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Cinema Around the World: The Crisis of Southern Italy in Literature, Art, and Film

ENGL 294.401
instructor(s):
MWF 2

Historically, there have been two "Italies": a wealthier and more European Italy north of Rome, and a poorer and more politically volatile Italy to Rome's south. Thus, Southern Italy -- or "il mezzogiorno" ("land of the midday sun") -- has always represented a space of crisis in the Italian imagination. This course will consider how both southern Italians (Verga, Deledda, Pirandello) and northern Italians (Gramsci, Visconti, Carlo Levi) have constructed the mezzogiorno and treated Italy's "Southern Question." We will also explore how Southern Italy figures in the work of foreign travelers (de Sta^?l, Goethe, Shelley) and in Italian-American authors and filmmakers (including Martin Scorsese and Pietro di Donato). Employing a variety of media and disciplinary perspectives, we will seek to illuminate the ways in which the culture and history of the mezzogiorno have influenced such phenomena as the Risorgmento, the Italian language question, the forging of Italian national identity, the creation of "regional" italian literary and cultural histories, and the establishment of the Southern-Italian diaspora in the Americas. In aesthetic terms, we will examine how artists and thinkers throughout the world have transformed the mezzogiorno into female, muse, myth, utopia, and dystopia.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS:
5-pg. midterm paper, 12-pg. final paper, and class presentation

TEXTS:
1. G. Verga, I malavoglia (selections)
2. G. Deledda (selections)
3. L. Pirandello (selections)
4. A. Gramsci, Prison Notebooks (selections)
5. C. Levi, Christ Stopped at Eboli
6. T. Lampedusa, The Leopard
7. P. Di Donato, Christ in Concrete
8. M. de Sta^?l, Corinne, or Italy (selections)
9. J. W. Goethe, Voyage to Italy (selections)
10. P. B. Shelley (selections)
11. L. Sciascia (novel)
12. N. Douglass, Old Calabria
13. P. Robb, Midnight in Sicily
14. F. Jovine (selections)

FILMS:
1. L. Visconti, Terra Trema
2. R. Rossellini, Voyage to Italy
3. L. Visconti, The Leopard
4. P. Germi, Divorce, Italy Style
5. F. Rosi, Christ Stopped at Eboli
6. M. Scorsese, Italian American and Godfather