ITALIAN LITERARY CRITICISM
Learning outcomes of the course unit
The course aims to illustrate the complex dynamics, politics, ideology and customs that characterized the public debate on mental illness and the institution of the psychiatric hospital in the 1960s and 1970s. Alongside the work of writers and poets, such as Tobino and Merini, of a philosopher (Foucault), multiple typologies of writings and speeches will be analyzed: reportage and journalistic investigation, popular essay by the experts (writings by Basaglia and major exponents of antipsychiatry: David Cooper and Robert Laing), not without forgetting cinematographic experience (Ken Loach and Nelo Risi). The topic investigated during the course will thus allow to identify a significant link between some important items of the literature of the near past and a public debate that was very lively and that touched aspects that were highly indicative of the 'spirit of the time'.
- Objectives according to the Dublin Descriptors: Ability to apply knowledge and understanding; Making judgments; Improvement of the ability to elaborate one's knowledge, both oral and written, in a clear and reasonably effective way (communication skills).
A general knowledge of post-war italian History and Literature in required.
Course contents summary
The course focuses mainly on two writers who had direct experience of mental illness and internment: the first, Tobino, as a psychiatrist and director of asylums; the second because spent many yearsi n a psychiatric hospital and on this experience he made poetry and storytelling.
Tobino and Merini's work is inscribed against the background of the lively discussions that (in Italy and abroad) were animated by psychiatrists, sociologists and journalists on the mental institution, starting from the sixties, up to the famous and discussed law 180 of 1980, that abolished asylums.
The course is divided in three sections.
First section is about narrative works of Mario Tobino. His most famous books will be particularly considered: both about asylums: Le libere donne di Magliano (1953) e Per le antiche scale (1975).
The second part will examine the poetic work (particularly La terra santa) and narrative work (L’altra verità. Diario di una diversa) of Alda Merini.
The third part will analise asylums as institution that generated a rich debate (phlilosphical; cultural and political) during Sixties and Seventies: when the ideas of antipsychiatry were linked to philosophical thought about social control (Foucault) and they were the subject of lively debats that influenced common mentality and involved mass media (cinema and television), and hat effects on italian legislation.
The specific critical bibliography will be given students during course, and it will be made available on Elly Platform.
75% of scheduled lessons will be frontal lessons.
25 % of scheduled lessons will be a workshop’s form. Students will work together on the texts, by the aim to encourage individual judgement, in finding main ideological structures; textual aporias; critical outcomes
Assessment methods and criteria