Italian 121: Literature and Film

Instructor: Robert Rushing

This quarter, we will look at four different ways that literature and film might explore, analyze and challenge the world we live in, predominantly through the key of the fantastic: the city (Calvino’s Invisible Cities and The Great Beauty), the self (Strangers I Know and N-Capace), the environment (The Iguana and The Four Times), and lastly, what Italians call italianità or “Italianness,” focusing on contemporary Black Italian explorations of Italian identity (Scego’s novel Adua and the Netflix series Zero). What is unusual for a class on literature and film, however, is that none of these literary or cinematic texts is an adaptation of any of the others (indeed, only Zero is an adaptation from a literary source); one of the tasks of the class is not only to understand these beautiful and strange works of Italian imagination, but to also understand the “ideology of adaptation” that underpins the relationship between literature and film — why we usually assume cinematic adaptations are at best equal to their literary counterparts. A take-home midterm, occasional quizzes and one 5-7 page paper at the end of the class. No knowledge of Italian required.

TR 9:30-10:45  Royce 152