci and Lina Wertmüller. Ms. Blumenfeld.

Three 75-minute meetings and two film screenings.

Prerequisite: Italian 205 or the equivalent.

270a. 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. Ms. Bondavalli.

Two 75-minute meetings.

Prerequisite: Italian 206 or 220 or 221 or 222 or the equivalent.

290 Field Work (1⁄2 or 1)

297.01. Reading Course in Boccaccio (1⁄2)

The department.

297.02. Reading Course in Verga (1⁄2)

The department.

297.03. Reading Course in Svevo (1⁄2)

The department.

297.04. Reading Course in Modern Italian Theater (1⁄2)

The department.

297.05. Reading Course in the Modern Italian Novel (1⁄2)

The department.

298 Independent Work (1⁄2 or 1)

III. Advanced

Prerequisite for all advanced courses: 2 units at the 200-level or by permission.

300a. Senior Project (1)

The department.

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 2005/06: Petrarch’s Letters: Inventing Autobiography. Together with Dante and Boccaccio, Petrarch is considered one of the three “crowns” of Italian literature. His influence on European poetry has been immense. He is also considered the father of Humanism, the intellectual movement that preceded Renaissance. Together with the poems, his most remarkable works are his collections of Latin epistles, where he recounts the story of his life in a sequence of letters, a highly original undertaking. Texts read include the Familiares, his main collection of letters, and selections from other works: the Canzoniere, the Seniles, the Posteritati, the Epystole, the Secretum. Latin texts are read in Italian translation. Ms. Antognini.

Prerequisite: Italian 220 or equivalent

[330. The Italian Renaissance: The Italian Epic Tradition from 1300 to 1600] (1)

A study of the epic tradition from Medieval romances of chivalry and the “cantari” to the great epic poems of the Renaissance. Texts studied include: Pulci’s Morgante, Boiardo’s Orlando innamorato, Ariosto’s Orlando furioso, Torquato Tasso’s Gerusalemme liberata, Tassoni’s Secchia rapita, and Marino’s Adone. We also examine the canons of the heroic poem in sixteenth-century. Ms. Antognini.

Prerequisites: Italian 220 or the equivalent.

Not offered in 2005/06.

[331. The Italian Renaissance: Poetry, Theater, Politics, and Ideology] (1)

A study of ethnic, religious, and sexual otherness as represented in classical Renaissance texts. Selected readings of Michelangelo, Gaspara Stampa, Veronica Franco (poetry); Ariosto, Machiavelli, Aretino (theatre); Colombo, Vespucci, Castiglione, and Della Casa (politics and ideology). Mr. Giusti.

Prerequisites: Italian 220 or 221 or 222 or the equivalent.

Not offered in 2005/06.

[337b., 338a. 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. Students in this course attend the same lectures as in Italian 237, 238, but do the reading in the original, attend a separate discussion class, and take separate exams. Mr. Ahern.

Not offered in 2005/06.

342 Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron: The “Novella” as a Microcosm (1)

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 or the equivalent.

[381a. 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 Pasolini’s Mamma Roma, Fellini’s City of Women, Wertmüller’s Love and Anarchy, and the more recent Un’anima divisa in due by Soldini and Beseiged by Bertolucci. Readings of pertinent works from feminist film theory in English and Italian. Ms. Blumenfeld.

Prerequisite: Italian 220 or the equivalent.

Not offered in 2005/06.

384a. Opera in Italian Culture (1)

An examination of the role played by opera in Italian culture from the mid-Eighteenth century through the early Twentieth century. Operas by Metastasio, Mozart, Rossini, Donizetti, Bellini, Verdi, and Puccini are studied in their libretti and video versions. Students attend a live performance in New York. Topics studied include: Opera buffa and seria. Romanticism, the Risorgimento, Verismo and Decadentismo with particular attention given to the roles played by women. Mr. Ahern.

Prerequisite: Italian 220 or equivalent.

388b. 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 or equivalent

399 Senior Independent Work (1⁄2 or 1)

Eastern Colleges Consortium Program in Bologna

Vassar College, Wellesley College, and Wesleyan University offer a study abroad program at the Università di Bologna in Italy. The program is committed to high academic standards and to providing opportunities for students to develop their knowledge of the Italian language and culture in one of the most venerable and prestigious academic environments in Europe. Undergraduates wishing to study humanities and social sciences may enroll for the fall or spring semesters or for the full academic year. Students who enroll for the full year or for the spring semester and who have at least an intermediate knowledge of Italian will complete two regular university courses at the Università di Bologna, as well as take courses in language and Italian studies offered by the program. The program accepts no more than 35 students from consortium institutions and from other colleges and universities.