Dr. Simona Wright    

Bliss Hall 303       




OFFICE HOURS: Mon-Thur.: 3.30-6.00PM. And or by appointment. Feel free to discuss with me any other time. I will be happy to meet you and help you with your questions.




Aleramo, Sibilla. A Woman.


Calvino, Italo. Marcovaldo


Deledda, Grazia. Reeds in the Wind.


De Luca, Erri. Sea of Memory


Moravia, Alberto. Two Women.


Morante, Elsa. The Story.


Pavese, Cesare. The Moon and the Bonfires.


Pirandello, Luigi. The Late Mattia Pascal


____________. Eleven Short Stories.




Vittorio De Sica, Two Women

___________. The Garden of the Finzi-Contini's

Roberto Rossellini, Rome Open City

Vittorio and Paolo Taviani, Kaos

____________________, My Father My Master

Giuseppe Tornatore, Malena





This course concentrates on the Italian culture of the Twentieth century as reflected and represented in its literary and cinematic production. Various aspects (cultural, social, economic, political) of contemporary Italy will be analyzed and discussed through readings representative of the different authors and styles that have influenced the Italian cultural discourse of the past hundred years. Literary texts will be presented and investigated on the basis of their cultural significance. Particular emphasis will also be given to the study of the their form, content and style.



A. After studying the selected works the student will be able to:


1. Analyze and discuss the selected literary and artistic works and assess their

significance on the basis of form, content and style.


2. Write essays which include critical analysis based on the prevalent interpretations of contemporary literary theory.


3. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of particular genres and their connection to cultural changes in Italian and European society.


4. Demonstrate knowledge of the cultural and historical aspects of contemporary Italy and of its most prominent literary and artistic movements.




1. Lectures, class discussions, written papers and oral presentations by the



2. Research and study utilizing the various databases at the TCNJ West Library.   


3. Internet resources and bibliographical references provided by the instructor will assist the students in their research.


4. Movies and documentaries selected and shown by the instructor will provide additional assistance for students' study and research.




1. Term paper. Students will write a research paper (15 page minimum) on a text, author, or movement discussed during the course. The topic of the paper will have been previously approved by the instructor. The paper will be evaluated on the basis of its organization, clarity of ideas, style, use of bibliographical references and application of critical theory.


2. Midterm Take Home Exam. A midterm take home exam will cover the materials presented and discussed in class. Students will answer three separate questions relating to the historical, cultural and literary situation in Italy and Europe at the turn of the century. The exam will be evaluated on the basis of organization and presentation of ideas, style, application of critical thinking and analytical skills.


3. Two additional short papers (5 pages) will also be required in order to provide the students an essential basis for discussion in class and for consistent critical evaluation of selected texts.


4. Class discussions. Students will be divided in groups of two (or three) and lead class discussions. They will read the narrative segment assigned for the day and prepare analysis and questions that will stimulate constructive and productive class debates.


5. Students each week will be asked to post their analysis and reflections on e-mail. The rest of the class will critique their observations. At the end of the semester students will prepare a portfolio with all their written assignments (e-mail), a self-critique and a self-evaluation.


6. Participation in class is most important. Students will take active part in

discussions and group work. The papers will be handed in whenever assigned.




20% Research paper                       

20% Midterm Take Home Exam  

20% Short Papers                              

20% Class Discussions                     

20% Portfolio                                     





WEEK 1                                                                                 


A)  Introduction to the Course. Socio-historical context of Italy before and after World War I.                


Assignments: Read: Sibilla Aleramo, Una donna


B)  Class Discussion on Sibilla Aleramoís A Woman. Womanís Image in Italy at the turn of the century.      


Assignments: Aleramo, Una donna. Read: Critical Essay on Sibilla Aleramo.





Final class discussion on A Woman.  Introduction to Luigi Pirandello.      


Assignments: Read: Pirandello, The Late Mattia Pascal.   E-mail posting on Sibilla Aleramo.   


Class discussion on The Late Mattia Pascal                                            


Assignments: Pirandello, The Late. Read: Critical Essay on Luigi Pirandello





Class discussion on The Late Mattia Pascal                 


Assignments: Pirandello, The Late Mattia Pascal. E-mail  posting.


B)  Final Class discussion on The Late. Mattia Pascal. Introduction to Eleven Short Stories: View:Chaos  (Taviani)


Assignments: Eleven Short Stories. View: Chaos (Taviani). E-mail posting on the film.



WEEK 4 (Short Essay due)


A)  Class discussion on the Short Stories by Luigi Pirandello                            


Assignments: Eleven Short Stories. Read: Critical Essay on Luigi Pirandello.


B)  Final class discussion on Pirandello. Introduction to Grazia Deledda and Verismo. 


Assignments: Read: Grazia Deledda, Reeds in the Wind. E-mail posting on Luigi Pirandello.                





A)  Class discussion on Deleddaís Reeds in the Wind.             


Assignments: Reeds in the Wind. Read: Critical Essay on Grazia Deledda.


B)  Class discussion on Reeds in the Wind.                          


Assignments: Reeds in the Wind  View: My Father, My Master, V. E. Taviani

E-mail posting on film and  Grazia Deledda. (8 students)





A)  Class discussion on Deledda and My Father, My Master. Existence in the far away provinces of Italy (Gramsci and a national-popular literature)


Assignments: Read: Alberto Moravia, Two Women.


B)  Introduction to Alberto Moravia. Class discussion on Two Women.


Assignments: Two Women. Read: Critical Essay on Alberto Moravia.





A)   Class discussion on Two Women. Italy, Fascism and the II World War.                                                            


Assignments: Two Women. Read: Critical Essay


B)  View: Vittorio De Sica, Two Women.


Assignments: Two Women. Read: Critical Essay on De Sica. E-mail posting on Film.



WEEK  8 (Mid-Term Exam Due)


B)  Final class discussion on Alberto Moravia: Between Novel and film. Introduction to Elsa Morante.          


Assignments: Read: Elsa Morante, The Story. E-mail posting on Alberto Moravia.                                                                            


Class discussion on Elsa Morante, The Story.


Assignments: The Story.  





A)  Class discussion on The Story.                                      


Assignments:  The Story. Read: Critical Essay. Film: Rome Open City (Rossellini)


B)  Class discussion on The Story.                                       


Assignments: The Story. View: Rome  Open City. E-mail posting on the film.





A)  Final Class discussion on Morante and Film. Introduction to Cesare Pavese.


Assignments: E-mail posting on Elsa Morante. Read: Cesare Pavese, The Moon and the Bonfires.


B)  Class discussion on The Moon and the Bonfires.                         


Assignments: The Moon and the Bonfires. Read: Critical Essay.





A)  Class discussion on The Moon and the Bonfires.                                  


Assignments: The Moon and the Bonfires. Read: Critical Essay. E-mail posting on Cesare Pavese.


B)  Final class discussion on The Moon and the Bonfires.                       


Assignents: Italo Calvino, Marcovaldo.



WEEK  12 (2nd Short Paper Due)


Class discussion on Marcovaldo.                           


Assignments:  Marcovaldo. Read: Critical Essay.


B)  Final class discussion on Marcovaldo.               


Assignments:  Marcovaldo. E-mail posting on Italo Calvino.





A) Film: The Garden of the Finzi-Contini's                             


Assignments:  Erri De Luca, Sea of Memory.


B)  Class discussion on The Garden of the Finzi-Contini's. Introduction to Erri De Luca. Class discussion on Sea of Memory.


Assignments: Sea of Memory. Read: Critical Essay.





A)  Final class discussion on Sea Of Memory.     


Assignments: Read: Critical Essay. E-mail posting on Erri De Luca.  Film: Malena (Tornatore)


B)  Class discussion on Tornatoreís film. Evaluation of the course.





Adams Sitney, P. Vital Crisis in Italian Cinema. Iconography, Stylistics, Politics.


Austin: University of Texas Press, 1995.


Adler, Sara Maria. Calvino. The Writer as Fablemaker. Potomac: Porr˙a Turanzas, 1979.


Alessio, Antonio. Pirandello pittore. Palermo: Centro Nazionale Studi Pirandelliani, 1984.


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Bloom, Harold. Italo Calvino. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 2001.


Bobbio, Norberto. Ideological Profile of Twentieth-Century Italy. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995.


Bondanella, Peter. Italian Cinema: From Neorealism to the Present. New York: Continuum, 2001.


Cangini, Franco. Storia della prima repubblica. Roma: Newton Compton, 1994.


Capozzi, Rocco-Mignone, Mario. Homage to Moravia. Stony Brook, NY: Forum Italicum, 1993.


Caprara, Valerio. Sicilia e altre storie: il cinema di Giuseppe Tornatore. Napoli: Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane, 1995.


Caserta, Giovanni. Realta' e miti nella lirica di Pavese. Matera: BMG, 1970.

Cattini, Alberto. Storie e lo sguardo: Il cinema di Gianni Amelio. Venezia: Marsilio, 2000.


Colombo, Gianfranco. Guida alla lettura di Pavese. Milano: Mondadori, 1988.


Crotti, Ilaria. Libro, mondo, teatro: saggi goldoniani. Venezia: Marsilio, 2000.


Curle, Howard-Snyder, Stephen (eds.) Vittorio De Sica. Contemporary Perspectives. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000.


Dashwood, Julie (ed.) Luigi Pirandello. The Theatre of Paradox. Lewiston: Mellen, 1997.


De Agostini. Tutto Novecento. Novara: De Agostini, 2000.


De Santis, Francesco. Saggio critico sul Petrarca. Torino: Einaudi, 1952.


DiGaetani, John Louis. A Companion to Pirandello Studies. New York: Greenwood Press, 1991.


Di Zenzo, Salvatore. Il narrare visivo di Grazia Deledda. Napoli: Libreria T. Pironti, 1979.


Dolfi, Anna. Grazia Deledda. Milano: Mursia, 1979.


Federzoni, Marina. Sibilla Aleramo. Firenze: La Nuova Italia, 1980.


Ferroni, Giulio. Storia della letteratura italiana. Il Novecento. Torino: Einaudi, 2000.


Fido-Cervigni. Goldoni 1993. Chapel Hill: Annali d'italianistica, 1993.


Fido, Franco. Nuova guida a Goldoni: teatro e societa' nel Settecento. Torino: Einaudi, 2000.


Folli, Anna. Penne leggere: Neera, Ada Negri, Sibilla Aleramo, scritture femminili italiane fra Otto e Novecento. Milano: Guerrini, 2000.


Forgarcs, David-Lumley, Robert (eds.) Italian Cultural Studies. An Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997.


Gieri, Manuela. Contemporary Italian Filmmaking. Strategies of Subversion. Pirandello, Fellini, Scola, and the Directors of the New Generation. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1995.


Gracia, Jorge-Korsmeyer, Carolyn-GaschÈ, Rodolphe. Literary Philosophers? Borges, Calvino, Eco. New York: Routledge, 2002.


Gregori, Lucia. "Fili invisibili e visibilita' intertestuale in Italo Calvino," Italian

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Grimaldi Morosoff, Anna. Transfigurations: The Autobiographical Novels of Sibilla Aleramo. New York: Lang, 1999.


Guglielmino, Salvatore. Il Novecento. Torino: Einaudi, 1980.


Hearder, Harry. Italy. A Short Story. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990.


Hofmann, Paul. That Fine Italian Hand. New York: Holt, 1990.

Kalay Zlobnicki, Grace. Theme of Childhood in Elsa Morante. University of Missouri: Romance Monographs, 1996


Jeannet, Angela M. Under the Radiant Sun and the Crescent Moon. Italo Calvinoís Storytelling. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000.


J¯rgensen, Connie-Kay. Visione esistenziale nei romanzi di Elsa Morante. 1999.


Liimatta, Katja. ìIdaís Jewish Quest in Elsa Moranteís La Storia,î Italian Culture, vol. XVIII, 1, 2000, pp.103-24.


Lombardi, Olga. Invito alla lettura di Grazia Deledda. Milano: Mursia, 1979.


Massaiu, Mario. Sardegnamara: una donna, un canto. Milano: Istituto Propaganda Libraria, 1983.


McLaughlin, Martin. Italo Calvino. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1998.


Miccinesi, Mario. Deledda. Firenze: La Nuova Italia, 1975.


Mignone, Mario, B. Italy. A Country in Transition. New York: Lang, 1995.


Musumeci, Antonino. Líimpossibile ritorno: la fisiologia del mito in Cesare Pavese. Ravenna: Longo, 1980.


OíHealy, Aine. Cesare Pavese. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1988.


Olivieri, Mariarosaria. Tra liberta' e solitudine: saggi su letteratura e giornalismo  femminile, Matilde Serao, Sibilla Aleramo, Clotilde Marghieri. Roma: Edizioni dellíAteneo, 1990.


Pappalardo La Rosa, Franco. Cesare Pavese e il mito dell'adolescenza. Alessandria: Edizioni dellíOrso, 1996.


Pautasso, Sergio. Cesare Pavese, l'uomo libro: il mestiere di scrivere come mestiere di vivere. Milano: Arcipelago, 1991.


Ravanello, Donatella. Scrittura e follia nei romanzi di Elsa Morante. Venezia: Marsilio, 1980.


Ricci, Franco (ed.) Calvino Revisited. Ottawa: Dovehouse, 1988.


Rocchio, Vincent. Cinema of Anxiety: A Psychoanalysis of Italian Neorealism. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1999.


Rosa, Giovanna. Cattedrali di carta: Elsa Morante romanziere. Milano: Il Saggiatore,  1995.


Salinari, Carlo-Ricci, Carlo. Storia della letteratura italiana. Il Novecento. Bari: Laterza, 1995.


Sanguineti, Edoardo (ed.) Poesia italiana del Novecento. Torino: Einaudi, 1993.


Scuderi, Attilio. Erri De Luca. Fiesole: Cadmo, 2002.


Somigli, Luca. "Aldo Palazzeschi, futurista per gioco," Italian Culture, vol. XIII, 1995, pp. 115-126.


Staples, Max Alexander. The Ideology of the Decameron. Lewiston: Mellen, 1994.


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Thomson, Doug. Cesare Pavese. A Study of the Major Novels and Poems. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982.


Tondo, Michele. Invito alla lettura di Cesare Pavese. Milano: Mursia, 1984.


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