ITAL-471 The Writing Factory: Science, Machines, and the Technology of the Word in 20th-Century Italian Literature
Offered academic year 2006-2007
This course investigates the role played by science and technology as motifs and formal principles in Italian literature and culture from the end of the 19th century to the present. Adopting a comparative and interdisciplinary perspective, we will examine the position of Italian writers and intellectuals vis-a-vis the extended Western debate on the so-called "two cultures," we will meditate on the status of literature and the humanities in a technological society, and we will try to understand how and why writers incorporate the scientific discourse in their works. Pivotal moments will be the Futurist attack on nature and naturalism, the clash between theater and the rise of the cinema industry, the experimental literary techniques of the neo-avant-garde, the postmodern problematization of reason, method and meaning, the question of the ethics of literature in a rapidly evolving technological world, and the slowly-emerging cyberfeminist movement within feminist theory. Readings will include works by Marinetti, Pirandello, Levi, Sciascia, Calvino, and Del Giudice. Conducted some semesters in Italian and other semesters in English. This course, when taught in English, satisfies one of the two literature and writing requirements in the College.
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