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  • Discipline(s): English
  • Available: Fall Semester Spring Semester
  • Course Type: Courses with Service Learning
  • Taught in: English
  • Credits: 3
  • Course Travel: Visit to Umbrian food producers and local school

ENG 325: From Literature to Social Media: Reading and Writing Italian Food

Note: This course was formerly ISLI 330.

Course Description
This creative writing/literature course focuses on one important aspect (present in both fiction and non-fiction writing): the expression and description of sensory experiences through words. Part of the course will,through close readings and analysis of selected texts from Italian literature, look at how food and drink have been used in fiction to heighten the mimetic experience by adding realism, serving as a vehicle for plot development, or being used as symbol and/or metaphor. The other half of the course will investigate non-fictional food writings such as food memories/autobiographies/biographies, food travel, food adventure, narrative cookbooks, and investigative food writing. Examining literature as well as non-fictional food writings, students will discover that the art of writing about food and drink involves not only an interest in the gustatory experience, but also an ability to translate sensory experiences into words.

Students in this course will find their own voices in the form of fiction and non-fiction creative writing assignments for different audiences, including children. They will demonstrate an understanding of literary devices, figures of speech and sound patterns through actual use in writing. This course will stress close reading of selected texts and stimulate creativity and critical expressive thought in an academic environment.

Course Objectives
This course will stress close reading of selected texts and stimulate creativity and critical thought in an academic environment. Careful attention will be given to choice of language, historical, and political implications, as well as the overall “message” of the work.

By the end of this course, you will:

  • have initiated, researched, and written short pieces of original writing ranging from poetry to fictional and non-fictional short stories;
  • become aware of the connections between creativity, structure, and discipline;
  • have analyzed traditional and non-traditional texts;
  • have a good understanding of the principles of narratology and narrative theory; and
  • be able to discuss the specific course topic critically and confidently.

Service Learning Project Description
In this course, you will meet with the Umbrian producers and participate in tastings of local products, which will serve as the basis for one of the course’s creative writing assignments. You will then transform your experience during the visits into a children’s story on food in both English and Italian. To conclude the project, you will share your creative piece at “Apriti, scuola!”, a weekly multi-lingual children’s reading hosted by “Il Castello Rotondo” Elementary School. At the end of the semester, you will present your work to the Umbra community.

Course Materials

  1. Textbook: Stoeger, Melissa Brackney. Food lit: a Readers Guide to Epicurean Nonfiction. Libraries Unlimited, 2013. (on reserve at the Umbra Library)
  2. Novel: Suzanne Carreiro. The Dog Who Ate the Truffle: A Memoir of Stories and Recipes from Umbria. New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2010.
  3. course reader of selected narrative and scholarly texts.Course reader available at local copy shop. See “Umbra Institute Course Materials – Textbooks and Readers” handout provided in the orientation folder for more information.
  4. Each student will be required to purchase one additional books (paperback editions) for final student presentations.