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: Short stories, complex architectures. A narrative path through Contemporary Italian Literature
Starting from an example of Italian modernism (Tozzi), the course will deal with a problem of theory of literary genres, i.e. how to look at the part as well as at the whole, or, the short stories and the wider narrative forms that encompass them? Through some exemplary cases of the second half of the Twentieth Century, the course will provide keys to the reading of classics in contemporary short fiction. The analysis, from a both thematic and stylistic point of view, will also regard the macrostructural form, will include a historic overview of Italian short fiction writing (the tradition of novella), as well as a comparative one (the rise of the short story between the Nineteenth and the Twentieth Century).
1a. Elisabetta Menetti (a cura di), Le forme brevi della narrativa, Carocci 2018 (students of Lettere).
1b. Franco Brioschi, Costanzo Di Girolamo, Massimo Fusillo, Introduzione alla letteratura, Carocci 2013 (students of Civiltà e lingue straniere, except chapters 2-3 “Stilistica e retorica” e “Modi della poesia”).
2. Tozzi, Giovani, a cura di G. Bertoncini, Quodlibet
3. Ginzburg, Le piccole virtù, Einaudi
4. Parise, Sillabari, Adelphi
5. Levi, Il sistema periodico, Einaudi
Non-attending students will add Calvino, Le città invisibili (Mondadori).
All students will prepare supplementary didactic material, which can be downloaded by the platform 'Elly' (CdL Lettere > second year > Teoria della letteratura)
Frontal lessons; DVD screenings (cinematic works). The course is also offered in a blended way on the distance learning platform called Elly.
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.
A fail is determined by the lack of an understanding of the minimum content of the course, the inability to express oneself adequately, by a lack of autonomous preparation, the inability to solve problems related to information retrieval and the decoding of complex texts, as well as an inability to make independent judgments. A pass (18-23/30) is determined by the student’s possession of the minimum, fundamental contents of the course, an adequate level of autonomous preparation and ability to solve problems related to information retrieval and the decoding of complex texts, as well as an acceptable level of ability in making independent judgments. Middle-range scores (24-27/30) are assigned to the student who produces evidence of a more than sufficient level (24-25/30) or good level (26-27/30) in the evaluation indicators listed above. Higher scores (from 28/30 to 30/30 cum laude) are awarded on the basis of the student’s demonstration of a very good or excellent level in the evaluation indicators listed above.