Academic Year 2023/2024 - Teacher: MARIA RIZZARELLI

Expected Learning Outcomes

The course aims to provide students with knowledge and methodological skills addressed to identify the interactions between contemporary literature and modern and contemporary visual culture. The course is devoted to the following specific knowledge and skills:

1) Knowledge and understanding
Know the main topics of the course and understand the theoretical concepts 
2) Ability to apply knowledge and understanding
Express interdisciplinary considerations starting from the different approaches on visual culture.
3) Autonomy of judgment
Integrate the knowledge of the course and formulate interpretative hypotheses on the proposed case studies
4) Communication skills
Development of the specialized lexicon referring to the proposed field of study
5) Learning skill 
Autonomy in the recognition of bibliographic sources and in the integration of contents

Course Structure

The course is divided into two modules (each one of 18 hours): through the first one, dedicated to the analysis of the interplay between literature and visual culture and essays, the students will acquaint themselves with the rich variety of the main paradigms of visual studies, whilst acquiring the theoretical, methodological and analytical tools, which will then be applied to the case studies proposed. Students will have to choose four examples and discuss their analysis in a seminarial form. The second part of the course is dedicated to the analysis of the myth of Marilyn developed in literary production. Specifically, the following topics will be highlighted: how the Star told “her story” (M. Monroe, My Story); how her image interplayed with the storytelling of her myth (A. Miller, The Misfits); which traces have settled in our imagination through novel inspired by the star’s biography (J.C. Oates, Blonde).

Face to face time and laboratory dimension will alternate and the steady, active participation of the students in the lessons will be encouraged.

Attendance of Lessons

Attendance is not compulsory.

Detailed Course Content

Modulo A. Literature and Visual culture. Images, gazes, devices (3 CFU)

Modulo B. Divagrafie: the myth of Marilyn (3 CFU)

Textbook Information

Module A.


a.1 (1 from the follow list)

- H. de Balzac, Il capolavoro sconosciuto, Firenze, Passigli, 2001.

- P.P. Pasolini, La ricchezza, in Id., Tutte le poesie, ed. by W. Siti, vol. I, Mondadori, Milano, 2003, pp. 895-947.

- A. Ernaux, Gli anni (2008), trad. it. di L. Flabbi, Roma, L’orma, 2015

- Ombre, ed. by Laurence Block, Torino, Einaudi, 2017.


a. 2 (1 from the follow list)

- V. Woolf, Orlando, Milano, Feltrinelli, 2012.

- E. Vittorini, Conversazione in Sicilia, illustrated edition with photos of L. Crocenzi, Milano, Rizzoli, 2007.

- O. Pamuk, L’innocenza degli oggetti. Il museo dell’innocenza, Instambul, illustrated edition, Torino, Einaudi, 2012.


a. 3 (1 from the follow list)

- W. Mouawad, Incendi, trad. it by C. Gozzi, Corazzano (Pisa), Titivillus, 2009.

- P. Highsmith, Carol, trad. it. by H. Brini, Milano, Bompiani, 2011.

- L.M. Alcott, Piccole donne, Torino, Einaudi, 2019.


Movies (1 from the follow list):

Incendies (2010), di Denis Villeneuve

Carol (2017), di Todd Haynes.

Little Women (2019), di Greta Gerwig.


Critical Essays*:

- M. Cometa, Letteratura e arti figurative: un catalogo, «Contemporanea», 3, 2005, pp. 15-29.

- M. Rizzarelli, Cultura visuale, in L. Neri, G. Carrara (ed. by), Teoria della letteratura. Campi, problemi, strumenti, Roma, Carocci, 2022, pp. 327-341.

- M. Rizzarelli, Amore e guerra. Percorsi intermediali fra letteratura e cinema, Lentini (SR), Duetredue edizioni, 2019.

- G. Carrara, Storie a vista. Retoriche e poetiche del fototesto, Milano-Udine, Mimesis, 2020.


*In addition to these essays, students will also have to study some critical pages on the texts chosen to be agreed with the teacher


Module B.

Texts (2 from the follow list):

- M. Monroe, La mia storia, Roma, Donzelli, 2010.

- A. Miller, Gli spostati, Roma, Nutrimenti, 2021.

- J.C. Oates, Blonde, Milano, Bompiani, 2016.


Critical Essays:

- E. Morin, Le star, Torino, Cue press, 2021.

- M. Rizzarelli, La diva che scrive, la diva de-scritta. Letteratura e performance di e intorno a Marilyn, «Oblio», XI, nn. 42-43, 2021, pp. 73-88 <>.

- M. Pierini, Lettere d’amore alle star: qualche nota su Joyce Carol Oates, Marilyn Monroe e Marlon Brando, in Fotogrammi a parole, ed. by C. Allasia, M. Pierini, F. Prono, C. Tavella, “Sinestesie”, XX, 2020, pp. 165-179.


Texts that are difficult to find will be made available on the Studium platform or in the library.

Where page numbers or chapters are not indicated, the text must be studied in full.


Please remember that in compliance with art 171 L22.04.1941, n. 633 and its amendments, it is illegal to copy entire books or journals, only 15% of their content can be copied.

For further information on sanctions and regulations concerning photocopying please refer to the regulations on copyright (Linee Guida sulla Gestione dei Diritti d’Autore) provided by AIDRO - Associazione Italiana per i Diritti di Riproduzione delle opere dell’ingegno (the Italian Association on Copyright).

All the books listed in the programs can be consulted in the Library.