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Centres and Margins across Italian Literatures and Media

What makes a place on the map "central" and what makes it "marginal"? What is the role of centres and peripheries in the construction of national, local, regional identities, and how do different media portray this dynamic? How are these culturally constructed and reflected through cultural objects? 

This module will address a variety of literary and audio-visual materials negotiating centres and margin within the Italian peninsula between the 19th and the 21st centuries, looking at how spaces, centres, ghettoes, itineraries, linguistic enclaves, minorities, diversity is portrayed in different phases of Italian culture. We will be looking at reportages about Italy’s margins; women writers’ travel accounts; writings from the “strapaese” movement; photographic books and texts written for the radio.

We will discuss how cultural centres and margins are constructed through different media; students will be encouraged to look critically at the posture and ethos of the authors and to understand the relation between the observer and the observed.

Materials likely to be considered are:

  • Matilde Serao, Il ventre di Napoli (1884), Lettere di una viaggiatrice (1908) 
  • Vincenzo Cardarelli, Il sole a picco (1929), Il cielo sulle città (1939) * (text+ drawings)
  • Alberto Savinio, Dico a te, Clio (1940)* (text + pictures)
  • Corrado Alvaro, Itinerario italiano (1941)
  • Carlo Levi, Tutto il miele è finito (1964), Un volto che ci somiglia. Ritratto dell’Italia (1960), text with pictures by Janos Reismann
  • Anna Maria Ortese, Il mare non bagna Napoli (1953), La lente scura (1930s-60s)
  • Guido Piovene, Viaggio in Italia (1957) and its related radio programme and TV series 

Coordinator:  Dr Martina Piperno

Further details of pre-requisites, co-requisites, aims, contact hours and assessment.