Comparative literature: history and theory (2017/2018)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Raffaella Bertazzoli
Raffaella Bertazzoli
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Semester 2 dal Feb 26, 2018 al Jun 9, 2018.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

Between Images and Words

The class “Comparative Literature: History and Theory” takes into account novels and their movie adaptations and aims to guide the student throught all nature of literature-based films. The reading of the proposed texts will enable students to acquire important knowledge and skills, to refine his/her ability to interpret and understand literary texts and to develop critical thinking.


Between Images and Words

The class “Comparative Literature: History and Theory” aims to follow the development of the American novel starting from the point of view of some intellectuals, living in the first half of twentieth century. Through tests, such as Americana by Elio Vittorini, was built the so called “American myth”. Italian culture has absorbed its charm, by becoming a mediator of important translations and significant reportages. Themes and critical problems of literature until the eighties have also been considered. The class will take into account novel movie adaptations and aims to guide the student throught all nature of literature-based films.

Henry James Washington Square (1880)
Film: The Heiress, regia di William Wyler (1949)
Raymond Chandler, Farewell, my Lovely (1940)
Film: Farewell, my Lovely, regia di Dick Richards (1975)
Jay McInerney, Bright Lights, Big City (1984)
Film, Bright Lights, Big City, regia di James Bridges (1988)

- Dominique Fernandez, Il mito dell’America negli intellettuali italiani dal 1930 al 1950, Salvatore Sciascia editore, Caltanisetta-Roma, 1969.
- Alessandra Rocca, I miti del nuovo continente,: l'Americana di Vittorini, in "Quaderni del 900", II, 2002, pp. 111-126.
- Pino Fasano, Il mito americano di Cesare Pavese, "Italica", Vol. 85, No. 2/3 ( 2008), pp. 295-310.
- Gino tellini, Fenomenologia del mito americano, "Studi italiani", 2 (2015), pp. 7-21.
- Singh Maini Darshan, Washington Square. A Centennial Essay «The Henry James Review» Nov. 1, 1979.
- James Gargano, Washington Square: A Stdy in the Growth of an Inner Self, in «Short Fiction», Summer 1976.
- E.M. Beekman, Raymond Chandler & an American Genre, The Massachusetts Review, Vol. 14, No. 1 (Winter, 1973), pp. 149-173.
-John P. Athanasourelis, Film Adaptation and the Censors: 1940s Hollywood and Raymond Chandler, in «Studies in the Novel». vol. 35, 3 2003, pp. 325-338.
- Peter Swirski, Raymond Chandler's Aesthetics of Irony, in From Lowbrow to Nobrow, Montreal, London: McGill-Queen's University, 2005.
- Psychogeography and the Victims of the City in McInerney's Bright Lights, Big City.
- Giacomo Manzoli, Cinema e letteratura, Roma, Carocci, 2003.
- Linda Costanzo Cahir, Literature into Film: Theory and Practical Approaches, London, McFarland and Company, 2006.

Assessment methods and criteria

The teaching method will involve frontal lessons to be held on three weekly days for a total load of 54 hours (9 CFU). The instructor is available two days a week for office hours (see WEB). Non-attending students will have to agree a program with some variation to facilitate independent study.

During the final oral exam, students will have to show that they have gained critical skills during the course, by means of analytical and argumentative ability to link the various cultural plans and by reaching a depth and breadth of the knowledge of the read and commented texts. Students must also speak with appropriate language.