104: A Feast of Words: Italian Literature in 12 Meals

TuTh 9:30-11 | 6331 Dwinelle | Instructor: Danielle Callegari

Units: 4 Satisfies L&S Arts & Literature breadth requirement.

Course Conducted in Italian. Fulfills Major and Minor Requirements in Italian Studies.

From Dante and Catherine of Siena to Italo Calvino and Dacia Maraini, the Italian authors who have enchanted the imagination and installed themselves as canonical figures have persistently relied on food in their writing. While the general allure of a gastronomic theme might seem obvious to us, literary representations of food in fact contain complicated and profound messages. Taking up twelve iconic meals as depicted in Italian literature across the ages, we will strive to find a thread that connects them and leads us to see how food can be used to express everything from religious convictions to political strategies to social values and more. Our goal will be to interpret these gastronomic moments in classic texts in order to understand how authors manipulated the universal appeal and collective values of food to communicate with their audiences and comment on their society. We will use a variety of sources – audio, image, text – and tap into the greater resources of the UC Berkeley environment – its museums, libraries, film centers – to enhance our exploration of the relationship between food and Italian literature.

All required texts and further materials will be provided in digital format.

Prerequisites:  Italian Studies 101A or 101B or permission of the instructor.