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IT9 Reading List

General introductory bibliography

  • Roland Barthes, Stephen Heath, trans. Image, Music, Text (London: Fontana Press, 1977)
  • W. J. T. Mitchell, 'Ekphrasis and the "Other"', in his Picture Theory, Chicago, 1994.
  • 'Interdisciplinarity and Visual Culture', Art Bulletin, Vol. LXXVII, No. 4: 540-44.
  • 'What is an Image?, New Literary History, Vol. 15, No. 3, (Spring, 1984): 503-537.
  • Renée Riese Hubert, 'An Introduction to the Artist's Book: The Text and Its Rivals', Visible Language, Vol. 25, no. 2-3, Spring 1991, pp. 117-136.
  • Jean Khalfa, The Dialogue Between Painting and Poetry. Livres d'Artiste 1874-1999, Cambridge, 2001.
  • Mark Cruse, Illuminating the Roman d'Alexander in MS Bodley 264: The Manuscript as Monument. D.S. Brewer, 2011.
  • Marilynn Desmond and Pamela Sheingorn, Myth, Montage and Visuality in Late Medieval Manuscript Culture.
  • Marilynn Desmond, "The Visuality of Reading in Pre-Modern Textual Cultures," The Australian Journal of French Studies, "New Directions in French Medieval Studies," ed. Sharon Kinoshita. 46(2009), pp. 219-234.
  • Marilynn Desmond, "The Goddess Diana and the Ethics of Reading in the Ovide moralisé," in Metamorphoses: The Changing Face of Ovid in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, ed. Alison Keith and Stephen Rupp. Toronto: Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, 2007. pp. 61-75.
  • Elina Gertsman & Jill Stevenson, On the Threshold of Medieval Visual Cultures: Liminal Spaces. Boydell Brewer, 2012.
  • Giuliana Minghelli, The Modern Image: Intersections of Photography, Cinema and Literature in Italian Culture, special issue of L'anello che non tiene, 2009.
  • The Anjou Bible: A Royal Manuscript Revealed. Naples 1340. Ed. L. Watteeuw, L and J. Vander Stock. Peeters Publishers, 2010.

1. Illustrating Dante

Dante’s Commedia is a highly interactable text, one that invites the reader to actively and imaginatively participate in the construction of its meaning. The poem’s nearly 700-year long history of illustration and creative response is testament to this, from early manuscript illuminations and Botticelli’s 15th century line drawings to the powerful, individual interpretations of Flaxman, Doré, Blake, Dalì and Rauschenberg (amongst others), and now in the twenty-first century, to re-imaginings as diverse as Monika Beisner’s Sienese school-style miniatures, Birk and Sanders’ re-situating of Inferno in Los Angeles, and a gesturing towards interactive possibilities set up by (but not yet paid off in) videogames such as Electronic Arts’ Dante’s Inferno.

Engaging with illustrations as clues to modes of reading offers a particularly powerful insight into the role of culture and context in shaping ways of seeing and of deriving meaning. By referencing new theory from cognitive poetics and videogame criticism to read four key episodes in the poem across text and image, this module will explore how engaging critically with artists’ readings of the Commedia can defamiliarise and radically enrich our own.

Primary texts:

  • Dante, Commedia: Inferno 16-18 (descent on Geryon and map of Malebolge); Purgatorio 29 (chariot); Paradiso 12-13 (dance of the stars); Purgatorio 10 (visibile parlare).
  • John Berger, first essay (‘1’) in Ways of Seeing (Penguin: London. 1972. pp.7-33).
  • Peter Hawkins, ‘The Artist’s Dante’ and ‘What Next?’, in Dante: A Brief History (Blackwell: Oxford. 2006. pp.149-166).

Secondary texts (short extracts, recommended reading):

  • Emily Troscianko, 'Reading Imaginatively: The Imagination in Cognitive Science and Cognitive Literary Studies', Journal of Literary Semantics, 2013, 42(2) (pp.181-198).
  • Henry Jenkins, Convergence Culture (New York: New York University Press, 2006). Introduction (pp.1-24).

2. Representing the Author in the Renaissance: Verbal and Visual Portraits and Self-Portraits (new topic)

Reading list to follow shortly

3. Bruno Munari

Primary texts:

  • Bruno Munari, Arte come mestiere
  • Bruno Munari, Artista e Designer
  • Bruno Munari, Da cosa nasce cosa

Secondary reading:

  • Bruno Munari: My Futurist Past, Miroslava Hajek and Luca Zaffarano eds. Milan: Silvana, 2012.
  • Bruno Munari, Luigi Veronesi : tra fantasia e metodo.
  • Tinguely e Munari : opere in azione, a cura di Bruno Corà
  • Tanchis, Aldo. Bruno Munari. From Futurism to Post-industrial Design. London: Lund Humphries, 1986.
  • P. Antonello, 'Beyond Futurism: Bruno Munari's Useless Machines' in G. Berghaus (ed.), Futurism and Technological Imagination. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2009: 313-34. Longer web version:
  • Matteo Vercelloni, Breve storia del design italiano
  • Renato De Fusco, Made in Italy. Storia del design italiano

4. Pasolini Between Text, Image And Film

Primary works by Pasolini:


  • Accattone (1961)
  • Mamma Roma (1962)
  • La ricotta (1963)
  • Porcile (1969)
  • Decameron (1971)
  • Salò (1975)


  • ‘Il pianto della scavatrice’ (From Le ceneri di Gramsci)
  • Porcile (play) (1968)
  • Empirismo eretico (1970, focus on film theoretical essays)
  • Screenplays for Accattone and Mamma Roma
  • Lettere luterane (1976)

Secondary reading:

  • Z. Baranski, "The Texts of " Il Vangelo secondo Matteo," in Pasolini Old and New. Surveys and Studies, ed. Z.G. Baranski, Dublin: Four Courts Press, 1999, pp. 281-32
  • Leo Bersani and Ulysse Dutoit, “Merde Alors,” October 13 (Summer 1980), 22-35
  • N. Greene, Pier Paolo Pasolini. Cinema as Heresy, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990.
  • R. Gordon, Pasolini. Forms of Subjectivity (OUP, 1996)
  • A. Maggi, The Resurrection of the Body. Pasolini from Saint Paul to Sade (Chicago UP, 2009)
  • A. Marchesini, Citazioni pittoriche nel cinema di Pasolini (Nuova Italia, 1994)
  • John David Rhodes, Stupendous, Miserable City: Pasolini’s Rome (Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 2007)
  • John David Rhodes, “Watchable Bodies: Salò’s young non-actors,” Screen 53:4 (Winter 2012), 453-58
  • Susan Sontag, 'Fascinating Fascism', in Susan Sontag, Under the Sign of Saturn (New York 1981), 73-105
  • M. Viano, A Certain Realism. Making Use of Pasolini's Film Theory and Practice, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993.