R5B, Section 2: Eating Italian: Food as Language in Italian Literature

MWF 8-9 | Dwinelle 228 | Instructor: Danielle Callegari

Units: 4

From the ancient Roman banquet recounted in Petronius’s Satyricon to Dacia Maraini’s twentieth-century poem “Devour me too,” the most famous Italian authors have persistently turned to food in their writing. If a gastronomic theme seems like an obvious choice to attract readers, the truth is that representations of food often contain complex and profound messages that go far beyond taste. Departing from a variety of texts and films that span from the classical to the contemporary, we’ll work to understand how food is used in literature to express everything from religious faith to political strategy to social values. Our goal will be to interpret and interrogate the sources, in an effort to understand how Italian authors have used the universal familiarity and direct intimacy of food to communicate with their audiences, and to determine how we can use similar tactics to become stronger and more effective communicators ourselves.


Required Texts:

All texts and materials will be provided in digital format.


Course Objectives and Requirements:
This course fulfills the second half of the Reading and Composition requirement. Our primary goal is to develop and hone our skills as active, critical readers and analytical writers. To this end, students will be expected to thoroughly read all assigned texts, attend class regularly, participate in class discussion, and complete all written assignments and revisions. Peer-response groups will play a central role in the course, as students will read and critique each other’s work