Italian literature and culture [CInt A-L] (2018/2019)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Sonia Trovato
Sonia Trovato
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
I semestre dal Oct 1, 2018 al Jan 12, 2019.

Lesson timetable

Go to lesson schedule

Learning outcomes

The course intends to initiate a critical reflection on Italian literature through the deepening of a theme and its treatment by some twentieth-century authors.


History and stories in the novel of the twentieth century

One of the peculiarities of the contemporary novel is that of looking critically at the nineteenth-century tradition of the historical novel, drastically dampening its didactic tones and intentions. The usefulness for Manzoni's memory is replaced by the narration of insignificant events, in which the great History is touched by the parables often descendants of characters with conspicuously anti-heroic features. Flaiano focuses on a moment that is not very edifying and almost ousted from national history - the war of conquest of Ethiopia - relying on the alienating prospect of an unnamed officer, harnessed in a series of paradoxical events. Pasolini recounts the distortions of the economic boom and the nascent consumer society through the life of expedients of a group of Roman villages. Tomasi di Lampedusa returns the traumatic passage from the Bourbon to the Savoy regime through the programmatic immobility of the melancholic Fabrizio Salina. Bassani deals with the autobiographical theme of the racial laws with a modest, reticent and pitiless style. Likewise, Fenoglio refuses the resistance rhetoric in the name of the fictional writing of a private matter, immersed "in the dense" of a demitized Resistance.

The aim of the course is to tackle some significant moments in Italian cultural history starting from the "glimpse" perspective of some of the most original authorial voices of contemporary literary tradition.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Giorgio Bassani Cinque storie ferraresi. Dentro le mura Feltrinelli 2016 Solo i racconti "Una lapide in via Mazzini" e "Una notte del '43"
Giorgio Bassani Gli occhiali d'oro Feltrinelli 2013
Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa Il Gattopardo Feltrinelli 2013
Pier Paolo Pasolini Ragazzi di vita Garzanti 2016
Ennio Flaiano Tempo di uccidere Rizzoli 2013
Beppe Fenoglio Una questione privata Einaudi 2014

Assessment methods and criteria

Oral exam, aimed at ascertaining the theoretical knowledge acquired and the ability to analyze text.
N.B. The biographical profile of the authors in the program will be examined.

Non-attending students are also required to read Italo Calvino's Preface to the "Sentiero dei nidi di ragno", which can be found in any edition of the novel currently on the market.