Learning outcomes of the course unit
The basic goal of module A is to enable students to handle reading of a literary text, correctly evaluating its formal characteristics and appropriately placing it in the context of the cultural panorama of the era.
The monographic module B then provides the possibility for an in-depth critical-thematic study and presents the students with one of the possible research methods.
Knowledge of correct Italian orthography and the ability to express oneself in writing without serious syntax errors are indispensable prerequisites of this course. Students, even if attending, who know that they lack familiarity with the reading and writing of literary tests are advised to consult one of the teaching guides indicated in the bibliography in advance (module A). Foreign students who did not attend secondary school in Italy are asked to meet with the teacher in order to set up an individual catch-up plan.
Course contents summary
The course is organised in two modules, core content (A) and monographic (B).
In the first, students are presented with an approach to the main authors and milestones of Italian literary history through a series of introductory lessons on theory-method, followed by an in-depth study of three classics to be read in their entirety. The selected works (D. ALIGHIERI, Paradiso; F. PETRARCA, Canzoniere; V. ALFIERI, Della Tirannide) will be placed in context and presented critically in class, widening the discussion as much as possible to related authors and themes, and also tackled directly through reading and commentary in class several portions of particular significance of the texts.
The objective of Module B is to present a critical approach to the work of Leopardi, devoting particular attention to the form of the prose, from his early essays to Zibaldone, from Operette to Pensieri. In particular the module will seek to bring into focus the leopardian attempt to give birth to a ‘modern’ prose, critically evaluating the established relationship with the most illustrious models of Italian tradition.
Module A: to learn about the outlines of Literary History (from its origins to Neo-realism) students are advised to refer to G. FERRONI, Profilo storico della Letteratura Italiana, 2 vol., Turin, Einaudi Scuola.
Paradiso, Canzoniere di Petrarca and the treatise Della tirannide are to be read in any paperback edition with good commentary.
For an optional investigation into the problems of meter and rhetoric, consider choosing two of the many good manuals available on the market for example P.G. BELTRAMI, Gli strumenti della poesia, Milan, Bompiani, 1997; M.P. ELLERO-M. RESIDORI, Breve manuale di retorica, Milan, Sansoni 2001. Non-attending students, or students who are aware that they are seriously lacking in basic knowledge (see the Prerequisites field) can obtain introductory information useful for the study of Italian Literature from one of the following collections: L. CHINES-C. VAROTTI, Che cos’è un testo letterario, Rome, Carocci, 2002; G. ZACCARIA-C. BENUSSI, Per studiare la Letteratura Italiana, Milan, Bruno Mondadori, 2002.
Texts: GIACOMO LEOPARDI (1) Le Operette morali; (2) Discorso sopra lo stato presente dei costumi degli italiani; (3) Pensieri; (4) Canti. All the texts are to be read in any good value edition with adequate commentary. A wide choice of Zibaldone will be given during the lessons.
Essays: (1) G. PANIZZA, Premessa alla lettura, in G. LEOPARDI, Operette morali, ed. G. Panizza, Milan, Bruno Mondadori 1991, pg. V-XVIII. (2) L. CELLERINO, L’ironia delle “Operette Morali”, in EAD., Sentieri per capre. Percorsi e scorciatoie della prosa d’invenzione morale, L’Aquila, Japadre 1992, pg. 63-134. (3) G. SANGIRARDI, Luciano dalle ‘prosette satiriche’ alle “Operette morali”, in Il riso leopardiano, Atti del IX Convegno Leopardiano (Recanati 1995), Florence, Olschki 1998 (4) L. BLASUCCI, I registri della prosa: Zibaldone, Operette, Pensie ri, in Lo Zibaldone cent’anni dopo. Composizione, edizioni, temi, Atti del X Convegno Leopardiano (Recanati 1998), Florence, Olschki 2001, pg. 17-35. (5) R. BONAVITA, L'autenticità è apocrifa. Lingua e stile nel “Discorso di un italiano intorno alla poesia romantica” di Giacomo Leopardi, «Strumenti critici», 2001, 2, pg. 261-95. (6) G. SANGIRARDI, Profilo di Leopardi prosatore, in «Italies», 2003, pg. 61-88.
For those not attending: Students who with good reason are unable to attend lectures are asked to contact the lecturer directly.
The course of lectures will be supported by – at the request of the students – a series of textual analysis exercises in seminar form.
For students who take the exam as their first or only in Italian Literature, this consists of a written exam (6 credits: see the Bibliography for module A) plus an oral exam (6 credits: see the Bibliography for module B).
The written exam consists of: (1) writing of a brief composition (from 30 to 60 lines) on an assigned topic; (2) paraphrase of a passage of Dante’s Paradiso, with inclusion of some formal comments; (3) completion of a test made up of 10 questions about the texts introduced in class (in module A, core content) for an integral and in-depth reading and the fundamentals of textual analysis.
The oral evaluation consists of an oral exam on the subjects tackled in the monographic module.