cod. 1005213

Academic year 2018/19
2° year of course - First semester
Academic discipline
Letteratura italiana (L-FIL-LET/10)
Attività formative affini o integrative
Type of training activity
30 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
course unit


Learning objectives

The course want to lead students to critical complexity and to variety of critical methods. This target will be achieved by comparing several scholar trends during a long period. Above all, will be given attention to complex interconnexions between interpretation, ideology and hystorical culture.
The course want to provide ability in collecting notions and concepts, inserting them in their hystorical context and in their correct communication code. It aims, furthermore, to encourage a critical approach to the texts and to encourage individual judgements.
Dublin index aims:
applying knowledge and understanding
making judgements
communication skills.


A global knowledge of italian literature History. Non-specialized, but not even superficial, knowledge, of writers and literary tendencies from Renaissanse to the beginnings of XX century.

Course unit content

The focus of the course is to show how italian (and european) culture, between 19th e 20th centuries, interpreted Renaissance as political and cultural ideal typus.
On the field of theory and method of literatury studies, course will investigate how critics usually reads the past using a ermeneutic process, that often mythicizes ages and personalities.
Vicissitudes of ‘fortuna’ and ‘sfortuna’ of Machiavelli and Guicciardini are, by this point of view, exemplar.
The course will show the main leanings of criticism of XIX and XX centuries. Above all will be seen how the aim to affranchise Machiavelli by a ideological interpretation, led scholars to build the whole picture of the culture and social context of the age of the beginnings of XVI century.

Full programme

Main fields of study, that will be discussed during the course, are the followings (in chronological order):
1) Diffusion of Machiavelli works in Modern Europe, above all during XVIII century and Enlightenment.
2) Romanticism and the image of Machiavelli in Italy and in Europe. The image of Renaissance politics in Burckardt’s masterwork and Machiavelli’s prince. De Sanctis and his synthesis. The myth of Machiavelli in Risorgimento.
Important methodological topics will be discussed: mainly about the approach of historicism.
3) Machiavelli and the “Scuola storica” at the end of XIX century: Villari; Tommasini; Canestrini. A richer and more complete image of Machiavelli and the ‘rediscovery’ of Guicciardini
4) Machiavelli and Renaissance as historical and political metaphor. Gramsci and Gentile.
5) Machiavelli, Guicciardini and cultural and ideological context of their age. Felix Gilbert’ works.
6) Machavelli and a possible ‘history’ of his thought. Gennaro Sasso.
7) Style, litterature and thought; Carlo Dionisotti’ Florence.


N. Machiavelli: Il Principe;
F. Guicciardini, Ricordi

Burchkardt, La civiltà del Rinascimento in Italia
De Sanctis, Storia della letteratura italiana and Saggi critici.
F. Gilbert, Machiavelli e il suo tempo
A. Gramsci, Quaderni del carcere. Note sul Machiavelli.
G. Prezzolini, Vita di Machiavelli
G. Ritter, Il volto demoniaco del potere
L. Stauss, Pensieri su Machiavelli
Pages fron writings of:
M. Martelli; G. Sasso; E. Raimondi

Specific bibliography will be given during lessons nd made disposable by students on Elly platform.

Teaching methods

70% of scheduled lessons will be frontal lessons.
25 % of scheduled lessons will be a workshop’s form. Students will work together on the texts, by the aim to encourage individual judgement, in finding main ideological structures; textual aporias; critical outcomes.
2 hours will be used to make 2 short written tests (after 7th and after 12th lesson). Students will have to work about text and to find foremost critical subjects.

Assessment methods and criteria

Tests ‘in itinere’ (let’s see above) will be important orientation tools: so student they can evaluate their own knowledge.
Final test will be oral test. It will be divided in two parts:
1) Student will read a critical text. He’ll have to explain it; to locate it in the right methodological, ideological and historical place.
2) Conversation about authors and themes discussed during the lessons.

Other information

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