FRIT-M505: Modern Italian Literature and Culture: Exile and Estrangement in Italian Culture


Image of Pulitzer-prize winning author Jhumpa Lahiri, an American of Bengali-Indian heritage who also authored In altre parole, a non-fiction book in Italian, talking with translator Anita Raja.
Andrea Ciccarelli
Course Description

Italian literature and exile are inextricably intertwined. Literary production in the vernacular spread throughout the Italian peninsula, in part, as a result of the peregrination of the former poets of the Sicilian School, after the collapse of the Swabian (Hohenstaufen) dynasty in 1268. Within a few decades of this central event, Dante writes, in exile and because of his exile, the major work of Italian literature, The Divine Comedy. From that moment on, the historical division of the Italian territories until WWI fosters a literary tradition that is almost always “out of place.” This tradition, in modern and contemporary times, has been revived by migratory trends, to and from Italy, and has developed in Italy as well as abroad.

In this course we will study literary works, essays, and films that relate to the topic of exile, focusing mostly on modern times. We will discuss how the various circumstances behind exile (forced by political conditions or by voluntary migration) play a role in literary and cinematic works produced, within and outside of Italy, by Italian-language writers and filmmakers.