09 Mar 2021
13:00  - 14:00

online Zoom meeting

Public event, Colloquium

From E.M. Forster to Harlequin Short Contemporaries: The Making of Italy in Anglophone Literary and Popular Fiction

Dr. Francesca Pierini (Universität Basel)

This project explores the literary construction and representation of Italian otherness in Anglophone literary and popular fiction from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present day. It sets itself the goals of challenging and problematizing the politics of identity centred on a North-South divide that shapes the collective imaginary of our time, while also questioning preconceived notions of what constitutes ‘literature worth reading.’

Designed as an assessment of the depiction of Italian culture in modern and contemporary Anglophone literature, this work will engage in a discursive analysis of significant instances of canonized modern and contemporary Anglophone texts (by E.M. Forster, Daphne du Maurier, Ian McEwan, Sarah Hall) as well as particularly commercial brands of Anglophone popular fiction (historical romance novels, Harlequin short contemporaries, Harlequin manga). The main theoretical assumption at the basis of this approach is that highly diverse texts, meant for different audiences, can be worthy venues of inquiry into processes of identity formation and cultural representation. My research will highlight the process by which cultures are taxonomically perceived and organized within a global context. Awareness of such a process will contribute to question, rather than reiterate, established hierarchies between the European North and South as well as preconceived notions of high and popular literature.

If you would like to listen to this talk, please contact Dr. Pierini to obtain the necessary Zoom link.

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