cod. 1005995

Academic year 2022/23
2° year of course - First semester
Academic discipline
Critica letteraria e letterature comparate (L-FIL-LET/14)
Attività formative affini o integrative
Type of training activity
30 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
course unit

Learning objectives

Knowledge and understanding.
The course aims at strengthening the basic knowledge of literary study, opening the way for a specialized field, and promoting the development of original statements about the thematic net described throughout the course itself.
Applying knowledge and understanding.
The study of literary methods, the learning of the genre theories, and finally the comparative approach elicit the development of the capacity to understand and connect literary facts, in a profoundly interdisciplinary perspective.
Making judgements.
By the end of the course students ought to have acquired the capacity to carefully value the complexity of literary text, critically interpreting their structural elements, the morphological similarities and differences between them. They should also have acquired particular intepretive and comparative abilities about the historical and socio-cultural contexts to which those artistic documents belong.
Communication skills.
By the end of the course students should have conceived the capacity to describe literary texts on the basis of the genre theories and supranational literary study, developing a personal, reliable and consistent way of reading.
Learning skills.
The commitment shown in acquiring competences and learning should provide the students with a definite methodological competence as well as with skills aimed at consolidating their set of readings, their capacity to understand and schematize the dynamics of literary facts – all necessary skills in order to organize contents into the written form.


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Course unit content

Four steps into American narratives. Towards a Theory of Adaptation

After a few introductory remarks, concerning basic critical terms for studying intermedial crossings, the course will touch upon some exemplary episodes of American fiction of the XXth Century (and beyond), aiming to describe structure and content of the novels, also recurring to an in-depth analysis through the existing adaptations. We will focus on four moments of American literature, adopting a double gesture. We will primarily look at topics, features and forms of representation of society inside the novels, eventually moving to a reconsideration of the novels themselves, seen through the lens of critical interpretations, and, first of all, through the perspective of adaptation as a prime interpretation of the novel.

Full programme

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1. Hutcheon, Teoria degli adattamenti. I percorsi delle storie tra letteratura, cinema, nuovi media, Armando Editore, 2011
2. Jack London, Martin Eden (1909), qualsiasi edizione (trad. consigliata: S. Sacchini, Feltrinelli)
3. Edith Wharton (1920), L’età dell’innocenza, a cura di S. Antonelli, Feltrinelli
4. Nathanael West, Il giorno della locusta, qualsiasi edizione (trad. consigliata: C. Fruttero, Einaudi)
5. Don DeLillo, Cosmopolis (2003), trad. S. Pareschi, Einaudi


1. Pietro Marcello, Martin Eden (disponibile gratuitamente sulla piattaforma RaiPlay)
2. Martin Scorsese, L’età dell’innocenza (disponibile presso la biblioteca dei Paolotti/sulla piattaforma Netflix)
3. David Cronenberg, Cosmopolis (disponibile presso la biblioteca dei Paolotti)

Further critical materials will be provided on platform Elly.

Teaching methods

Privileged methods will be the following: frontal lessons, film screening,guided readings of selected narrative passages.

Assessment methods and criteria

Oral exams, held in presence and/or, if necessary, via Teams. Questions will firstly regard the handbook, in order to subsequently involve themes, plot turns, the development of characters, as inferable from the reading of literary texts.Evaluation: A fail is determined by the lack of an understanding of the minimum content of the course, the inability to express oneself adequately, by a lack of autonomous preparation, the inability to solve problems related to information retrieval and the decoding of complex texts, as well as an inability to make independent judgments. A pass (18-23/30) is determined by the student’s possession of the minimum, fundamental contents of the course, an adequate level of autonomous preparation and ability to solve problems related to information retrieval and the decoding of complex texts, as well as an acceptable level of ability in making independent judgments. Middle-range scores (24-27/30) are assigned to the student who produces evidence of a more than sufficient level (24-25/30) or good level (26-27/30) in the evaluation indicators listed above. Higher scores (from 28/30 to 30/30 cum laude) are awarded on the basis of the student’s demonstration of a very good or excellent level in the evaluation indicators listed above.

Other information

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