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 literary, dramatic, and cinematic texts. Moreover, they should be able to acquire a profound knowledge of two critical themes, particularly relevant to the current debate on contemporary literatures: the classical reception, and the practice of rewriting.
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 the classical tradition, as well as to a wider set of texts and artistic genres, developing a learned and critical spectatorship.
By the end of the course, students should be able to apply their judgements to a theoretically grounded, supranational 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 geographically and historically different cultures, 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: Aspects of the contemporary reception of Classics: the long life of Medea.
After an overview of the field of literary theory, especially concerning the most productive critical trends in the now, we will move to a research-based section, centred on the rewritings of Medea in fiction, cinema, and drama. While referring to a wide modernist tradition (Grillparzer, Jahnn, Alvaro, Pasolini), we will consider the brilliant rewritings by Christa Wolf, Lars Von Trier, Antonio Tarantino, Grazia Verasani, as well as novels which allude to the myth of Medea – an up-to-date myth, condensed and revised in the forms of daily life, in order to express alternative or agonistic points of view.
Brioschi, Di Girolamo, Fusillo, Introduzione alla letteratura, Carocci (selected chapters)
Ciani (ed.), Medea. Variazioni sul mito, Marsilio
Wolf, Medea. Voci, e/o
Verasani, From Medea, Sironi
Tarantino, Cara Medea (photocopies)
Roth, L’orgia di Praga, Einaudi
McGrath, Follia (Adelphi)
Von Trier, Medea
Frontal lessons; DVD screenings (theatrical and cinematic works)
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.