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Sicily in Literature and Film

ENGL 292.402
instructor(s):
TR 10:30-12 Screenings M 4:30-7

Sicily has always occupied a privileged place in the Italian literary and cinematic imagination. While such writers as Pirandello, Sciascia, and Verga have created what can legitimately be called a distinctly Sicilian category of Italian literature, such filmmakers as Visconti, Rosi, and Tornatore have been drawn to the island as a space for cinematic experimentation and artistic self-discovery. From Visconti's l948 neorealist masterpiece La terra trema to Tornatore's l988 Oscar-winning Cinema Paradiso, from Verga's late ninteenth century short stories to Sciascia's Mafia-based thrillers, Sicily has become both a mythic space of the mind, as well as a signifier, in extremis for its own, and the rest of Italy's, social, political, and historical concerns. The course will involve close analysis of selected novels, short stories, and films with a specific focus on such issues as unification history, the Mafia, and social/sexual mores. Attendance at the Monday night screenings is required.

There will be three papers of at least 5 pages each, and a comprehensive final exam. Since the course will be conducted as a seminar, a great deal of emphasis will be placed on active class participation. The final grade will be computed as follows:

Papers: 60%
Exams: 20%
Class participation: 20%
Texts:

Elio Vittorini, Conversation in Sicily (Conversazione in Sicilia)
Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, The Leopard (Il gattopardo)
Luigi Pirandello, selected short stories
Vitaliano Brancati, Bell'Antonio
Leonardo Sciascia, To Each His Own (A ciascuno il suo)
Films:

Giuseppe Tornatore, Starmaker (L'uomo delle stelle)
Gianni Amelio, Stolen Children (Ladro di bambini)
Luchino Visconti, The Leopard
Pietro Germi, Divorce Italian Style (Divorzio all'italiana) Seduced and Abandoned (Sedotta e abandonata)
Franco Zeffirelli, Cavalleria rusticana
Vittorio and Paolo Taviani ,Kaos
Francis Ford Coppola, Godfather II
Lina Wertmuller,Seduction of Mimi (Mimi metallurgico ferito nell'onore)
Ricky Tognazzi, La scorta
Michelangelo Antonioni, L'avventura
Mauro Bolognini, Bell'Antonio