Spring 2017

Anatomy of Fantastic Fiction: The Uncanny, the Monstrous and the Other in Modern and Contemporary Italy

, 3 pts, UN3590


What is a fantastic text and what renders it "scandalous" (R. Caillois)? How do nineteenth-century fantastic tropes and motifs survive in present-day narratives? What assumptions about "real" and "reality" do they reveal? How can fantastic representations of the inexplicable, supernatural and inhuman shape and enrich our understanding of the human mind and the world around us? And finally, why are we so fascinated by that which frightens us? In this course, we will address these and many other questions by looking at short stories, films, TV shows and comic books from the Italian and other traditions, from the 19th century to the present day. The course will be loosely chronological, but will be based mainly around thematic units. Through a comparative approach, we will explore the relationship between the fantastic mode and notions such as the uncanny, the repressed and the unconscious. We will look at our primary texts through an interdisciplinary lens spanning literary theory and genre studies to psychoanalysis and reader-response theory. Some primary texts are only available in Italian; however, accommodations can be made for non- Italian speakers.

Section Number
Call Number
Day, Time & Location
M 2:10pm-4:00pm 608 Lewisohn Hall
Irene Bulla