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, Inferno; G. PARINI, Il Giorno; C.E. GADDA, La cognizione del dolore) 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 aim of Module B (in the year when we celebrate the CL anniversary of national unity) is to analyze at least the most important texts in which (from the XIV to the early XIX century) the image of Italy was fixed. Indeed, those works have contributed decisively to create a sense of collective identity, and formed a common heritage for political ‘Risorgimento’.
See:'Testi di riferimento'
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 voll., Turin (Einaudi Scuola). Inferno, Il Giorno by Parini and La cognizione del dolore 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, 1997; M.P. ELLERO-M. RESIDORI, Breve manuale di retorica, Milan, 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, 2002; G. ZACCARIA-C. BENUSSI, Per studiare la Letteratura Italiana, Milan, 2002-
Students attending the course should prepare for the exam through a careful critical reading of the texts that will be proposed and discussed by the teacher during lessons. They will also receive a series of bibliographical data on critical contributions to be used in support of the reading of these texts. Near the end of the course a precise list of the texts and essays to prepare will be published also online.
Non attending students are requested to read the following texts and essays:
1) D. ALIGHIERI, Purgatorio, or (alternatively) F. PETRARCA, Canzoniere, ed. U. Dotti (Feltrinelli) or D. Ponchiroli (Einaudi); 2) N. MACHIAVELLI, Il principe, ed. G. Inglese (Einaudi) or R. Ruggiero (BUR); 3) U. FOSCOLO, Poesie e Sepolcri, ed. D. Martinelli (Mondadori), or M. Palumbo (BUR); 4) G. LEOPARDI, Canti, ed M.M. Lombardi e F. Gavazzeni (BUR) or N. Gallo e C. Garboli (Einaudi); or (alternatively) A. MANZONI, Tragedie, ed. Ghisalberti (BUR).
It is recommended the reading of the introductory essays by the curators prepared for the issues referred to above.
A careful reading of the following contributions is also required:
1) only for students who chose to read il Purgatorio: a) U. DOTTI, La montagna incantata: il Purgatorio, in La “Divina Commedia” e la città dell'uomo, Roma, 1996, pp. 76-116; b) L. BLASUCCI, Tempo e penitenza nel Purgatorio, in «Soglie», 2 (2000) , 2, pp. 33-46. 1bis) only for students who chose to read il Canzoniere: M. SANTAGATA, Introduzione, in F. PETRARCA, Canzoniere, Milano, 2004, pp. XIV-XCV.
2) G. INGLESE, Il principe (De Principatibus) di Niccolò Machiavelli, in Letteratura Italiana. Le Opere. I: Dalle Origini al Cinquecento, Torino, 1992, pp. 889-941.
3) F. FEDI, Foscolo e i riti funebri degli antichi, in “Dei sepolcri” di Ugo Foscolo, ed G. Barbarisi and W. Spaggiari, Milano, 2006, pp. 125-46; b) P. FRARE, Una lirica nuova, cioè antica: Foscolo dalle “Poesie” ai “Sepolcri”, in Otto/Novecento», 2008, 1, pp. 1-22.
4) only for students who chose to read LEOPARDI, Canti: L. BLASUCCI, I tempi dei “Canti”, in Idem, I tempi dei “Canti”: nuovi studi leopardiani, Torino, 1996, pp. 177-218;
4bis) only for students who chose to read MANZONI, Promessi Sposi: A. STELLA, Alessandro Manzoni, in Storia della Letteratura Italiana, vol. VII: Il primo Ottocento, Roma, 1998, pp. 605-659 (§§ 1-9 inclusi).
The course of lectures will be supported by – at the request of the students – a series of textual analysis exercises in seminar form.
Assessment methods and criteria
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 Inferno, with inclusion of some formal comments; (3) completion of a test made up of 12 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.