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Students may complete a major or minor in Italian.


Michelle P. Blumer, Instructor
Titina Caporale, Lecturer
Nicholas Patruno, Professor and Chair (semester I)
Roberta Ricci, Assistant Professor and Chair (semester II)
Ute Striker, Instructor at Haverford College
Nancy J. Vickers, Professor

The aims of the major are to acquire a knowledge of Italian language and literature and an understanding of Italian culture. The Department of Italian also cooperates with the Departments of French and Spanish in the Romance Languages major.

College Foreign Language Requirement

The College's foreign language requirement may be satisfied by completing ITAL 105 (intensive) with a grade of 2.0, or by completing ITAL 101 and 102 (non-intensive) with an average grade of at least 2.0 or with a grade of 2.0 or better in ITAL 102.

Major Requirements

Major requirements in Italian are 10 courses: ITAL 101, 102 and eight additional units, at least two of which are to be chosen from the offerings on the 300 level, and no more than two from an allied field. All students must take a course on Dante (301), one on the Italian Renaissance and one on modern Italian literature. Where courses in translation are offered, students may, with the approval of the department, obtain major credit provided they read the texts in Italian, submit written work in Italian and, when the instructor finds it necessary, meet with the instructor for additional discussion in Italian.

Courses allied to the Italian major include, with departmental approval, all courses for major credit in ancient and modern languages and related courses in archaeology, art history, history, music, philosophy and political science. Each student's program is planned in consultation with the department.

Students who begin their work in Italian at the 200 level will be exempted from ITAL 101 and 102 or from ITAL 105.


The requirements for honors in Italian are a grade point average of 3.7 in the major and, usually, a research paper written at the invitation of the department, either in Senior Conference or in a unit of supervised work.

Minor Requirements

Requirements for the minor in Italian are ITAL 101, 102 and four additional units including, on the 300 level, at least ITAL 301. With departmental approval, students who begin their work in Italian at the 200 level will be exempted from ITAL 101 and 102 or from ITAL 105. For courses in translation, the same conditions for majors in Italian apply.

Study Abroad

Italian majors are encouraged to study in Italy during the junior year in a program approved by the College. The Bryn Mawr summer program in Pisa offers courses for major credit in Italian, or students may study in other approved summer programs in Italy or in the United States . Courses for major credit in Italian may also be taken at the University of Pennsylvania .

ITAL B001, B002 Elementary Italian: Nonintensive and Intensive

A practical knowledge of the language is acquired by studying grammar, listening, speaking, writing and reading. Coursework includes the use of the Language Learning Center. The course meets in intensive (eight hours a week at Bryn Mawr) and nonintensive (five hours a week at Bryn Mawr and Haverford) sections. (Caporale, Ricci, Troncelliti)

ITAL B101, B102 Intermediate Italian

A review of grammar and readings from Italian authors with topics assigned for composition and discussion; conducted in Italian. The course meets in intensive (four hours a week) and non-intensive (three hours a week) sections. (Blumer)

ITAL B105 Intensive Intermediate Italian

See course description for ITAL B101-102. (Caporale)

ITAL B200 Advanced Conversation and Composition

The purpose of this course is to increase fluency in Italian and to facilitate the transition to literature courses. The focus is on spoken Italian and on the appropriate use of idiomatic and everyday expressions. Students will be expected to do intensive and extensive language drills, orally and in the form of written compositions as well as Web-related exercises. Literary material will be used; conducted in Italian. (Caporale)

ITAL B201 Prose and Poetry of Contemporary Italy

A study of the artistic and cultural developments of pre-Fascist, Fascist and post-Fascist Italy seen through the works of poets such as Montale, Quasimodo and Ungaretti, and through the narratives of Ginzburg, P. Levi, Moravia, Pavese, Pirandello, Silone, Vittorini and others. (Patruno, Division III) Not offered in 2007-08.

ITAL B205 The Short Story of Modern Italy

Examination of the best of Italian short stories from post-unification to today's Italy. In addition to their artistic value, these works will be viewed within the context of related historical and political events. Among the authors to be read are Verga, Buzzati, Calvino, Ginzburg, Moravia, Pirandello and. P. Levi. (Patruno, Division III)

ITAL B207 Dante in Translation

A reading of the Vita Nuova and Inferno in order to discover the subtle nuances of meaning in the text and to introduce students to the most famous depiction and judgments of the poem in his native Florence. Dante's masterpiece lends itself to study from various perspectives: theological, philosophical, political, allegorical, historical, cultural and literary. Personal and civic responsibilities, love, genre, governmental accountability, church-state relations, economics and social justice, the tenuous balance between freedom of expression and censorship — these are some of the themes that will frame the discussions. (Ricci, Division III)

ITAL B208 Boccaccio and Petrarca in Translation

The course will be based on selections from Boccaccio's Decameron and Petrarch's Canzoniere and with some attention given to some of their minor works. Attention will also be given to the historical context connected with these works. (Patruno, Division III) Not offered in 2007-08.

ITAL B209 Humanism and the Renaissance in Translation

See course description for ITAL B304. (Ricci, Division III)

ITAL B211 Primo Levi, the Holocaust and Its Aftermath

A consideration, through analysis and appreciation of his major works, of how the horrific experience of the Holocaust awakened in Primo Levi a growing awareness of his Jewish heritage and led him to become one of the dominant voices of that tragic historical event, as well as one of the most original new literary figures of post-World War II Italy. Always in relation to Levi and his works, attention will also be given to other Italian women writers whose works are also connected with the Holocaust. (Patruno, Division III; cross-listed as COML B211 and HEBR B211)

ITAL B212 Italia D'Oggi

This course, taught in Italian, will focus primarily on the works of the so-called “migrant writers” who, having adopted the Italian language, have become a significant part of the new voice of Italy. In addition to the aesthetic appreciation of these works, this course will also take into consideration the social, cultural and political factors surrounding them. (Patruno, Division III) Not offered in 2007-08.

ITAL B225 Italian Cinema and Literary Adaptation

A survey, taught in English but also valid for Italian languages credit for those who qualify to do reading and writing in Italian, of Italian cinema with emphasis placed on its relation to literature. The course will discuss how cinema conditions literary imagination and how literature leaves its imprint on cinema. We will “read” films as “literary images” and “see” novels as “visual stories.” The reading of the literary sources will be followed by evaluation of the corresponding films (all subtitled) by well-known directors, including Bellocchio, Bertolucci, Rosi, the Taviani brothers and L. Visconti. (Ricci)

ITAL B301 Dante

Prerequisite: two years of Italian or the equivalent. Taught in Italian. See course description for ITAL B207. (Ricci, Division III)

ITAL B303 Petrarca and Boccaccio

The course, to be conducted in Italian, will focus on a close analysis of Petrarch's poetry and Boccaccio's short stories in the original. Attention will also be given to the historical context connected with these works. (staff, Division III) Not offered in 2007-08.

ITAL B304 Il Rinascimento: Italian Women Writers from the Renaissance to Present

Topics include: the construction of gender and the place of women in Cinquecento literary culture, the Questione della lingua and its impact on literary culture, chivalric and epic genre, the lyric poetry, Florentine political theory, court culture, the Counter Reformation and its cultural effects, and the neo-Platonic debate on beauty. Prerequisite: two years of Italian or the equivalent. (Ricci, Division III)

ITAL B398 Senior Seminar


ITAL B399 Senior Conference

Under the direction of the instructor, each student prepares a paper on an author or a theme that the student has chosen. This course is open only to senior Italian majors. (staff)

ITAL B403 Supervised Work

Offered with approval of the department. (staff)




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