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Rethinking Speculative Fiction within the Italian Literary Canon and in Language Curricula (NeMLA)

Boston, MA
Event: NeMLA
Categories: Comparative, Pedagogy, Popular Culture, Comics & Graphic Novels, Narratology, Cultural Studies, Mediterranean, Miscellaneous
Event Date: 2024-03-07 to 2024-03-10 Abstract Due: 2023-09-30

Speculative fiction and narrative genres often linger outside of the Italian literary canon. Critics and readers alike have consistently considered Italian works of horror, science fiction, and fantasy to be second rate products and they have placed them at the margins. It can be debated whether this is a matter of perceived relevance and if the vicious cycle is initiated by readers or by editors, but it is evident that Italian literature has a voice of its own and that it is not difficult to find examples of Italian science fiction or Italian horror that are worth the spotlight: from the Scapigliatura writers of the 19th Century to the New Weird authors of the past twenty years, from the short stories of Primo Levi to the novels of Dino Buzzati, from the Italian New Wave of the 1970s to the posthuman horror of the early 2000s.

When attempting an analysis and a redefinition of the Italian literary canon, one can – and perhaps should – consider the inclusion of some of these overlooked texts, which often excel in quality and that frequently offer the chance to reflect on themes as important as tolerance and diversity, alienation and self-discovery, generational clash and crisis of language.

This session is meant to gather contributions highlighting the historical and thematic significance of Italian works of speculative fiction relatively to the Italian literary canon. Which novels and short stories have gone unnoticed or have been misread? Which works of genre should be re-considered, re-evaluated, and re-positioned within the Italian literary discourse?

This session also welcomes contributions about the use of speculative fiction in the Italian language curriculum. How can speculative fiction be productively included in high-intermediate and advanced Italian language courses? What are the advantages and the disadvantages of using such texts?

Submit abstracts and brief bios at https://cfplist.com/nemla/Home/S/20444 by September 30, 2023.

For info: Alberto Iozzia, Department of Romance Studies, Boston University, ali24@pitt.edu


Alberto Iozzia