ITAL-4361 Monsters&MonstrosityinMedItaly

Course Description

Who is a monster? What defines monstrosity in our culture and in earlier times? Monsters represent complete alterity and challenge the basic notion of self and identity within any given cultural paradigm. Encompassing literature, visual arts, music and other media, this course explores how the notion of monstrosity and complete alterity changed in Italian culture from antiquity to modern day. If in the classical era monstrosity was essentially seen as a marvel and a transgression of the natural order, today it has become a form of demonization of the Other, seen as the antagonist. Monsters provide a critical lens through which one can look at human nature and monstrosity can be seen as a paradoxical theology capable of subverting established assumptions. As writer Giorgio Manganelli (1922-1990) said, “Non v’è salvezza al di fuori del mostruoso” (“There is no salvation beyond the monstrous”). Course conducted in Italian. Readings in English and Italian.