[Cross-listed with Italian Studies 419]

Virilities, Italian Style

This course offers an overview of diverse Italian masculinities as they are represented in modern and contemporary Italian literature and culture. What does it mean to be a man in Italy? How have diverse concepts of Italian manhood come into being? How have they been constructed and distributed in literary and other cultural texts? What do they tell us about Italian society? And how have they been challenged, or even subverted, within the Italian cultural domain?

We will probe these questions by studying the depictions of Italian manliness in key memoirs, dramas, novels, public speeches, news articles, and films from the eighteenth century to the present. Male archetypes and ideals to be scrutinized include libertines, “servants of two masters,” nationalist soldiers, the inetto (schlemiel), the fascist new man, the gallo (literally, “rooster”), coming-of-age stories, gay identity, the Latin Lover, and the self-made man. To delve further into these texts, we will also study a selective number of influential theories from masculinity and gender studies through critical essays of specific texts.

Through this course, we will gain a historical and critical understanding of men and gender dynamics in Italian culture. This course is suitable for anyone who is passionate about Italian men and about their interactions with other men and women in their social and cultural milieus.

Primary texts include excerpts from the following list:
Giacomo Casanova, Histoire de ma vie (written 1791-1798, published 1822-28)
Carlo Goldoni, Arlecchino servitore di due padroni (1743)
Edmondo De Amicis, Cuore (1886)
Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, Il Gattopardo (1958)
Italo Svevo, La coscienza di Zeno (1923)
Alessandro Blasetti, 1860 (1934)
Vitaliano Brancati, Il bell’Antonio (1949)
Italo Calvino, Il sentiero dei nidi di ragno (1946)
Umberto Saba, Ernesto (written 1953, published 1975)
Federico Fellini, La dolce vita (1960)
Nanni Moretti, Il Caimano/The Caiman (2006)

Prerequisite: ITAL 202

Students who plan to minor in Italian must take this course as ITAL and will be expected to do part of their reading and assignments in the Italian language. Precludes credit for ITST 419 and vice versa.

Language of instruction: English

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