Learning outcomes of the course unit
The course is designed to encourage skills in textual interpretation, highlighting its relations to other cultural aspects (imagination, mentality, the system of values of the respective period). The thematic approach is designed accordingly, with the inclusion of documents that are not just literary, but also historical and iconographical.
Summary knowledge of the principal movements and writers of modern Italian literature, above all as regards the 18th and 19th centuries.
Course contents summary
The course will analyse the way in which literature, particularly in the late 18th-early 19th centuries, (but with some important precedents in Renaissance culture), depicted young people and youth, giving what could be considered as purely an objective and numerical aspect of existence an aura that became a sort of literary legend, with multiple senses of meaning and connotations, linked in various ways to the historical and social conditions of the time, and to the epochal changes occurring in Europe.
Attention will be progressively extended towards later periods, by means of the comparisons of models and types, involving various literary genres: the educational novel, autobiography, children's literature.
The selected readings will be based mainly on Italian literature, though including comparisons with European authors and writings.
The course intends above all to highlight the complex interactions between imagination and society, and between literary forms and historical and social dynamics, while never overlooking the specific characteristics of a given literary text and its 'systematic' peculiarities. Alongside the writers to whom the course will dedicate greatest attention (such as Alfieri, Goethe, Foscolo, Balzac, De Musset, Nievo, De Amicis, and D’Annunzio), iconographical documents and historical descriptions will also be considered.
Readings from the following authors will be studied:
Alfieri, Filippo; Vita.
Goethe, I dolori del giovane Werther.
Foscolo, Le ultime lettere di Jacopo Ortis.
Balzac, Le illusioni perdute.
De Musset, Confessioni di un figlio del secolo
Nievo, Le confessioni di un italiano
De Amicis, Cuore
P.P. Pasolini, Il sogno di una cosa; Una vita violenta.
Selected excerpts, provided during lessons, from D'Annunzio, Collodi, Vamba, Calvino, and Fenoglio
G. Levi and J-C. Schmitt (ed.), Storia dei giovani, Laterza, Bari-Rome, 2000, 2 volumes (a number of essays from this text will be specified during lessons, and their reading is obligatory).
P. Sorcinelli and A. Varni (ed.), Il secolo dei giovani, Donzelli, Rome, 2004
Further critical bibliographical references on individual writers will be provided during lessons.
Frontal lessons. Oral examination.