Past Rome Courses

Photo of tabby cat reclining in front of the Colisseum in Rome.


The Department of English offers programs of study at the UW Rome Center on an ongoing basis.  Spring Quarter sessions are usually offered every other year, alternating with Comparative History of Ideas.  In recent years a Summer A-term Creative Writing seminar has been presented, available to graduate and undergraduate students.  For information on courses offered in past sessions, see below:

Summer 2001

Spring 2002

Summer 2002

Summer 2003

Spring 2004

Summer 2004

Summer 2005

Spring 2006

Summer 2006

Summer 2007

Spring 2008

Summer 2008

Summer 2009

Spring 2010

Summer 2010

Summer 2011

Summer 2012

Spring 2013

Summer 2013


 

Summer 2001

 

Instructors: Professor Shawn Wong, Chair of the Department of English and former Director of the Creative Writing Program, and Erin Malone, Creative Writing Instructor, Writer’s Program, UW Extension Program.

 

Courses

 

Students were allowed to make individual arrangements for specific course credit that met their particular program needs, but most students would have received credit for the following::

 

Graduate students:

ENGL 586: Graduate Writing Conference (5 credits)
ENGL 581: The Creative Writer as Critical Reader (5 credits)

 

Undergraduate students:

ENGL 363: Literature and the Other Arts & Disciplines (5 credits, VLPA)
ENGL 490: Study Abroad Program (5 credits, VLPA)
ENGL 493: Advanced Creative Writing Conference (3 credits)

 

Readings to include selections from Etruscan Places by D. H. Lawrence, Italian Hours by Henry James, The Marble Faun by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, Italian Days by Barbara Grizzuti Harrison, Rome: The Biography of a City by Christopher Hibbert, An Architect’s Rome by John M. McGuire, M: The Man Who Became Caravaggio by Peter Robb, and selected poetry by Shelley, Keats, Virgil, and others. Students will not only study literature, but also architecture, art history, religion, contemporary and ancient Roman history, and Italian language and culture.

 

Field trips scheduled to include visits to all the major sites, galleries, museums, and lesser-known sites in Rome and visits out of Rome to such places as Pompeii, Tivoli, Hadrian’s Villa, Orvieto, Assisi, and Perugia.

 


 

Spring 2002

 

Instructors: Professor Robert Shulman and Robert McNamara, Senior Lecturer, both of the UW Department of English.

 

Courses:

 

ENGL 490: Study Abroad: Rome, Biography of a City (5 cr.)

Professor Robert Shulman

Students in Rome, away from familiar supports and exposed to a new, very old culture, are in a good position to think about interpretations of history, politics, and literature. They are similarly well-placed to probe the relation between Rome, a city saturated in history, and America, a new country sometimes viewed as the modern Rome. To open up these issues, in this class we will consider Plutarch’s Rome (“Coriolanus,” “Mark Antony”) and Shakespeare’s Rome (Coriolanus, Antony and Cleopatra), including their views of heroism, love, and leadership. We will have a unit on Roman slavery and one on Italian fascism, both with an eye to similarities and differences with America. Fellini films and contemporary Rome will take us into the present. Hibbert’s Rome will give us an authoritative overview. On-site visits to the Forum, the Capitoline Museum, the Vatican, and the panorama of Rome’s museums, churches, and streets are an integral part of the course. (Meets upper-division elective requirement for English majors.)

 

ENGL 451: American Writers: Ezra Pound’s Italy. (5 cr.)

Professor Robert McNamara

In 1908 the American poet Ezra Pound left the U.S. (“a half-savage country, / Out of date”) to pursue a literary career in London, then in Paris. He wanted to foster an American Renaissance, and London and Paris were the places where an artist could find a live cultural tradition and begin to “make it new.”

 

In 1925 Pound left the great European capitals and moved to a small fishing village in Italy. If Italy didn’t offer Pound the kind of cultural activity that London and Paris had, it still provided him with a grand museum for the Renaissance, the period that epitomized cultural revival. And in the figure of a 15th-century soldier of fortune, Sigismund Malatesta, Italy gave Pound a hero for his Cantos; a man in a troubled time struggling to “make it new” socially and culturally. While in Italy, Pound became persuaded that political and economic reform must be part of cultural revival, and here he found examples of success: the Monte dei Paschi bank in Siena and the fascist Mussolini – for Pound, the modern incarnation of Malatesta-like energies.

 

Our course will begin by looking briefly at the America Pound hoped to rejuvenate. Then we’ll look at some of the writings that shaped his view of the Renaissance, and move on to explore -- through readings, discussion, and trips to Florence and Rimini – the art, architecture, and history of Pound’s Italy. (Meets Period 5 requirement for English Majors.)

 

ENGL 499: Independent Study (5 cr.)

Professor Shulman or Professor McNamara

Students will work with either Professor Shulman or Professor McNamara to design a project that focuses on Rome and the experience of being in Rome – a photo essay or personal essay, for example.

 


 

Summer 2002

 

Instructors: Professor Rick Kenney and Professor Linda Bierds, both of the Department of English Creative Writing Program.

 

Courses:

 

Graduate students typically receive credit in:

ENGL 586: Graduate Writing Conference (5 credits)

ENGL 581: The Creative Writer as Critical Reader (5 credits)

 

Undergraduate students typically receive credit in:

ENGL 363: Literature and the Other Arts & Disciplines (5 credits, VLPA)

ENGL 490: Study Abroad Program (5 credits, VLPA)

ENGL 493: Advanced Creative Writing Conference (3 credits)

 

There is some flexibility at both levels; consult with the English Advising Office (A-2B Padelford) and with Professors Bierds and Kenney.

 


 

Summer 2003

 

Instructors: Professor Rick Kenney of the UW Department of English, and Kevin Craft, instructor of English and Creative Writing at Everett Community College.

 

Courses:

 

Undergraduates will receive 13 credits [ENGL 363, Literature and the Arts; ENGL 490, Study Abroad Program; ENGL 493, Advanced Creative Writing Conference--with some flexibilty depending on individual student degree].

 

Graduate students should consult with Professor Kenney.

 


 

Spring 2004

 

Instructor: Professor Robert McNamara, Senior Lecturer, UW Department of English.


ENGL 451 (5 cr.)
American Writers: Ezra Pound's Italy
Professor Robert McNamara

In 1908 the American poet Ezra Pound left the U.S. ("a half-savage country, / Out of date") to pursue a literary career in London, then in Paris. He wanted to foster an American Renaissance, and London and Paris were the places where an artist could find a live cultural tradition and begin to "make it new." In 1925 Pound left the great European capitals and moved to a small fishing village in Italy. If Italy didn't offer Pound the kind of cultural activity that London and Paris had, it still provided him with a grand museum for the Renaissance, the period that epitomized cultural revival. And in the figure of a 15th-century soldier of fortune, Sigismund Malatesta, Italy gave Pound a hero for his Cantos; a man in a troubled time struggling to "make it new" socially and culturally. While in Italy, Pound became persuaded that political and economic reform must be part of cultural revival, and here he found examples of success: the Monte dei Paschi bank in Siena and the fascist Mussolini - for Pound, the modern incarnation of Malatesta-like energies. Our course will begin by looking briefly at the America Pound hoped to rejuvenate. Then we'll look at some of the writings that shaped his view of the Renaissance, and move on to explore -- through readings, discussion, and trips to Florence, Rimini, Urbino, and Mantua - the art, architecture, and history of Pound's Italy. (Meets Period 5 requirement for English Majors.)

 


ENGL 490 (5 cr.)
What I Saw: Travel Writing in Italy
Professor Robert McNamara

At its best, travel writing conveys such a clear, strong sense of place that reading it even at a distance convinces us we know the place. Reading it while visiting the place tells us more: we learn the differences between our ways of seeing and the writer's, sometimes in ways that broaden our own experience of the place. In this course, we will read a wide range of authors writing about their travels in Italy and do some writing of our own. Many short works or excerpts on the syllabus will be from classic American writers such as Twain, James, Howells and Wharton, and from British writers such as George Eliot, Dickens, and Lawrence. For the rest, we'll read contemporaries such as Patricia Hampl, Muriel Spark, Mary McCarthy, Richard Wilbur, Charles Wright, and Michael Ondaatje. As good as the readings will be, our primary focus will be on our own writing, sometimes about places central to the course of Ezra Pound's Italy, but mostly about what we're "discovering" in Rome. The writing will require some research and careful observation, and will incomparably deepen our experience abroad. (Meets upper-division elective requirement for English majors; OR may be upper-division writing course for majors following writing emphasis.)

 


Italian 199 or 299 (2 cr.)
Study Abroad -- Elementary or Intermediate

All students took a 2-credit Italian language course in Rome, with placement determined by student’s current proficiency in Italian. Previous knowledge of Italian was not a prerequisite for the program.


 

Summer 2004

 

Instructors: Professor Rick Kenney of the UW Department of English, and Kevin Craft, instructor of English and Creative Writing at Everett Community College.

 

Courses:

 

Undergraduates will receive 13 credits [ENGL 363, Literature and the Arts; ENGL 490, Study Abroad Program; ENGL 493, Advanced Creative Writing Conference--with some flexibilty depending on individual student degree].

 

Graduate students should consult with Professor Kenney.

 


Summer 2005

 

 

Instructors: Professors Linda Bierds and Rick Kenney of the UW Department of English, and Kevin Craft, instructor of English and Creative Writing at Everett Community College.

 

Courses:

 

Undergraduates will receive 13 credits [ENGL 363, Literature and the Arts; ENGL 490, Study Abroad Program; ENGL 493, Advanced Creative Writing Conference--with some flexibilty depending on individual student degree].

 

Graduate students should consult with Professor Kenney.

 


Spring 2006

ENGL 332 (5 cr.)
Romantic Hellenism
Professor Nicholas Halmi

This course will analyze the appeal and uses of classical antiquity in the literature and visual arts in the Romantic period, with particular emphasis on the multiplicity of the meanings (especially political) attributed to antiquity. Despite its designation, Romantic Hellenism as a general phenomenon had more to do with Rome than with Greece, for Rome was far more accessible and familiar to western European audiences. As a site of fallen empire, a place of pilgrimage, a repository of widely imitated artistic and architectural models, an obligatory stop in Grand Tours and artistic apprenticeships, Rome served as a powerful point of reference not only for Romantic-era artists and writers who traveled there (e.g., Coleridge, Wordsworth, Byron, Mary Shelley, Percy Shelley, and Keats among writers, Henry Fusell, John Flaxman, Sir John Soane, and J. M. W. Turner among visual artists), but also for those who did not (e.g., Blake, Anna Barbauld, and Fellicia Hemans). Not only will students be able to see first-hand the visual sources of Romantic Hellenism, but they will be confronted daily with the relation between antiquity and its commodification -- a culture of tourism and trinkets which has its origins in the beginning of the Romantic period. Considering the commodification of antiquity will provide a basis for exploring the relation of Hellenism to the closely related literary and artistic phenomena of Orientalism and the Gothic. Visits to the Capitoline and Vatican Museums, the Forum, the Baths of Caracalla (where Percy Shelley conceived Prometheus Unbound), the Protestant Cemetery (where Shelley and Keats are buried), and the Keats-Shelley Memorial House (which has a useful library as well as artifacts and MSS) will form an integral part of the course.

 


ENGL 363 or CHID 471B (5 cr.)
Romantic Aesthetics: Landscape Poetry and Landscape Art
Professor Raimonda Modiano

18th- and 19th-century England witnessed the emergence of the revolutionary aesthetics of the picturesque that led to an unprecedented interest in nature; a rejection of the formal symmetry of British garden design in favor of natural-looking landscape gardens; the predominance of landscape paintings which displaced the previously popular genres of historical or portrait paintings; and the striking preference (in both art and literature) for ruins over monuments, and destitute figures over heroes and members of the upper class. These developments were to a large extent influenced by the Grand Tour, whose object was to reach Italy in order to view the grand scenery of the Mediterranean sea and the Roman countryside. As Joseph Addison wrote, there is "no place in the world more astonishing [than Italy] in the works of nature." In addition to the interest in natural sights, travel to Italy also generated a taste for 17th-century Italian landscape paintings, especially the paintings of Claude Gelee [Lorraine]. By the middle of the 18th century the dominant taste inlandscape was Italian and several notable British landscape painters, including Richard Wilson, John Constable and J. M. W. Turner fell under the spell of Claude. In this course we shall study how poets and painters of the Romantic period responded to changes in sensibility and cultural practices brought about by the aesthetics of the picturesque (with its preference for ruins and destitutes), as well as the rival aesthetics of the sublime (with its focus on transcendence, the monumental and the heroic). Readings include selections from Aesthetic treatises (by Longinus, Edmund Burke, William Gilpin, Uvedale Price and Richard Payne Knight) and poems (by Byron, Coleridge, Keats, Percy Shelley, and Wordsworth). Site visits to art galleries and gardens inside and outside Rome will be an important component of the course.

 


CHID 471A or EURO 490 (5 credits)
Roma Eterna, Structures of Meaning
Professor Douglas Merrell

Rome, established in 753 B.C., is one of the oldest continuously inhabited urban environments in the world, which has survived through various transformations for more than 2700 years. Besides being a popular tourist destination because of its many celebrated attractions, such as the Colosseum, it constitutes a complex living museum of human cultural enterprise in which several layers of historical development can be explored in one site. As a result, Rome provides a unique setting for examining the various way sin which human communities create a sense of meaning and order through their ongoing reappropriation of the past. An inquiry into the cultural legacy of Rome will begin with its ancient and imperial foundations, and the public works which survive so prominently in contemporary Rome. The course will then consider later historical periods of Rome, including the Renaissance, the Baroque, Fascist and Contemporary Rome, and focusing on the Age of Romanticism and the Grand Tour. An analysis of Rome's legacy as the eternal citiy will be pursued through selected readings linked to specific site visits in and around the historical center of the city.

 


 

Summer 2006

 

Instructors: Professor Rick Kenney of the UW Department of English, and Kevin Craft, instructor of English and Creative Writing at Everett Community College.

 

Courses:

 

Undergraduates will receive 13 credits [ENGL 363, Literature and the Arts; ENGL 490, Study Abroad Program; ENGL 493, Advanced Creative Writing Conference--with some flexibilty depending on individual student degree].

 

Graduate students should consult with Professor Kenney.



Spring 2008


ENGL 443 (5 cr)
Special Studies in Poetry -- Virgil and Dante
Professor Henry Staten

During the first half of the quarter we will read Virgil’s Aeneid. Virgil was the greatest poet of ancient Rome; his epic poem, which became central to the education of the Roman ruling class in later centuries, recounts the legend of how Rome was founded by the hero Aeneas after Aeneas escaped from burning Troy. We will spend the rest of the quarter on The Divine Comedy of Dante. Dante’s regard for Virgil was so great that, despite the fact that Virgil was a pagan, he gave him a very special place in the Christian afterlife. When Dante enters hell, he encounters the ghost of Virgil, who then guides him down into and finally out of hell and up through purgatory, with the two carrying on a fascinating dialogue the entire way. Of particular interest to us will be the way in which in this poem Dante conceives the relation of the new, Christian Rome to the ancient Roman Empire. These two poems span the period from ancient Rome to Renaissance Italy, and our study of them will be the basis for our explorations of the history and culture of Rome. (Meets Forms and Genres OR Senior Capstone requirement for English majors.)


ENGL 363 (5 cr)
Literature and the Other Arts and Disciplines -- Renaissance Art & Culture in Rome, Florence, and Venice.
Professor Ricardo de Mambro Santos

Due to its close association with the study – and in certain cases the “rediscovery” – of ancient art, Rome played a central role in the process of codification and diffusion of the new Renaissance visual vocabulary, a role also played by Florence and Venice, respectively, in the early fifteenth and in the late sixteenth centuries. This course will explore the multiple aspects of Renaissance art and culture and the peculiarity of the arts produced in Rome, Florence, and Venice, giving particular attention to the analysis and contemporary reception of artists like Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael and Titian. Through the use of contemporary textual sources, such as Leonardo’s “Book of Painting,” Giorgio Vassari’s “Lives of the most excellent artists” or Michelangelo’s poems, it will be possible to examine the very concept of “artistic creation” as a chain of practical and intellectual activities not only individually motivated but also historically grounded, linguistically codified and socially determined. Given the unique opportunity of being in Rome or visiting Florence and Venice while undertaking the study of Renaissance art, the course will be articulated in two complementary kinds of lessons: a lecture-based series of meetings followed by group discussions and an extensive number of visits to sites particularly significant as examples of Renaissance art and architecture. .(Meets Theories and Methodologies requirement for English majors.)


ENGL 499 (2 cr)
Independent Study
Professor Staten

Each student will design an individual project that focuses on Rome and the experience of being in Rome a journal, photo essay or personal essay, for example.


ITAL 127 (3 cr)
Beginning Conversational Italian
Professor Ricardo de Mambro Santos

This course will provide students with basic conversational skills in Italian, adapted to the level of the individual student. Prior knowledge of Italian is not a requirement for the program.

 

 


 

 

 

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