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Maria Truglio

Professor of Italian and Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies

152 Burrowes
University Park , PA 16802
Office Phone: (814) 865-1155

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Maria Truglio is a Professor of Italian and Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies. She earned her BA from Wesleyan University in 1992, and her MA (1996) and PhD (2001) from Yale University. Dr. Truglio’s research interests include 19th- and 20th- century Italian literature, children’s literature, and critical methodologies, especially psychoanalysis, semiotics, and post-structuralism.

In her book, Beyond the Family Romance: The Legend of Pascoli (University of Toronto Press, 2007), she offers a psychoanalytic perspective of the work of Giovanni Pascoli (1855-1912), one of Italy’s most celebrated and innovative poets, with a particular focus on the uncanny. In her study, she examines how Pascoli and Freud interrogate the question of “origins,” manifested in such images as the maternal, the Golden Age, and childhood, and investigates the literature of the Scapigliatura as a precursor to Pascoli’s uncanny poetry.

In addition to her work on Pascoli and on Italian gothic writers, Dr. Truglio has published articles on Primo Levi’s Se questo è un uomo, Melania Mazzucco’s Vita, and on the children’s books of Annie Vivanti, Dino Buzzati, Umberto Eco and Eugenio Carmi, Eugenio Cherubini, Francesco D’Adamo, as well as on the representation of Giuseppe Garibaldi in children’s books before the First World War. This research has been published in journals such as Forum ItalicumQuaderni d’italianisticaRomanic ReviewMLN: Modern Language Notes, California Italian Studies, Italian Quarterly, Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, and Children’s Literature. She has contributed an essay to the MLA’s volume on Teaching Pinocchio. Her book project, Italian Children’s Literature and National Identity: Childhood, Melancholy, Modernity was published by Routledge’s Children’s Literature and Culture Series in 2017. The book explores children’s literature in Italy from the unification period though the rise fascism. This research has received funding from the Children’s Literature Association and from Penn State’s Institute for the Arts and Humanities.  Her current project examines how contemporary books for children in Italy represent migration, and has recevied support from the Children’s Literature Association and Penn State’s Centre for Global Studies.

With Dr. Nicolás Fernández-Medina, she is the co-founder of the Spanish and Italian Modernist Studies Forum at Penn State. She and Dr. Fernández-Medina are co-editors of the volume Modernism and the Avant-garde Body in Spain and Italy (Routledge, 2016), to which she also contributed a chapter on Massimo Bontempelli’s magical realist children’s book.

Dr. Truglio teaches a range of courses that include topics such as Romanticism in Italy, Women Writers, Italian-American culture, Italian theater, advanced language development, and turn-of-the-century literature.  Her interdisciplinary teaching initiatives have been supported by from the IAH. She received a “bridging the classroom” grant for a collaboration between her undergraduate seminar on children’s literature and an advanced sculpture class. Students translated several 19th-century Sicilian fairy tales and created original artwork that interpreted those stories. The semester culminated in a public exhibit of the texts and sculptures at the Down Town Theater. A “team-teaching” grant funded her co-taught graduate seminar with Dr. Fernández-Medina on Literature in Spain and Italy. This course included four salons open to the public as part of the IAH’s “Moments of Change” program which explored the period 1889-1914. Dr. Truglio received an Outstanding Teaching Award from the College of Liberal Arts in 2010, and the Malvin E. and Lea P. Bank Outstanding Teaching Award from the College in 2014. In 2020-2021 she is serving as faculty coordinator for Penn State's Redesigning Modernities project.


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