R5A, Section 1: Comedy, Italian Style

TuTh 8-9:30 | Dwinelle 106 | Instructor: Kate Driscoll

Units: 4

With its rich history of innovation, creativity, transgression, and subversion, Italian comedy has captured audiences around the world, from its literary pages to its musical-theatrical stages. Embracing Italian comedy’s striking wit, intrigue, and cultural significance, this course will study the tradition of commedia all’italiana (“comedy, Italian style”) across literary, theatrical, operatic, and filmic texts from the sixteenth through the twentieth centuries.

Literature and Plays
Niccolò Machiavelli, The Mandrake (1526)
Accademia degli Intronati, The Deceived Ones (1532)
William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night (ca. 1602)
Margherita Costa, The Buffoons, A Ridiculous Comedy (1641) [selections]
Carlo Goldoni, The Servant of Two Masters (1746); The Coffee House (1750); The Venetian Twins (1750); The Mistress of the Inn (1753)
Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest (1895)
Luigi Pirandello, Right You Are (If You Think So) (1917); Six Characters in Search of an Author (1921); essay “On Humor” (1908)

Comic Operas [selections]
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart/Lorenzo Da Ponte, The Marriage of Figaro (1786)
Gioachino Rossini/Cesare Sterbini, The Barber of Seville (1816)
Gaetano Donizetti/Felice Romani, The Elixir of Love (1832)

Mario Monicelli, Big Deal on Madonna Street (1958)
Pietro Germi, Divorce Italian Style (1961)
Ettore Scola, We All Loved Each Other So Much (1974)

In this course, we will develop and sharpen the skills of close reading, critical thinking, and clear, articulate writing. These skills are fundamental preparation for all work you will do throughout your college career. In addition to three formal essays, we will work through exercises in style, register, and grammar. Essential to the writing process will be workshopping one another’s work through rough drafts and peer review. Several shorter writing assignments will be assigned that focus specifically on the practice of close reading.

Due to the high demand for R&C courses we monitor attendance very carefully. Attendance is mandatory the first two weeks of classes, this includes all enrolled and wait listed students. If you do not attend all classes the first two weeks you may be dropped. If you are attempting to add into this class during weeks 1 and 2 and did not attend the first day, you will be expected to attend all class meetings thereafter and, if space permits, you may be enrolled from the wait list.