cod. 1004622

Academic year 2023/24
2° year of course - Second semester
- Giulio IACOLI
Academic discipline
Critica letteraria e letterature comparate (L-FIL-LET/14)
Letterature moderne
Type of training activity
30 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

Knowledge and understanding.
The course will provide the students with a basic understanding of the rhetorical, thematic and ideological structures of fictional texts.
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 a wider set of texts and artistic genres, developing a learned and critical readership, or spectatorship.
Making judgements.
By the end of the course, students should be able to apply their judgements to a theoretically grounded 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.
Communication skills.
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.
Learning skills.
Trained to read texts which belong to a cultural tradition, 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.


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Course unit content

Novel, metaphysics, unecidability. Three unclassifiable texts.

In its applicative section, the course will take into account some evolutions in the tradition of the XXth Century novel, by connecting three texts bearing some family resemblances, i.e. novels that embrace surreal atmospheres, suspended, undefinable settings, whose main characters have to deal with fundamental moral choices. Three novels, therefore, that are at odds with a realist line in contemporary literature; nonetheless, they trace the contours of a highly recognizable world, which is that of their authors. If Il deserto dei Tartari (1940) bears traces of the anxiety over Italian participation to WW2, and Le Rivage des Syrtes (1951) mirrors the loss of a centre, the sense of extreme vulnerability that follows the end of the very world conflict, Waiting for the Barbarians (2000) radicalizes the question of knowing the Other, in the wake of postcolonial literary tradition.

Full programme

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1. Sini, Sinopoli (a cura di), Percorsi di teoria e comparatistica letteraria, Pearson 2021. Students will exclude the following chapters: La poesia; Traduzione e transmedialità; Narrazione tra medicina e letteratura; Intersezionalità e critica letteraria; La letteratura e il digitale.
2. Dino Buzzati, Il deserto dei Tartari, Oscar Mondadori (edizione consigliata: 2021, comprensiva di sceneggiatura)
3. Juilen Gracq, La riva delle Sirti, L'Orma editore
4. J.M. Coetzee, Aspettando i barbari, Einaudi

Further readings will be available on the Ellly webpage of the course.

Teaching methods

Privileged methods will be the following: classroom-taught lessons, film screening, guided readings of selected narrative passages

Assessment methods and criteria

Oral examination, held in presence. 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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