Learning outcomes of the course unit
To develop an understanding of literary criticism and comparative methodologies.
To develop the ability to work on supranational texts by knowing how to recognise the essentials in the means of expression and in the language of criticism in the singular art forms.
To develop an understanding of the difficulties in the relationship between cinema and literature.
Course contents summary
Module A: New directions for comparative studies: cinematographic imagery in literature.
One section of the course will explore basic theory in order to illustrate the methods and aims of comparative literature from a critical perspective (from looking at its history to reflecting on its principles and current aims) by introducing criticism of themes and genres. It will then focus closely on the series of relationships between literature and the arts, particularly in relation to cinema. The influx from literature to cinema in the form of adaptations was studied to that end in the beginning but in recent years the focus has switched to the opposite direction, whereby literary texts are now scrutinised for traces and references to a century of cinema. From pirandellian Serafino Gubbio to post-modern narratives and beyond, the course aims to restore the important steps in this comparison by opening, from a theoretical perspective, a series of considerations on the forms of crossover (intertextuality, intersemiotic translations) between the two.
Module B: The Bergman Effect
This section of the course will focus on the influence of Ingmar Bergman (1918-2007) on the arts. His films represent a very rich and conflictual range of imagery, ready to be made use of by literature, cinema and arts over the last fifty years: as is the case of Wild strawberries which inspired the novel Everyman by Philip Roth and Woody Allen’s film Deconstructing Harry, or of Autumn Sonata which influenced Almodovar’s High Heels. The Bergman-Allen relationship will be thoroughly examined and supply some of the basic themes for the comparative study of poetic aspects (parody, remakes, rewriting, etc.) as well as the extraordinary influence of the Swedish director’s universally renowned masterpiece, Persona, in various artistic forms: criticism (Susan Sontag), novels (DeLillo), video art-filmed dance (Douglas Ferguson and the Frankfurt Ballet).
1) Principles of comparative literature: F. Brioschi, C. Di Girolamo, M. Fusillo, Introduzione alla letteratura, Carocci 2003, chap. 1, 4, 5, 6 (the complete reading by students who do not attend the course will be required).
2) Cinema-literature: V. Maggitti, Lo schermo fra le righe. Cinema e letteratura del Novecento, Liguori 2007 or G. Tinazzi, La scrittura e lo sguardo. Cinema e letteratura, Marsilio 2007; further photocopied material will be supplied.
3) Novels and stories:
• L. Pirandello, Quaderni di Serafino Gubbio (recommended edition: Garzanti, edited by M.A. Grignani).
• D. Schwartz, Nei sogni iniziano le responsabilità, in Storie di solitari americani, BUR 2007.
• G. Celati, Le avventure di Guizzardi or La banda dei sospiri, Feltrinelli (volumes which are difficult to find in bookshops but which are available in various libraries in Parma and the surronding province).
• A. Tabucchi, Il filo dell’orizzonte, Feltrinelli.
• J. Marías, Domani nella battaglia pensa a me, Einaudi.
• T. Viel, Cinema, Nottetempo.
• J. Echenoz, Le biondone, Libreria dell’Orso.
• D. DeLillo, Americana, Einaudi.
• P. Roth, Everyman, Einaudi.
• O. Assayas, S. Björkman, Conversazione con Ingmar Bergman, Lindau 1994.
• S. Sontag, Persona di Ingmar Bergman, in Stili di volontà radicale, Mondadori 1999, pp. 163-191.
• G. Iacoli, Lo spazio del silenzio. Bergman, Susan Sontag, DeLillo, in La percezione dello spazio, Carocci 2008, pp. 107-162.
• Bergman, Wild strawberries (1957); Persona (1966); Cries and whispers (1973); Autumn Sonata (1978).
• W. Allen, Interiors (1979); Deconstructing Harry (1997).
• P. Almodóvar, High Heels (1991).
Vision of films
Meetings with colleagues of other disciplines, presentation of volumes