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Laura Wittman (Associate Professor)

Laura Wittman (650) 725-5243
Personal bio
Laura Wittman primarily works on 19th- and 20th-century Italian and French literature from a comparative perspective. She is interested in connections between modernity, religion, and politics. Much of her work explores the role of the ineffable, the mystical, and the body in modern poetry, philosophy, and culture. Her book, The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Modern Mourning, and the Reinvention of the Mystical Body, has just been published by the University of Toronto Press. Laura Wittman is also the editor of a special issue of the Romanic Review entitled Italy and France: Imagined Geographies (2006), as well as the co-editor of an anthology of Futurist manifestos and literary works, Futurism: An Anthology (Yale University Press, 2009). She has published articles on d'Annunzio, Marinetti, Fogazzaro, Ungaretti, Montale, and Sereni, as well as on decadent-era culture and Italian cinema. She received her Ph.D. in 2001 from Yale University where she wrote a dissertation entitled "Mystics Without God: Spirituality and Form in Italian and French Modernism." In Spring 2009, she was organizer of the California Interdisciplinary Consortium for Italian Studies (CICIS) Annual Conference, held at the Stanford Humanities Center. She was also organizer of the interdisciplinary conference on Language, Literature, and Mysticism held at the Stanford Humanities Center on 15 and 16 October 2010. She is currently working on a new book entitled Lazarus' Silence: Near-Death Experiences in Fiction, Science, and Popular Culture. It is a history of near-death experiences in the West in the twentieth century, which puts literary rewritings of the Biblical Lazarus story, by major authors such as Gabriele d'Annunzio, Luigi Pirandello, Graham Greene, Miguel de Unamuno, D. H. Lawrence, J. L. Borges, Georges Bataille, and Andre Malraux, in the double context of popular versions of coming back to life in fiction and film, and of evolving neuroscientific investigations.

Currently teaching
DLCL 219: Collaborative Teaching Project (Autumn, Winter, Spring)
FRENCH 262: Symbolism in Literature and the Arts (Spring)
FRENCH 286: Poetry and Philosophy (Winter)
FRENCH 362: Symbolism in Literature and the Arts (Spring)
FRENCH 386: Poetry and Philosophy (Winter)
ITALIAN 262: Symbolism in Literature and the Arts (Spring)
ITALIAN 286: Poetry and Philosophy (Winter)
ITALIAN 300: Italian Modernities: Lecture Series and Course (Autumn, Winter, Spring)
ITALIAN 362: Symbolism in Literature and the Arts (Spring)
ITALIAN 386: Poetry and Philosophy (Winter)
THINK 64: Healing, Illness, Stories (Winter)
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