Millicent Marcus (Ph.D. Yale, 1974) specializes in Italian culture from the interdisciplinary perspectives of literature, history, and film. She is the author of An Allegory of Form: Literary Self-Consciousness in the Decameron, (Stanford French and Italian Studies, l979), Italian Film in the Light of Neorealism (Princeton, l986), Filmmaking by the Book: Italian Cinema and Literary Adaptation (Johns Hopkins, l993), After Fellini: National Cinema in the Postmodern Age (Johns Hopkins, 2002), and Italian Film in the Shadow of Auschwitz (University of Toronto, 2007), as well as journal articles and encyclopedia entries on her fields of interest. Because literacy in the 21st century must be broadened to include the mass media as well as the written text, she brings a cultural studies approach to her teaching and research.
ITAL 304a, Literature into Film
We study a series of written works and their cinematic adaptations, considering first the texts in autonomous, literary terms, and then their transformation into audiovisual spectacles. In most cases we screen the film on Tuesday evening and do a comparative study in the Thursday class period, making extensive use of video clips to do close visual analysis of scenes in the light of their corresponding textual sources. Rather than develop a general theory of adaptation, we construct methodological approaches on an ad hoc basis, taking each instance of adaptation as a case study amenable to a variety of methodologies—psychoanalytic, feminist, ideological, generic, semiotic, and so forth. The class is conducted as a seminar, and active student participation is expected. There are two papers—one shorter one of a critical nature at midterm and a final research paper (approximately 15–20 pages). Films examined include (tentatively) Pasolini’s Medea and Decameron, the Tavianis’ Padre padrone, Visconti’s Death in Venice, Rosi’s Three Brothers, Salvatores’s I’m Not Afraid, and De Sica’s Two Women. Writing assignments comprise 75 percent of the final grade and class participation 25 percent.
ITAL 590a, Literature into Film
Strategies employed by filmmakers who adapt literary works to the screen. Detailed comparisons between cinematic adaptations and the novels, plays, and short stories on which they are based. Case studies of literary works that pose a variety of challenges to filmmakers.
ITAL 780b, Il Romanzo del Novecento
No literary form is better suited to gauging the convulsive changes wrought by Italy’s entrance into modernity than the novel. Infinitely permeable to the forces of historical circumstance, the novel counters these external forces with its own version of the evolving Italian subject in all its personal richness and complexity. We study the evolution of this literary genre throughout the course of the twentieth century and, in the process, adopt a variety of approaches, including, but not limited to, semiotics, psychoanalysis, narratology, gender, ideological criticism, and “la questione della lingua.”