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COURSE NAME: "Italian Visions: Perceptions of Italy in Literature"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2019

INSTRUCTOR: Shannon Russell
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 11:30-12:45 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: EN 110 with a grade of C or above
OFFICE HOURS: By appointment

 The course considers the importance of Italy for non-Italian writers, particularly European, British and American writers from the eighteenth century onward. Topics considered include: a critique of the perception and construction of Italy and Italians, the development of genres like the gothic or novels of national identity, the gendering of nationality, imperialism, the use of art and history in literature. Consideration is given to the ways in which these works are in dialogue with each other in terms of cultural assumptions and influence. This course is an alternate course to EN 278. If taken in addition to EN 278, it may count as a major elective.
This is a reading and writing intensive course. Students in 200-level literature classes are required to produce 4-5,000 words of critical writing.
See above as well as the reading list and course schedule.
Students will become familiar with eighteenth and nineteenth century Biritish, American and European literary engagement with and about Italy.  It is hoped that they will be able to identify the important trans-cultural relationships between these writers which their encounters with Italy expose.  Students will also become familiar with the cultural challenges of travel writing.
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Where Angels Fear to TreadE. M. ForsterPenguin Classis978-0-14144145-0  
Italian JourneyJohann Wolfgang Von GoetheOUP978-0-14-44233-5  
The ItalianAnn RadcliffeOxford World's Classics 978-0-19-283254-2    
The Innocents AbroadMark TwainOnline versionsxxx  
Pictures from ItalyCharles DickensOnline versionxxx  
Corinne; or ItalyGermaine de StaelOxford World's Classics 978-0-19-955460-7    

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Daisy MillerHenry JamesOxford World's Classics978-0-19-953856-0  
First essay 1,000 wordsEssays should be typed and conform to MLA standards in terms of documentation style and research. Essays must include a Works Cited page and be uploaded to Turnitin on the Moodle site.20%
Reading Journal (2,000 words)Reading journals are to demonstrate the student's engagement with the material in light of their own attempts to articulate either their own or an alien culture. Journals may be personal but must also be critically engaged with the reading assigned. Students should aim to comment in some way on every work of literature we study in the course through their responses in the journal. Students will be trained in Storymap and will use this application to produce their digital journal.20%
Participation Participation is essential. Students are expected to demonstrate their reading and understanding of the material assigned through their class contributions.10%
Final ExamThe Final Exam will involve an extended essay which will be completed in the exam timetable. The topic will be given in advance and students are expected to arrive at the exam with an outline in place.20%
Second Essay 1,500 wordsEssays should typed and conform to MLA standards in terms of documentation style and research. Essays must include a Works Cited page and be uploaded to Turnitin on the Moodle site.20%
Storymap group presentation: curated selections from each other's reading journalsStudents will work together to share aspects of their digital reading journals in an oral and group presentation at the end of the semester.10%

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

Attendance is mandatory.  At three absences your overall grade for the course is reduced.
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


There will be FIVE on-site classes.  ATTENDANCE IS MANDATORY and our visits have been pre-booked.  Absences will be counted as a missed class. An extra assignment will be required to make up for any legitimate absences due to documented illness.  Personal trips planned do NOT count as a legitimate excuse for absences.

Payment for our field trips is required in advance of the visit. In lieu of these required field trips and the extra time required to attend, one class in the regular schedule has been cancelled on April 23rd.  See schedule below for details.

NOTE:  This is a MOODLE class.  More detailed indications of readings, additional course materials and all assignments are available on the Moodle.  The course key for the Moodle is case sensitive and is:  ItalianVisions

WEEK 1 The Grand Tour - An Introduction

Tues. Jan. 22

Introduction to the Course and Requirements

We will go through the virtual tour of Italy and the Grand Tour constructed from the 2001 exhibition at the Getty Museum.




Review: Three views of the Grand Tour in Norton Anthology 


 Thurs. Jan.  24 The Grand Tour continued:  The Anti-Italy (or Splenetic) Travellers   

Tobias Smollett, Selections from Travels through France and Italy (1766).  Do a google search to find an e-text version like http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Gazetteer/Places/Europe/Italy/_Texts/Smollett/Travels/25.html

Read Letters 29 - 35 (letters on Rome and final letter in which he sums up the effect of his travels). 

WEEK 2    Pre-Revolution Travellers and the European Artists Abroad

Tues. Jan. 29

Goethe's Italian Journey Read Part 1 

Required reading is the two sections on Rome for our classes, but please feel free to read the entire book.

11:45-12:45pm Introduction to Storymapping (with librarian Eleonora Moccia)

Thurs. Jan. 31

Goethe's Italian Journey Read Part 1 and Part 3

WEEK 3 Transformations continued  

Tues. Feb. 5     DUE Today:  First entries for your journal due (diagnostic assessment)

Goethe’s Italian Journey Read Part 3 Second Roman Visit

Ann Radcliffe’s The Italian 

Please read the prefatory story that introduces the novel and Volume 1

Thurs. Feb. 7

FIRST FIELD TRIP:  Casa di Goethe Via del Corso 18 Meet there at 11:45 pm for our scheduled tour in English at 12pm (lasts one hour; Entry to the museum is 5 euros per person, including a private and free guided tour in English). 

WEEK 4  Italy and the Female Gothic

Tues. Feb. 12

Read:  Ann Radcliffe The Italian Volume 1

Aesthetic and psychological categories: The Sublime and the Picturesque Background Reading: The concept of the Sublime on the Victorian Website http://www.victorianweb.org/philosophy/sublime/sublimeov.html

Edmund Burke excerpts from essay on the Sublime http://www2.wwnorton.com/college/english/nael/romantic/topic_1/burke.htm

Gilpin on ideas of the Picturesque for Romantics http://www2.wwnorton.com/college/english/nael/romantic/topic%5F1/riverwye.htm

Thurs. Feb. 14        Due in:  First Experiments with Storymapping 

Read:   Ann Radcliffe The Italian Volume 2 

WEEK 5  Gothic continued and introduction to the Novel of National Character

Tues. Feb. 19 

Read:  Ann Radcliffe The Italian Volume 3

Read: Germaine de Stael Corinne; or Italy  Book 1-8, 14, 19 

Thurs. Feb. 21

Read: Germaine de Stael Corinne; or Italy Book 1-8, 14, 19 

SECOND FIELD TRIP:  Capitoline Museum:  Meet at 11:45 pm outside the ticket office. Come with your Student ID and appropriate change for the tickets, if we have to pay.   The Capitoline is an important and large museum and depending on the approval, can cost 15 euros.  Plan to spend some time here on your own after we see the things relevant to our reading for the course, as it is well worth it.  We will meet at the Ticket Office and will proceed to the Pinacoteca to view the Cumean Sibyl.  After that we will visit the sculpture gallery to view the Marble Faun and the Dying Gladiator.

Stael continued, and Workshop on Storymapping refresher

WEEK 6 The Romantics in Italy

Tues.  Feb. 26

Read: Germaine de Stael Corinne; or Italy Book 1-8, 14, 19 

Byron’s Childe Harolde’s Pilgrimage Canto IV especially stanzas cxxviii-cxxxi; cxxxviii-cxlv) http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext04/chpl10h.htm

Timeline: http://www.rc.umd.edu/reference/chronologies/mschronology/chrono.html#1822


Beppo http://readytogoebooks.com/LB-Bp48.htm

Thurs. Feb. 28 

Read:  Percy Bysshe Shelley’s  The Cenci


Keats’s “Happy is England”


March 5

Hawthorne's The Marble Faun (Chapters 1-16)  

March 7

THIRD FIELD TRIP:  Keats Shelley House: Meet at the Museum on the Spanish Steps at 11:45 pm for a scheduled tour (cost is 6 euros). 


WEEK 9  Innocence Abroad: American Travellers in Europe

Tues. March 19

Read: Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Marble Faun  (Chapters 17-35)

Thurs. March 21

Read: Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Marble Faun  (Finish novel)

WEEK 10 Victorian Travellers, New Technologies, and the Reinvention of Travel and its Narratives

Tues. March 26

FOURTH FIELD TRIP: The Palazzo Barberini at 11:45 (cost 7 euros for non-EU, less for EU citizens under 25, though we may be approval for free entry).   For those who have time, we can follow our visit to the Palazzo Barberini with a visit to the Bone Church or the Church of L'Immacolata Concezione, Via Vittorio Veneto 27 (Metro Barberini or Bus to Piazza Barberini).   

Thurs. March 28

Charles Dickens Pictures from Italy

Read:  Excerpts from Dickens’s Pictures from Italy, including chapters entitled:  Italian Dream, Rome, and A Rapid Diorama:   e-text available on Project Gutenberg

WEEK 11 Gilded Age Travellers and Modern Pilgrims

Tues. April 2   American Sublime

Read:  Mark Twain's The Innocents Abroad (Chapter 17-31 and Conclusion)


Hypertext of map of Twain’s journey http://etext.virginia.edu/railton/innocent/iamaphp.html

Thurs. April 4 Going Native and the New Woman Traveller

Henry James Daisy Miller Chapters 1-3


Tues. April 9  

Read:  Henry James’s Daisy Miller Chapters 4-end

Thurs. April 11  Mediterranean “Paganism” and the Modern Imagination

E. M. Forster Where Angels Fear to Tread Chapters 1-2

WEEK 13    

Tues. April 16

Read: E. M. Forster Where Angels Fear to Tread  Chapters 3-4  

Thurs. April 18   SECOND ESSAY DUE

Read: E. M. Forster Where Angels Fear to Tread  Chapters 5-end

WEEK 14 

No classes (Makeup class Fri. Feb. 22 and one class cancelled because of field trips)


Tues. April 30 Group Storymap presentations involving curated selections from your group's reading journals

Thurs. May 2

Read Edith Wharton's "Roman Fever" available on the internet

FIFTH FIELD TRIP - Protestant Cemetery (Piramide). Two euro donation required.  Meet at Keats's graveside at 11:45 pm.