WesMaps - Wesleyan University Catalog 2020-2021       Summer Session       Winter Session       Home       Archive       Search
Italian Filmmaking by the Book: Adaptations, Texts, and Contexts
ITAL 249
Spring 2021
Section: 01  

This course explores the adaptations and transformations of Italian literary texts into their cinematic and televisual counterparts. We will principally study Italian narratives from the 20th and 21st centuries and their screen adaptations as a way of uncovering the modes and means by which Italian screen culture borrows from literary antecedents. Is the relation between literary texts and their screen adaptations a love story or bad romance? Is it characterized by a "faithfulness" to the text or a "betrayal"? Throughout the semester, students will acquire an enriched understanding of the assorted texts and their contexts by studying varied genres (short fiction, novels, nonfiction, detective stories), a variety of themes (crimes both real and imagined, petty and powerful; historical revisionism; personal and political dilemmas), and diverse geographical settings focusing principally on Southern Italy (including cities and islands reaching from the Mediterranean to the Adriatic).

All students in the course will study a common core of five author/director pairs. The core consists of "Il Gattopardo" (di Lampedusa/Visconti); "Io non ho paura" (Ammaniti/Salvatores); "L'amica geniale" (Ferrante/Costanzo); "Gomorra" (Saviano/Garrone/Sollima); and "Novelle per un anno/Caos" (Pirandello/Taviani). Additionally, students will, in consultation with the instructor, choose a sixth pairing from the list of the following titles, which will serve as the basis of their end-semester presentation as well as an element of the oral final exam: "Il giorno della civetta" (Sciascia/Damiani); "Il contesto/Cadaveri eccellenti" (Sciascia/ Rosi); "I Malavoglia/La terra trema" (Verga/Visconti); "Padre Padrone" (Ledda/Taviani); "Quo vadis, baby?" (Verasani/Salvatores); "Acciaio" (Avallone/Mordini); "Il conformista" (Moravia/Bertolucci); "Todo modo" (Sciascia/Petri); "Minchia di re/Viola di mare" (Pilati/Maiorca); "Benzina" (Stancanelli/Stambrini); "Il padrino" (Puzo/Coppola); "La tregua" (Levi/Rosi); and "Le forme dell'acqua" (Camilleri/Sironi). Students may also care to consider literary texts from earlier historical periods: Basile's 16th-century "Il cunto de li cunti/Il racconto dei racconti" (Garrone) and Collodi's 19th-century "Pinnochio" (with adaptations by Disney, Benigni, and Garrone). This course will be conducted in Italian. This course is appropriate for all students who have completed ITAL 112 or whose placement exam indicated a course numbered ITAL 221 or higher.

This course will be offered in a hybrid mode, both online and in person, accepting students on campus only. Unless the public health circumstances change, the course will be held online until the weather permits outside class meetings (probably the end of March or the beginning of April), when we will meet in one of the outdoor covered spaces on campus. Finally, for the duration of the semester (from February to May), one class meeting per week will be online. The specific day will be announced at the beginning of the semester. It is possible that the class will be divided into two groups, each meeting with the professor once weekly, and together once weekly. We will determine whether this will happen once the composition of the class is known.

Students are encouraged to put the lengthened winter break to good purpose. All students are expected to read the first book of Ferrante's Neapolitan quartet, "L'amica geniale," during the winter break. It is a long novel, but students will find that the Italian is not challenging. Any edition in Italian will be fine (e.g., electronic, print, used, etc.). Reading in advance of the semester will facilitate students' workload as well as keep Italian flowing during the lengthy pause. It is further greatly recommended that students read di Lampedusa's "Il Gattopardo" in advance of the semester. If students have already taken an Italian course numbered 221 or higher, or have already studied in Italian, it is recommended that they read "Il Gattopardo" in Italian. Any edition will serve.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA RLAN
Course Format: Lecture / DiscussionGrading Mode: Student Option
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: ITAL112
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (ITST)(RMST)
Past Enrollment Probability: 90% or above

Last Updated on JUL-16-2024
Contact wesmaps@wesleyan.edu to submit comments or suggestions. Please include a url, course title, faculty name or other page reference in your email ? Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, 06459