Loyola University Chicago

John Felice Rome Center

ENGL 273 Exploring Fiction

Summer 2013

ENGL 273: Italy in American and British Fiction                 Dr. Pamela L. Caughie




Week One:  Americans in Rome

Tuesday, May 21

            Reading:  Henry James, Daisy Miller (1878), a novella

            Henry James is often considered an early modern writer for his psychological realism.  Daisy Miller was, and still is, one of his most popular works.

            Viewing in class: Daisy Miller (1974), Dir. Peter Bogdanovich


Thursday, May 23

            Reading: Edith Wharton, “Roman Fever” (1934)

                        Set in Rome, this is a story of "transgressive sexuality" and sexual rivalry, in the tradition of Henry James's writing.

            Field Trip: Colosseum and Centro Studi Americanni (Center for  American Studies): We'll read selected letters of Henry James and Edith Wharton, 1900-1915


Social event: Alexanderplatz, near the Cipro metro stop (the first jazz club in Rome.)


Week Two: Americans in Wartime Italy

Tuesday, May 28

            Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms (1929) 

A Farewell to Arms, based on Hemingway's wartime experiences, tells the story of an American serving in the ambulance corps of the Italian Army in WWI and his romance with a nurse he meets in Milan. Hemingway is a master of language and his terse prose style sets the tone for this tender yet bleak war novel.


Thursday, May 30

            Hemingway continued

            Viewing of "A Farewell to Arms" (1957), Dir. Charles Vidor, starring Rock Hudson

            Field Trip: Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

            *Essay #1 due


Week Three: Tuscany and the countryside

Tuesday, June 4

            Reading: D. H. Lawrence, Twilight in Italy (1916)—selections

Lawrence's descriptions of scenes and portraits of individuals in his travel writing tell us much about his fiction writing.

            Reading in class: D. H. Lawrence, excerpt from The Lost Girl (1922)

Partially set in Italy, The Lost Girl, which won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction in 1920, tells the story of a girl from a middle-class English family determined to choose a mate for herself against her family's wishes. Like Wharton's it is a tale of sexual awakening and transgression.


Thursday, June 6

            Reading on site: Wharton, Italian Villas and their Gardens (1904)—"Villas Near Rome"

This chapter from Wharton's first book of travel writing includes a description of garden designs and ornamentation at Villa d'Este, in Tivoli. These selections show why Italy, especially its gardens, captured the imagination of Americans and European artists and tourists.

            Field Trip: Villa d'Este, Tivoli


Week Four:  Brits in Florence

Tuesday, June 11

            Reading: Virginia Woolf, Flush (1933)

Woolf’s popular comic novel about Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s cocker spaniel, set in London and Florence, as a Book-of-the-Month club selection in 1933.


Thursday, June 13

            Reading in class: E. M. Forster, A Room with a View (1908)--excerpts

Set in both Florence and Rome, as well as England, this novel is a romance that offers a critique of early 20th-century British society, especially issues of politics and sexuality.

            Viewing in class: A Room with a View (1985), Dir. James Ivory


Field trip (optional): Florence!

            Visits to Casa Guidi, home of the Barrett Brownings and various sites in A Room

            with a View and Flush

            *Essay #2 due


Week Five:

Tuesday, June 18

            Readings in class: Marinetti, “The Futurist Manifesto” (1909); Mina Loy, "Feminist             Manifesto" (1914); and Victoria Ocampo, interview with Mussolini (1930)

            Viewing in class: La canzone dell'amore (1930), Dir. Gennaro Righelli

The first "talking" Italian film, based on a story by Pirandello, In Silenzio, La canzone dell'amore was first screened in Rome in October 1930.


Thursday, June 20

             Viewing in class: La Dolce Vita (1960), Dir. Federico Fellini

            One of the greatest films in world cinema, La Dolce Vita is set in Rome.


Field trip: Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Villa Borghese

            *Travel diary due


Social event: Farewell dinner together



Course Guidelines


"I was just thinking … what different things Rome stands for to each generation of travelers.”

(Edith Wharton, "Roman Fever")


Course Description

Mrs. Slade’s comment, from Edith Wharton’s short story “Roman Fever,” raises the key question for this course: What did Italy mean to American and British writers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries? Why did they travel there or set their stories there? What role did Italy (especially Rome, Milan, Tuscany and Florence) play in these writers’ imaginations? Exploring these questions in short stories, novels, travel narratives, and films, we will study the "art" of fiction, the way stories take shape in a particular cultural and historical moment. We will learn the critical vocabulary for analyzing fiction, beginning with the basic distinction between story (the organization of events) and narration (the organization of their telling). Temporality, focalization, and narrative agency are some of the components of fiction we will learn to identify, appreciate, and assess in our writings on the fiction we study. More importantly, I hope we will learn how to take pleasure in reading and analyzing fiction, especially as we place these works in their Italian settings, visiting some of their local sites.


Course Format:

Primarily discussion of reading assignments with informal lectures on the background, genre and style of the various materials; in-class quizzes; in-class reading and viewing of films; and occasional field trips and social outings.


Learning Objectives:

Knowledge Area (Literary Knowledge and Experience):

                 Study works of fiction as a means of exploring human experience and understanding the creative process. Students will learn how fiction expresses ideas, feelings, and values, and will explore why writers choose fiction as their medium of artistic expression.

                 Acquire the critical and technical vocabulary enabling students to describe and analyze works of fiction. Students will learn to use critical vocabulary, such as plot, narrative voice, point of view, characterization, and style, in order to analyze and interpret works of fiction.

                 Evaluate works of art in light of aesthetic considerations and by examining the historical and cultural dimensions of the texts' origins and reception.


Skills (Critical Thinking):

                 Paraphrase, summarize, and contextualize the meaning of fiction.

                Analyze relationships among statements, dialogue, descriptions, and other forms of representation.

                 Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of differing interpretations and the merits of one's own and others' uses of evidence, logic, and inference.

                 Generate new ideas, hypotheses, and arguments; develop strategies for seeking and synthesizing information to support an argument, and for using logic and rhetoric in conveying one's interpretations to others.



1. Travel diary (20%):

In the spirit of the writings we will be reading, you will keep a diary reflecting on your readings and travels during the five-week term. You will write about the sites we visit and the people we meet, and about the new ideas and sensations you experience in traveling through Italy, both in actuality and in imagination as you read about Italy in the works we study. Entries can be as short or as long as you like, creative or meditative, but you must write three times each week and your writing should show your engagement with the literature and your understanding of the elements of fiction. In addition, you must have an entry for each required field trip.

2. Essays (30%)

You will write two short (app. 3 page) essays during the term, analyzing a passage of fiction using the critical vocabulary you will learn and offering an argument about the significance of the passage in the context of the work as a whole. We will model this kind of analysis in class discussions. Essays must be titled, typed, double-spaced, in 12-point font with one-inch margins. Essays are due at the start of class on the day listed on the syllabus

3. Quizzes (20%)

Quizzes will be given regularly to motivate you to read and to test out your understanding of a work before we begin class discussion.

4. Exam (20%)

The final will provide an opportunity for you to demonstrate your understanding of the critical vocabulary and the literary techniques we have identified and analyzed throughout the term.

5. Participation (10%)

To be eligible for the maximum credit for participation, you must attend regularly, arrive promptly, participate frequently, treat classmates with respect, turn in assignments on time, and attend the required field trips. More than one absence and/or frequent lateness will result in a 10% reduction in your final grade.


Grading scale:

A          99-93              A-        90-92

B+       87-89              B         83-86              B-        80-82

C+       77-79              C         73-76              C-        70-72

D+       67-69              D         60-66


Academic Integrity

Any writing you turn in must be your own, and any ideas that you have gotten from another source must be properly noted, using MLA style.  Please ask me if you are in doubt about when and how to cite a source.  Knowingly turning in another's work as your own will result in failure of the course.  See Loyola's Undergraduate  Catalog on academic integrity.


Classroom Etiquette

Please address everyone in the class with respect and courtesy, even or especially when disagreeing with another’s remarks, but don't hesitate to disagree. I do not allow laptops, iPads, or other portable electronic devices in class. Out of respect for me and your classmates, please turn off your cell phones before class and do not bring food into the classroom. Beverages are fine.


Office Hours and location: TBA


ENGL 273: Italy in American and British Fiction                 

Dr. Pamela L. Caughie


Estimated field trip costs:


Week One:     Colosseum:  15,5 for entrance; transportation: 3 euros

                        Total: 18,50 euros


Week Two:     Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

                        Total: 3 euros (transportation)


Week Three:   Villa d’Este, Tivoli: entrance, 11,00 euros; transportation: app. 10 euros (3 for metro, 4 for train, each way)

                        Total: 23 euros


Week Four:     Florence: transportation: app. 92 euros  round-trip train fare (depart Rome: 8:30 a.m., arrive: 10 a.m.; depart Florence: 8 p.m., arrive: 9:30 p.m.) + 3 euros for metro to Termini

                        Casa Guidi: offering (suggested: 2 euros)

                        Total: 97 euros


Week Five:     Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna:  8 euros; transportation: 3 euros

                        Total: 11 euros


Grand total:     app. 152,5 euros (app. $205, with Florence)

                        App. 55,5 euros (app. $75, without Florence)


*Note: Some of the prices may have changed since I researched these in Rome two years ago. I have updated the metro costs and the entrance costs based on a recent web search, but train costs were either not updated or not available on the sites I checked. Still, this is a pretty good estimate. Also, you can purchase metro/bus passes and save on daily travel.

Rome Bus, Tram & Metro Ticket Prices

Ticket options are:

B.I.T. € 1.50. Standard ticket, valid for one Metro ride or 75 minutes on all buses.

C.I.S. €24.00. Weekly ticket