235: Seminar in 20th-Century Literature and Culture: Anni Trenta: Fiction and Film

M 2-5 | 6331 Dwinelle | Instructor: Barbara Spackman

Units: 2 or 4

Conducted in English with readings in Italian and English; films in Italian

 In this course we will examine the cultural production of the 1930s in Italy, with particular attention to fiction and film, and with side-glances to the importance of riviste. Our goal will be to tease out the contradictory impulses and interpellations that characterize this decade, which we will take to mark a crucial period in Italian modernity. Consumerist and autarchic, feminist and anti-feminist, urbanist and ruralist, modernist and anti-modernist, colonialist and anti-colonialist, realist and “magical realist”: these competing imperatives marble the culture, both high and low, of this volatile period. If the expected third, alliterative term “fascism” is missing from the course title, it is not to suggest the fascist regime will not be within our purview, but rather to signal that “fascism” will not be the single destination to which all interpretive roads will lead.  We will begin the course with a theoretical reflection on the perils and problems of periodization, and then proceed to readings and screenings.

Course Requirements: The course will be conducted as a seminar.  All students will be required to give one in-class presentation; those registered for 4 units will be required to write a research paper of 25-30 pages.

Literary texts:
Mario Dei Gaslini, Piccolo amore beduino (1926)
Massimo Bontempelli, Vita e morte di Adria e dei suoi figli (1930)
Riccardo Bacchelli, Mal d’Africa (1935)
Pitigrilli, Dolicocefala bionda (1936)
Alba De Cespedes Nessuno torna indietro (1938)
Tommaso Landolfi, La pietra lunare (1937)
Paola Masino, Nascita e morte della Massaia (1939)

Alessandro  Blasetti, Terra Madre (1931)
Mario Camerini, Gli uomini che mascalzoni (1932)
Alessandro Blasetti, Vecchia Guardia (1934)
Augusto Genina,  Lo squadrone bianco (1936)
Max Ophuls, La signora di tutti (1936)
Mario Camerini, Il signor Max (1937)
Mario Camerini, Grandi Magazzini (1939)
Vittorio de Sica, Maddalena zero in condotta (1940)
Alessandro Blasetti, Nessuno torna indietro (1943)