FRENCH LITERATURE II
Learning outcomes of the course unit
Through the analysis of The Unkmown Masterpiece in Balzac's production of the Thirties, students will obtain a general perspective on the novelist's mind set. They will learn to identify his fundamental notions and relate them to the Romantic aesthetics. Confronting the contradictions and the "clivages" of Balzac's art and philosophy, they will realise that the image of Balzac the Realist, substantiated by manuals and repertoires, is insufficient. By getting a sense of the complexity of Balzac's "oeuvre", they will be able to understand the impact it had on the twentieth century, specifically thanks to Picasso's illustrations.Student will also refine their ability to
- identify the formal and generic characteristics of the texts, and to relate them to the cultural
background of the time and the contemporary debate about the arts;
- find independently additional information and bibliography on the topics using both print and digital
- make motivated judgments based on a careful decoding of the text;
- extend also to other texts the critical reading skills acquired during the course, addressing the
relationship between an author’s poetry and the aesthetic trends of his time.
Course contents summary
The course will analyse Balzac's "Le chef d'oeuvre inconnu", placing it within the context of the author's life and his works. Beginning with a close analysis of the text, we shall consider Balzac's ideas on art and the relationship between art and reality, The course will also provide the necessary tools to compare the two images of Balzac present in the critical tradition (Balzac the Realist and Balzac the Visionary); it will connect Balzac's aesthetics to the Romantic one and, on the basis of Picsso's illustrations to The Unknown Masterpiece, it will provide some cause for reflection on the modernity of the novelist's art.
Balzac, Il capolavoro sconosciuto/ Le Chef d'oeuvre inconnu , BUR o Aragno
Traditional.The course consists of lectures, during which the presentation of historical and literary contents will be
supplemented by commentary and analysis of extracts from texts in the original language. The LEA
platform will be used in order to make available critical materials and offer bibliographical suggestions
to enable students to carry out personal investigations of the course content.
Assessment methods and criteria
Oral examination. During the examination, students should be able to contextualise them in the general overview of the author, while giving his precise temporal coordinates.They should also be able to connect the author's fundamental notions tothe general context of Romanticism and be able to explain how the modernity of The Unknown Masterpiece was received by Picasso.
The knowledge acquired during the course will be assessed through an oral exam in Italian. Specialist
students of French will be asked to read and translate passages in the texts studied in the original
language. The following knowledge and skills will be assessed:
- knowledge about the authors and works covered in the course and their accurate insertion into
historical and cultural contexts;
- the ability to express content in correct Italian, using the appropriate terminology of literary studies;
- an adequate level in the ability to analyze and rework the basic contents in an autonomous way.
A fail is determined by the absence, demonstrated by the student during the oral examination, of the
ability to understand the basic contents of the course, the lack of autonomous preparation and the
inability to solve problems related to information retrieval and the decoding of complex texts, as well
as the formulation of independent judgments.
A pass (18-23/30) is determined by the ability, demonstrated by the student, to have acquired the
basic content of the course, a sufficient level of autonomous preparation, an acceptable ability to solve
problems related to information retrieval and the decoding of texts, as well as the formulation of
independent judgment. Middle-range marks (24-27/30) are assigned to those student who produce
evidence of more than sufficient (24-25/30) or good (26-27/30) levels in the evaluation indicators
listed above. Upper-end marks (from 28/30 to 30/30 cum laude) are awarded on the basis of the
demonstration of a very good to an excellent level in the evaluation indicators listed above.