Loyola University Chicago

John Felice Rome Center

Engl 273 Exploring Fiction

Spring 2014

            ENG 273 EXPLORING FICTION:



John Felice Rome Center

Semester II, Spring 2014

Time and Date: TBA


Catherine Marquette


SHORT COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course focuses on the understanding, appreciation, and criticism of American literature inspired by Italy since 1800; extensive readings and several critical analyses are required.


FULL COURSE DESCRIPTION:  Successive generations of Americans have drawn on Italy as a setting, inspiration, or point of reference and reflection.  This course traces American authors writing on and about Italy across the major periods and literary traditions in American literature since 1800. It also delves into the cultural-historical nexus and changing social and historical values in the United States and Italy which shaped their literary expression. 


The writings covered encompass a range of fictional forms and adjacent genres. The key periods, writers, and literary traditions covered include: American Romanticism (Adams, Irving, Bryant, Cooper, Hawthorne); American Renaissance and Transcendentalist writers (Fuller, Melville, Stowe,  Dickinson); the founders of the Dante Society (Longfellow, Norton, Lowell); American Realist and Naturalist writers (Howells, Twain, James, Wharton, Woolsen, Alexander) ;  Modernists and the “Lost Generation” (Eliot, Dos Passos, Pound, Hemingway, Fitzgerald); World War II (Gelhorn, Hersey, Heller, Winners); the Post-War/Post-modernist era (Williams, Cheever, McCarthy, Styron, Vidal, Gaddis, Spencer); and contemporary writers  (Brodkey, Caldwell, Grizzuti Harrison, Prose).  Special attention is give to important lesser known women writers. 


Alongside primary literary texts, students read literary criticism and historical, social, or cultural commentaries that give insight into the human values, movements and key events in the United States and Italy influencing the writers studied. Background reading touches specifically on changing values and trends linked to the American Revolution and grand-tour tradition, the Italian Risorgimento and Unification, the closing of the American frontier and the American Civil War, World War I and II, the Italian and American post-war economic booms, the growth in international tourism, and globalization.  


Selections from film adaptations of works studied may also be considered in or outside class. Students are actively encouraged to visit sites in Rome and elsewhere in Italy which figure in the works studied and at least one class will include a field trip in Rome.  There will be an optional lecture outside of class at the American Academy in Rome which will allow students to meet with current Fellows in Writing there and discuss the work of past Fellows.


LEARNING OUTCOMES: Students will demonstrate a knowledge of the key figures and main periods, traditions, and modes of expression in American literature since 1800 as seen through the lens of Americans writing on Italy.  They will also be aware of less well-known but important American writers who have written on Italy.  They will gain a comparative sense of the similarities and differences between authors in terms of subject, form, style and the changing social fabrics in the US and Italy which shaped their literary expressions.  They will also be able to place American literature on Italy in the broader context of American literature in general.


COMPETENCIES AND SKILLS DEVELOPED:  During the course, students will expand their critical and technical vocabulary for discussing literary forms.  They will also be better able to analyze, compare, and write about different types of literary works.  They will develop the ability to assess the effect on readers of formal qualities of literature, particularly with regard to landscape and setting.  At the same time, they will become more sensitive to different interpretive approaches and be better able to assess works in relation to the cultural-historical forces that produces them.  


LEARNING ACTIVITIES: Students read primary texts, criticism, and background material as a basis for class lectures, discussion, and writing assignments.  Students will read selections from an array of longer literary works and a limited number of full short works.  Class participation through discussion is an important part of the final grade (20%). Students will also write short, one-page, weekly reactions to readings for submission to the instructor and prepare one longer critical paper (8-10 pages double-spaced) at the end of the term on a topic of their choice approved by the instructor.  There is also a mid-term and final.



The final grade will be calculated as follows:

      Final                                      25%

      Long Paper                           25%

      In-class participation            20%

      Midterm                                15%

      10 Weekly 1-pagers             15%  

     Total                                     100%


CLASS ATTENDANCE POLICY: No more than three absences; after that, you lose a grade.  Being late twice for class equals one (1) absence.  As class participation comprises a quarter of your grade, absences lower marks.  If you are late or not present at attendance-taking, you are marked absent.  Latecomers must personally tell the instructor they are present otherwise you remain “absent.”  Attendance and absence policy is non-negotiable.


CHANGES: The Professor reserve the right to change the assignments or schedule as necessary. They will inform students of any such changes by an email to school address emails only.


COURSE RESOURCES:  Almost all the course readings are available free in eBook, Kindle or .pdf format for direct download from the Internet Archive (www.archive.org). Only in a very few cases with more recent books will you need to purchase a digital or hardcopy.  Some readings not easily available in free digital format will be put on reserve in the library as indicated. Audiovisual and film references are available on YouTube unless otherwise indicated.







Week 1.  American Romanticism and Grand Tour Travel Writing on Italy

Week 2.  American Picaresque Novels and Italy: Allston, Irving, and Cooper

Week 3.  The American Renaissance, Transcendentalism and the Italian Risorgimento I:

    Margaret Fuller 

Week 4.  The American Renaissance, American Romanticism and the Italian

    Risorgimento II: Melville, Stowe, and Dickinson

Week 5.  Rome and American Romanticism: Hawthorne and Wetmore Story

Week 6.  Longfellow and The Dante Society

Week 7.  American Realism, Nature Writing, and the Supernatural: Howells, Twain,

                Marsh, Crawford

Week 8.  Henry James and Italy (Field Trip)

Week 9.  American Naturalist Women Writers and Italy: Wharton, F. Woolsen,


Week 10. The Lost Generation in Italy 1910-1940s: Eliot, Pound, Dos Passos, the

    Fitzgeralds, Hemingway

Week  11.World War II and American Writers in Italy

Week  12. Post War American Writers and Italy


Optional Lecture .  Contemporary American Writers on Italy (Seminar American Academy).





Week 1

American Romanticism and Grand Tour Travel Writing on Italy 1785-1855.

(1) Primary Texts (all readings done in class). Selections From:

 Travel Writing:

Thomas Jefferson (Shadwell VA 1743- Charlottesville WV 1826)

(1787) Journey Through Italy and France (Read in class)

Catharine Maria Sedgwick (Stockbridge MA 1789- Boston 1867)

 (1841) Letters from Abroad to Kindred at Home.

Caroline Kirkland (New York City 1801 – New York City 1864)

(1854) Holidays Abroad: Or Europe from the West.

Henry Adams (Boston 1838- Washington DC 1918)

      (1859/60) The Education of Henry Adams. Chapter VI. Rome


Julia Ward Howe (New York 1819 – Portsmouth RI 1910) 

(1854) Passion-Flowers

William Cullen Bryant (Cummington MA 1794- New York 1878)

 (1854) Select Poems on Italy From Poems of William Cullen Bryant.

(2) Background:

Brooks, Van Wyck (1958) The Dream of Arcadia: American Writers and Artists in Italy, 1760-1915.  Introduction and Chapters 1-4.

Micks, Gabriella (1988) Passionate Pilgrims: The American Paradox of Seeking Cultural Identity in Europe, 1802-60.


Week 2 

Allston, Irving, and Cooper: American Picaresque Novels and Italy 1822-1844

(1) Primary Texts. Selections from:

Washington Allston (Waccamaw SC 1779 - Cambridge MA 1843).

(1822) Mondali: A Tale

Washington Irving (New York City 1783- Tarrytown NY 1859).

(1824) The Italian Banditti. From Tales of a Traveler

James Fenimore Cooper (Burlington NJ 1789- Cooperstown NY 1851).

(1831) The Bravo: A Venetian Story and (1842) Wing and Wing

(2) Background:

Brooks, Van Wyck (1958) The Dream of Arcadia.  Chapters 5-7.

Conron, John (2000) American Picaresque

Kasson, Joyce (1982) Artistic Voyagers. Chapters on Irving, Allston and Cooper


Week 3

Margaret Fuller: The American Renaissance, Transcendentalism and the Italian Risorgimento 1847-1860

(1) Primary Texts. Selections From:

Margaret Fuller (Cambridge MA 1810 - Fire Island 1850)

    (1847) Americans in Europe.

            (1847-1850) Sojourn in Rome

(1856) At Home and Abroad. Arrival in Rome on and page 498-99.

(1856-50) Dispatches from Europe to the New York Tribune 1846-1850 from Cahill.


(2) Background

Brooks, Van Wyck (1958). The Dream of Arcadia. Chapter 9.

Elsden, Annamaria Fromichella (2004) “Margaret Fuller’s Tribune Dispatches and

the 19th Century Body Politic.” Chapter 2 in Roman Fever: Domesticity and


Barolini, Helen (2006) Their Other Side: Six American Women and the Lure of Italy.

2006. Introduction and Chapter on Margaret Fuller

Megan Miller (2013) Margaret Fuller, A New American Life. Lecture at the NYSL (video).


Week 4

Melville, Stowe and Dickinson: The American Renaissance, American Romanticism and the Italian Risorgimento 1847-1875

(1) Primary Texts. Selections From:

Herman Melville (New York City 1819 - New York City 1891)

(1856) The Piazza and (1856) The Bell Tower

(1875) At the Hostelry and Naples in the Time of Bomba

Harried Beecher Stowe (Litchfield CT 1811- Hartford CT 1896)

(1861) Agnes of Sorrento.

Emily Dickinson (Amherst MA 1830 – Amherst MA 1886)

(1860-9) Poems on Italy from Collected Poems/Letters.


(2) Background

Berthold, D. (1997) Melville, Garibaldi, and the Medusa of Revolution and (2009) American  Risorgimento: Herman Melville and the Cultural Politics of Italy.

Elsden, Annamaria Fromichella (2004) “Domesticity and Nationalism in Harriet

Beecher  Stowe’s Agnes of Sorrento,” Chapter 3,  Roman Fever Domesticity and


Barolini, Helen (1993) The Italian Side of Emily Dickinson and (2006) The Lure of

Italy. Chapter on Dickinson.


Week 5 

Hawthorne and Wetmore Story: Rome and American Romanticism 1855-1865

(1) Primary Texts. Selections From:

Nathaniel Hawthorne (Salem MA 1804- Plymouth NH 1864)

(1860) The Marble Faun: The Romance of Monte Bene 

William Wetmore Story+[1](Salem MA 1819- Vallombrossa/Protestant Cemetery Rome 1895)

 (1863) Roba di Roma

(2) Background:

Brooks, Van Wyck (1958) The Dream of Arcadia, Chapters Hawthorn and Wetmore Story.

Vance, William (1990) America’s Rome.

Wright, Nathalia (1965) American Novelists in Italy. Chapter on Hawthorn

Wright, Nathalia (1991) Introduction to The Illustrated Marbel Faun.

Donoghue, Denis (1994) William Wetmore Story and His Friends : The

Enclosing Fact of Rome.


Week 6

Longfellow and The Dante Society 1860-1890 

(1) Primary Texts. Selections From:

William Wadsworth Longfellow (Portland MN 1807- Cambridge MA 1882)  selections from

(1865/7)  Translation of The Divine Comedy of Dante

(1864-66) Six Sonnets on Dante’s Divine Comedy.

(1864) The Sicilian’s Tale: King Robert of Sicily

(1876) Poems of Places: Italy

(1886) Michel Angelo: A Fragment.

Charles Eliot Norton (Cambridge MA 1827- Cambridge MA 1908) selections from:

(1860)  Notes of Travel and Study in Italy.

James Russell Lowell (Cambridge MA 1819- Cambridge MA 1891) selections from:

(1864)  Fireside Travels.

(2) Background :

Brooks, Van Wyck (1958) Dream of Arcadia. Chapter on Longfellow, Lowell,


Dante Society (1909) The Italian Friends of Longfellow (meeting with



Week 7 

Howells, Twain and Contemporaries on Italy 1864-1995: American Realism, Nature and the Supernatural

(1) Primary Texts. Selections from:

William Dean Howells (Martins Ferry OH 1837- New York City 1920)

(1864) Indian Summer

      (1867) Venetian Life

Twain, Mark (Florida MI 1835- Redding CT 1910)

(1872) Innocents Abroad. Chapter 7 to end on Italy.

(1904) Italian Without a Master

George Perkins Marsh+ (Woodstock VT 1801- Vallombrossa/Protestant Cemetery Rome 1882)

(1864) Man and Nature.

Charles Godfrey Leland+ (Philadelphia PA 1803- Florence/English Cemetery 1903)

(1899) Aradia; or, the Gospel of the Witches.

Crawford, Francis Marion+ (Bagni di Lucca 1854 –Villa Sant' Agnello di Sorrento/buried at villa 1909)

        (1894) For the Blood is Life

(2) Background:

Brooks, Van Wyck (1958)  The Dream of Arcadia. Chapters on Howells and Leland

Micks, Gabriella (1988) Passionate Pilgrims: The American Paradox of 

 Seeking Cultural Identity in Europe 1802-60. Chapter on Twain and Howells.

Kowaliski, Albin (2011) Mr. Marsh's Italian Job

Buonomo, Leonardo (1996) Backward Glances. Chapter on Leland. 

Taeko, Kithara (2006) Framing the Supernatural: Henry James and F.

 Marion Crawford Centro Studi e Ricerche F.M.Crawford (2009) Ricordando

 Francis Marion Crawford 100 anni dopo. Conference.


Week 8  (Field Trip in Rome)

Henry James and Italy 1870-1909

Henry James ( New York City 1843 – London 1916)

(1) Primary Texts:

Florence selections from

(1888) The Aspern Papers

(1882/1908) Portrait of a Lady, New York Edition: Preface, Chapter 1 and Chapters 22-26, 35

Venice selections from

(1902) Wings of a Dove

Rome selections from

(1875) Roderick Hudson

(1878/1906) Daisy Miller

(2) Background:

Brooks, Van Wyck (1958) The Dream of Arcadia.  Chapter on James.

McDonald, Michael  (1992) The End of Arcadia.

From De Biaso et al eds (2013) Transforming Henry James. Introduction.

Gorra, Michael (2013) Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of an American Masterpiece. Video of lecture and New York Society Library.


(3) Film excerpts from:

Bogdonavich, Peter (1974) Daisy Miller

Campion, Jane (1996) Portrait of a Lady

Softely, Iain (1997) The Wings of a Dove


Week 9  

Wharton and Her Women Contemporaries in Italy 1895-1910 and American Naturalism

(1) Primary Texts. Selections From:

Edith Wharton (New York City 1862  – Saint-Brice-sous-Forêt, France 1937)

(1902) The Valley of Decision.  Chapter 1 (first novel)

(1904) A Venetian Night’s Entertainment

            (1934) Roman Fever

Constance Fenimore Woolsen+ (Clarement NH 1840 – Venice/Protestant Cemetery Rome, 1894)

            (1880) Miss Grief

(1895) Hyacinth Street 

            (1895) Dorothy

Alexander, Ester Frances (Francesca)+  (Boston 1837- Florence/English Cemetry 1917)

            (1883) The Story of Ida. 

(2) Background:

Brooks, Van Wyck (1958) The Dream of Arcadia.  Chapters on Wharton and  Woolsen

Lee, Hermione (2007) Edith Wharton.  Chapter 4, “Italian Backgrounds.” 

Barolini, H. (2006) The Lure of Italy.   Chapter on Woolsen.


Week 10 

The Lost Generation in Italy 

(1) Primary Texts. Selections from: 

T. S. Eliot (St. Louis 1888- London 1965)

(1917) Poems From Prufrock and Other Observations with Italian references:  The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,  Portrait of a Lady,  La Figlia Che Piange, Preludes, and Rhapsody on a Windy Night.

Ezra Pound+ (Haily ID 1888 – Venice/San Michele Cemetery, 1972)

(1922, 1948) The Malatesta Cantos and The Pisian Cantos

(1939-1943)  Articles in Meridiano di Roma

Dos Passos, John (Chicago Il 1986 – Baltimore MD 1970)

            (1928) A City That Died of Heart Failure

Ernest Hemingway (Chicago IL 1899 – Ketchum ID 1961)

            (1929) A Farewell To Arms

F. Scott Fitzgerald (St. Paul MN 1896 – Hollywood CA 1940)

                        Novel Selections: (1922) The Beautiful and the Dammed 

                                                     (1934) Tender is the Night

                        Short Stories: (1924) High Cost of Macaroni

                                              (1925) A Penny Spent

                      (1934) Show Mr. And Mrs. F to ….


Douglas, Paul (2011) T.S. Eliot, Dante, and the Idea of Europe.

Ricciardi, Catarina (1999) F. Scott Fitzgerald and Rome

Sanderson, Rena (2006) Hemingway’s Italy: New Perspectives

Redman, Tim (1991) Ezra Pound and Italian Facism.


Week  11  

World War II and American Writers in Italy

(1) Primary Texts:

Martha Gelhorn (St. Louis, MI 1908 – London 1998)

(1944) Visit Italy, The Gothic Line, and Cracking the Gothic Line

(1949) The Children Pay 

Iris Origo+  (Birdlip UK 1902 – Villa La Foce, Siena/buried at villa 1988)

(1947) War in Val d'Orcia

Hersey, John (Tienstin China 1914- Key West FL 1993)

(1944) A Bell for Adano

John Horn Burns (Andover MA 1916 – Florence/buried in Boston 1953)

(1944) The Gallery

Heller, Joseph (Coney Island NY 1923 – East Hampton New York 1999)

                (1961) Catch 22

Lewis, RWB (Chicago IL 1917- Bethany CT 2002)

(1995) The City of Florence: Historical Vistas and Personal Sightings

(2) Background:

O’Conner, Philip (2007) A Loyola Student’s Guide to World War II in Rome and Italy.

Margolick, David (2013) Dreadful: The Short Life and Gay Ties of John Horne Burns.

Moorehead, Caroline ( 2002) Iris Origo. Marchesa of Val d’Orcia

Moorehead, Caroline (2003) Gelhorn: A Twentieth Century Life.

Barolini, Helen (2006) The Other Side. Chapter on Iris Origo. 


(3) Films excerpts:

Shreman, George (1945) A Bell for Adano

Rosselini, Roberto (1946) Paisa

Zampa, Luigi (1947) Vivere in Pace

Polivideo (2007) Figli di Guerra: L’Incontro di Napoli con gli Americani Nella Testimonianze dei “Figli Della Guerra”

Lee, Spike (2008) Miracle at St. Anne.

Rossella, Romano (2010) Sulle Tracce dei Buffalo Soldiers


Week  12  

Post War and Contemporary American Writers and Italy

(1) Primary Texts. Selections from:


Williams, Tennessee (Columbus MS 1911 – New York City 1983)

(1950) The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone.

John Cheever  (Quincy MA 1912- Ossining 1982)

(1956) Boy in Rome

Demby, William (Pittsburg PA 1922 – Sag Harbor NY 2013) 

(1960) Blueblood Cats of Rome

            (1965) The Catacombs

Styron, William (Hilton Village VA 1925- Martha’s Vineyard MA 2006)

(1960) Set This House on Fire.

Spencer, Elizabeth (Carrollton MI 1921)

(1960) Light in the Piazza

De Lima, Sigrid (New York City 1921- Nyack NY 1999)

(1960) Praise a Fine Day


Travel Writing/Essay

Clark, Eleanor (Los Angeles CA 1913- Boston 1996)

(1952) Rome and a Villa.

McCarthy, Mary (Seattle WA 1912- New York City 1989)

(1956) The Stones of Florence.

Simon, Kate (Warsaw 1912 – New York City 1990)

(1970) Italy: The Places in Between.

Cornelisen, Anne (Cleveland OH 1925– Rome GA 2003)

(1969) Torregreca: Life Death and Miracles

Vidal, Gore (Westpoint NY 1925- Hollywood Hills CA 2012)

(1986) Vidal on Venice 

(2000) Calvino’s Death

Simeti, Mary Taylor (New York City 1947- )

(1986) On Persephone's Island :A Sicilian Journal.

Harrison, Barbara Grizzuti (Queens NY 1937- New York City 2002)

(1989) Italian Days

Mayes, Frances (Fitzgerald GA 1940 -)

(1997) Under the Tuscan Sun 

Gilbert, Elizabeth (Waterbury CT 1969 - )

 (2006) Eat, Pray, Love : One Woman’s Search For Everything Across

Italy, India and Indonesia. 

Brown, Dan (Exeter MA 1964-)

(2013) Inferno.


Robert Penn Warren (Guthrie KY 1905- Stratton VT 1989)

(1957) Poems on Italy from A New Southern Harvest, an Anthology

Ciardi, John (Boston 1916- Methuchen NJ 1986)

(1997) Poems from Italy

(2) Background

Melton, Jeffry Alan (1999) Touring Decay: Nineteenth-Century American

 Travel Writers in Europe.

Wintgenter, Anne (2010) Eternal City, Sawdust Caesar": Americans on Tour in Post-WWII Rome. 1944-1960.


(3) Films/Theatre

Seigle, Sol (1954) Three Coins in a Fountain

O'Sullivan, Morgan (2003) The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone

Wells, Audrey (2003) Under Tuscan Sun

Craig and Adam Guettel (2005) Light in the Piazza  (Opera)

Howard, Ron (2009) Angels and Demons

Murphy, Ryan (2010) Eat, Pray, Love

Allen, Woody (2012) To Rome, With Love



Optional Lecture: Past and Current Fellows At the American Academy. Held at the American Academy with Date to Be Announced.

(1) Primary Texts. Selections from:

Brodkey, Harold (Stauton IL 1930- New York City 1996)

(1994) Profane Friendship

(1998) My Venice

Caldwell, Joseph (Milwaukee WI 1928 - )

(1992) The Uncle from Rome.

St. John, David (Fresno CA 1949 - )

(1991) Terraces of Rain: An Italian Sketchbook

Coolidge, Clark (Providence RI 1939 -) 

(1991) Odes of Roba.

Doerr, Anthony (Cleveland OH 1973 -)

(2008) Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World

Prose, Francine (Brooklyn NY 1947 -) 

(2003)  Sicilian Odyssey, 

Herrmann, Marianne

(2007) Signaling for Rescue.

(2) Background

Williams, Miller and American Academy of Rome (1980) A Roman

 Collection : Stories, Poems, and Other Good Pieces.







[1]+” after author name indicates they are buried in Italy.