Thursday, August 9, 2012

Ogres & Gelati

It was that time of year again. I was teaching 'Fairy Tale in Italy' at Monash's Prato campus... and eating all the gelati that obviously goes along with that assignment. 

I love teaching this unit. It allows me to discuss any number of rude bodily functions in the name of scholarship. It's a tight programme and there's a lot to cover in those two weeks, but how can you complain when your campus is Tuscany?

This year we did an additional field trip to Collodi, where there is a Pinocchio theme park. It has, we might say, seen better days, but the whale was pretty quirky.

If you ventured up the spiral staircase in his throat, you could stand on top and spy the world's tallest Pinocchio peering over the trees.

Although everyone agreed there was something rather creepy about the mechanical, bicycle riding Pinocchio figure in a dark gully. I've heard reports that nightmares were experienced.

In between teaching, I ventured out to the local museums, which I happily rated on the basis of their shoe collections. The Medieval Museum in Bologna rated particularly well, with a glass cabinet filled with medieval shoes, including pattens... Cinderella's pattens, as I like to think! No one else quite shared my excitement. Il Museo Salvatore Ferragamo in Florence was another favourite, though the shoes were considerably less ancient. The craftsmanship was still awe-inspiring and there was a Marilyn Monroe exhibit and they had this dress, which I actually write about in my book. 

I'm back in Australia now and still teaching fairy tales. We've just covered the women of the ancien regime and I'm finishing up the lecture slides for the 1001 Nights. I'm hoping to finalise those today, because on Monday I'm planning to be off to the Rodgers and Hammerstein conference. I'm catching up on my musical theatre research, which was put aside for a while there. But more on that next blog post!

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