To the English and American literary imagination, Italy has long been a source of fascination. During the past hundred years, writers from Nathaniel Hawthorne to Frances Mayes have explored the broad range of contradictory resonances of the Italian setting, in fiction, travel essays, and memoirs. While some writers have celebrated the sensuality of Italian culture and landscape, others have imagined Italy as a more dangerous place -- as dangerous as the erotic love with which it is often identified. The range of literary responses to Italy by writers in English during the past hundred years will be examined, and the ways in which our culture has continued to construct myths of Italy will be explored. We will also see how these myths have been transformed into commodities in today's consumer culture, making "Italy" one of the most profitable fictions in the marketplace. Taught in English.