Prima dell’_Amica geniale_: Elena Ferrante’s Short Novels (ITA4613.01)

Barbara Alfano

Elena Ferrante’s novels are all written in the first-person. The narrator of her stories and their fictitious author weave a fabric in which they purposely overlap, suggest non-existent biographical references, lie to tell some truth, and ultimately consign to the reader a particular authorial profile as much as unforgettable female protagonists. This course explores the relationship among the several “I”s of Ferrante’s first three novels and how they represent, depict, and discuss women’s writing and Feminism.  These novels are _L’amore molesto_ (1992),  _I giorni dell’abbandono (2003)_, and _La figlia oscura_ (2006).

Students will continue developing their speaking skills, widening their vocabulary, and strengthening the use of complex linguistic structures. They will bring their reading comprehension to a new level as they tackle literary, sophisticated texts, thus becoming more nuanced readers in Italian and beyond.   Students will conduct research and present their findings in formal presentations and a final comparative essay. The course is conducted in Italian. Intermediate-high level.

Students who are on campus and are not sick must come to class. If a remote student wishes to take this course and meets the prerequisites, she/he/they can join the class remotely.

New days/times as of 12/13/2021:

Please note: this course will meet in-person on Monday and Wednesday. The Thursday meeting will be asynchronously remote.


Learning Outcomes:
Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to
❖ effectively communicate ideas in the target language, both orally and in writing
❖ understand, situate, evaluate, and critique various literary discourses
❖ analyze the ideas and the concepts from the perspectives of the culture studied
❖ raise valid and rational questions and analyze the questions from the perspective of the culture they study,
❖ form ideas and opinions based on their research and logically state and express their thoughts coherently and cohesively in the target language
❖ conduct research independently


Delivery Method: Remotely accessible
Prerequisites: Five terms of Italian at Bennington, or language placement audition. Proficiency level to be assessed by the instructor. Please contact Barbara at balfano@bennington.edu by November 12.
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
M/W/Th 8:30AM - 9:50AM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 15
Course Frequency: One time only

Categories: Remotely Accessible , All courses , Literature , Updates , Italian
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