THEORY OF LITERATURE
Learning outcomes of the course unit
Knowledge and understanding.
The course will provide the students with a basic understanding of the rhetorical, thematic and ideological structures of fictional texts.
Applying knowledge and understanding.
By providing a constant guide to the activity of reading, and showing a specific interest in the single points of view, as expressed by the rewritings, the course aims at generating a peculiar consciousness of the way both characters and narrators voice one’s own vision of literature and of the world. Students should be able to apply their knowledge and interpretive skills to a wider set of texts and artistic genres, developing a learned and critical readership, or spectatorship.
By the end of the course, students should be able to apply their judgements to a theoretically grounded level of textual reading. They should also be able to show the capacity to correctly situating the texts in the epoch and cultural atmosphere which gave them life. Students will interpret them in a critically founded way, paying attention to narrative devices, themes, genres, poetics, as consistently employed by their authors.
By the end of the course, students ought to show the capacity to master the expression of textual contents, knowing how to point out and communicate the identifying and connecting elements which run across a defined series of literary texts.
Trained to read texts which belong to a cultural tradition, students should develop critical skills, in order to successfully study the contemporary literary panorama. They should also improve their judgement abilities about what they have learnt (literary-historical knowledge) in order to structure their final dissertation, as well as to prepare themselves to the reading abilities required by the second cycle of studies.
Course contents summary
Title of the course: Italy in the Fifties and the Sixties. A dynamic theory of the fictional character
After an overview of the field of literary theory, especially concerning the most productive critical trends in the now, we will move to a research-based section, centred on the post-WW2 Italian novel, from the years of reconstruction to those of the 'miracle', or 'boom'. The crisis of the character, so telling about the contemporary evolution of narrative forms, reverberates in a social landscape which is threatened by powerful transformations. Students will move from Pasolini to Volponi and Calvino, in order to acquire a significant knowledge of contemporary literature in the wake of a great historical, socio-economic and cultural transition.
1A. Bazzocchi, Personaggio e romanzo nel Novecento italiano, Bruno Mondadori, Milano 2009 (students in 'Letteratura italiana contemporanea', mod. B)
1B. Stara, L'avventura del personaggio, Le Monnier, Firenze 2004 (studenti in 'Teoria della letteratura')
Testa, Eroi e figuranti, Einaudi, Torino 2009 (as a supplement for those who will not attend the lessons)
2. Pasolini, Ragazzi di vita
3. Volponi, Memoriale
4. Ginzburg, Sagittario e Valentino
5. Calvino, La giornata d'uno scrutatore
Frontal lessons; DVD screenings (theatrical and cinematic works)
Assessment methods and criteria
Oral. Students ought to show a basic interpretive capacity. While discerning rhetorical-stylistic, thematic and ideological components of the texts, they should be able to reconstruct wider historical and theoretical contexts.