Sport in Italian Literature and Arts I


Italian / Interdisciplinary Humanities

Francesco Brenna (Towson University)

This panel examines the relationship between sport and Italian literature. It also welcomes papers on literary and artistic aspects of sport in journalism, the visual arts, and cinema.

Although sport has never been a major theme in Italian literature, we find it in several works by a number of important authors—from the description of duels and jousts in Italian epic romances, to Leopardi’s A un vincitore nel pallone, to De Amicis’ declaration of love to the pallone da braccio in Gli azzurri e i rossi, to the five poems on soccer by Saba, to the lyrics by such Lombard poets as Sereni, Erba, and Raboni. The same is true of the visual arts, from Futurism (Boccioni’s Dinamismo di un giocatore di calcio), to metaphysical art (Carrà’s La partita di calcio), to Neorealism (Guttuso’s paintings on soccer). As for cinema, we glimpse sport in Neorealist movies (from Rossellini’s Roma città aperta to De Sica’s Ladri di biciclette), and we later find it as a subject of a number of comedies, from Fantozzi to Abatantuono.

Although we find scholarly contributions on the presence of sport in Italian literature in the last decades of the twentieth century, it is only in the past fifteen years that that this subject has received considerable critical attention (see, for example, the two conferences Letteratura e sport in Rome in 2001 and Alessandria in 2005 and the anthology Il calcio è poesia edited by Surdich and Brambilla in 2006).

This panel seeks to contribute to the studies on sport and Italian literature, a fascinating subject that has often been considered marginal. Not only are such studies relevant to a critical understanding of major works of Italian literature, but also they have great pedagogical and educational potential, given the passion of millions of people for sport in every culture, and particularly in the US.
This panel is dedicated to the relationship between sport and Italian literature. How is sport portrayed in Italian literature? How does it function within a literary work? Is sport employed only as metaphors and to add a touch of color, or does it have deeper meanings? What can it tell us about an author? Papers on literary and artistic aspects of sport in journalism or various media, as well as on sport and the visual arts, cinema, etc., are welcome.