The Power of Sex: “Violence, Politics, Erotics” (ITAL-362)

Judith Slaying Holofernes (1614–20) Oil on canvas.

Judith Slaying Holofernes (1614–20) Oil on canvas. Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence. Image Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Instructor: Ombretta Frau

This course explores the nature and the politics of love, sex and violence in Italian literature and culture as described by male and female authors.

Beginning with the Roman poet Ovid, we proceed to such authors as Franca Rame, Elsa Morante, Anna Banti.

In addition to viewing films by Vittorio De Sica and Lina Wertmüller’s controversial Swept Away, we also examine the Sicilian poem, The Baroness of Carini; vice, castrati and cicisbei in Eighteenth-century Italy, and the work of the 17th-century Italian painter Artemisia Gentileschi in the context of her sensational rape trial.

As a final project, students in this course have the chance to produce a book trailer.