cod. 1010894

Academic year 2023/24
1° year of course - Second 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
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

Knowledge and understanding
The course will allow students to acquire theoretical knowledge on the particular way in which literature is dealing with the ecological question.
Ability to apply knowledge and understanding
At the end of the course, students will be able to comment on the works presented in class and to use the critical tools that literary texts can offer to the environmental education.
Making judgments
At the end of the course, students will learn how to adequately discuss and evaluate, with attention to the specific vocabulary and with independent judgment, the contents of the teaching and the works discussed in class. The course will also make available to students some theoretical tools capable of allowing, through the interpretation of literary texts, an innovative approach to the issues of the present.
Communication skills
At the end of the course, students will achieve the ability to communicate in a clear and articulate way, correctly using the specific vocabulary of an innovative field such as that of literary ecology.
Learning skills
The theoretical commitment will give students a certain methodological mastery, an expansion of the repertoire of knowledge and a learning ability useful for acquiring the tools necessary for careers in the cultural industry.



Course unit content

Ecocriticism and Italy: Human Stories and Natural Disasters

“Everything was done by nature which is neither good nor bad, but indifferent": this is what the Italian journalist Giorgio Bocca wrote the day after the Vajont disaster (October 9, 1963). It is not the only case in which the immediate reaction to a catastrophic event has led to assigning responsibility to nature, and neither is it the only one in which other stories have then uncovered the role that human action (or inaction) had played for an alleged natural disaster. Just as the study of the relationship between literature and ecology does not look only at the presence of the environmental theme in texts but rather at the way in which that theme meets with a specific literary form, the analysis of the stories of some disasters - the Polesine flood (1951), the Vajont disaster (1963), the Irpinia and L’Aquila earthquakes (1980 and 2009 respectively), the epidemic of Xylella fastidiosa among olive trees in Puglia (which began in 2013 and is still ongoing) – allows us to question the boundaries that separate human responsibility and natural responsibility, and to verify how texts that are different in regard to genre and medium (such as novel, essay, poetry, theatre plays, documentary) offer different interpretations of the same event.

Full programme

The detailed program in preparation of the exam will be posted by the end of classes on Elly 2023/2024 portal.


Both the syllabus and the bibliography will be presented during the first class and from that moment on made available in the Elly 2023/2024 portal, where students will also have access to further readings (both mandatory and optional) in PDF format.

Teaching methods

The course consists of lectures. Students are strongly encouraged to participate with questions and comments related to the topics covered in class.

Assessment methods and criteria

At the end of classes there will be an oral exam on all the contents of the program. The exam will start from a review of 6,000 characters (including spaces) which will make up 25% of the final evaluation and which must be delivered one week before the oral exam. The subject of the review will be one of the case studies discussed during the course. It will be up to each student to choose the text to review.

The exam is considered insufficient in the event that the minimum knowledge of the teaching contents, the ability to autonomously re-elaborate, the ability to understand and analyze the literary texts and essays proposed as well as an adequate expressive and argumentative capacity are lacking. A sufficient evaluation (18-23/30) is determined by the acquisition of the minimum contents of the lessons and by a basic level of autonomous re-elaboration (including the ability to establish simple links between the works analyzed in class), by the acquisition of a minimum ability of textual analysis and a not solid command of the Italian language. Similarly, the intermediate scores (24-27/30) are assigned to those who demonstrate a more than sufficient (24-25 / 30) or good (26-27/30) level of the evaluation indicators listed above, while the Higher scores (from 28/30 to 30/30 with honors) are assigned based on the demonstration of an excellent level. In particular, honors are assigned to students that reach the maximum score in the parameters indicated and that allow to detect, together with a solid autonomy of judgment, an excellent expressive and argumentative ability.

Other information

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