French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Catalan


The robust faculty of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures have expertise in the language, literature, and culture of the French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Catalan languages. The Department encourages the study of literary history, established and current critical methodologies, literary theory and analysis, the sociology of literature, literature and history, cultural studies, films, and foreign language acquisition and pedagogy. MAPH students interested in Romance Languages and Literatures may supplement their MAPH year with courses in Art History, Comparative Literature, English Language and Literature, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Poetry and Poetics, and Theater and Performance Studies.

Selected Faculty

Daisy Delogu

Daisy Delogu

French Literature, French and Francophone Studies, Medieval Studies
Martha Feldman

Martha Feldman

Italian Studies, European Vernacular Music, ca.1500-1950, Theater and Performance Studies

Sample Courses

SPAN 38810 - Empire, Slavery, Salvation: Writing Difference in the Colonial Americas (Larissa Brewer-García)
This course explores portrayals of human difference in literature, travel writing, painting, and autobiography from Spain, England, and the Americas. Students will become versed in debates surrounding the emergence of human distinctions based on religion, race, and ethnicity in the early modern era. Understanding these debates and the history surrounding them is crucial to participating in informed discussion, research, and activism regarding issues of race, empire, and colonialism across time and space.

SPAN 34200 - Cervantes' Novelas ejemplares & the mysteries of narrative (Frederick de Armas)
This course will re-assess Cervantes’ Novelas ejemplares. The course will take as a point of departure two statements made in the Prologue to the collection: that this was the first such collection in Spanish; and that it contains hidden mysteries. Thus, we will study the Novelas in the context of the Italian novelle by Boccaccio and Bandello to assess their originality. And we will look for the mysteries in narrative through ekphrasis, onomastics, disruptions in chronology, the doubling of a historical present, the subversion of the romance mode and the geographical amplitude of the tales. The course will conclude with a look at later Spanish novelas in order to gain further insight as to Cervantes’ innovative techniques. 

ITAL 34920 - Primo Levi (Maria Anna Mariani)
Witness, novelist, essayist, translator, linguist, chemist, and even entomologist. Primo Levi is a polyhedral author, and this course revisits his work in all its facets. We will privilege the most hybrid of his texts: The Search for Roots, an anthology that collects the author’s favorite readings--a book assembled through the books of the others, but which represents Levi’s most authentic portrait. By using this work as an entry point into Levi’s universe, we will later explore his other texts, addressing issues such as the unsettling relationship between survival and testimony, the “sinful” choice of fiction, the oblique path towards autobiography, and the paradoxes of witnessing by proxy.

FREN 48017 - Phaedras Compared: Adaptation, Gender, Tragic Form (Larry Norman and David Wray)
This seminar places Racine’s French neoclassical tragedy Phaedra within a wide-ranging series of adaptations of the ancient myth, from its Greek and Latin sources (Euripides, Seneca, Ovid) to twentieth-century and contemporary translations and stage adaptations (Ted Hughes, Sarah Kane), read along with a series of theoretical and critical texts. Particular attention will be paid to critical paradigms and approaches in the evolving fields of classical reception studies, theater and performance studies, and gender studies.

A complete listing of offerings is available at the Department’s course page.

Recent Romance Languages and Literatures Thesis Projects

"Interpreting Vallejo: Three English Translations of Cesar Vallejo’s Poem XLV"
Rebecca Kosick, MAPH '06
Advisor: Austin Kelly

"Reading as Translating, Translating as Reading: a New Translation of 'Pierre Menard, autor del Quixote'"
Sara Corona Goldstein, MAPH '12
Advisor: Mario Santana

"Traces of Colonization and Environmentalism in the Works of Luis Sepulveda"
María Padilla, MAPH '17
Advisor: Victoria Saramago