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CODE 101948
SEMESTER 1° Semester


Sometimes you can see a celestial body better if you look at it together with another. As Anne Carson teaches us, attention is a mission to share. To keep it alert not to stabilize it. Therefore it’s useful to think about two different phenomena at the same time. They prevent each other from stabilizing. Moving and not stabilizing, they stand side by side in conversation. Even if they don't belong to the same era, even if they never spoke the same language, together and one against the other, each phenomenon  poses itself as a lens through which the other can be focused.



The course aims to provide a first introduction to the main comparative methodologies, in relation to a specific theme, leading students to experience significant forms of comparing texts from different languages ​​and cultures. A particular attention will be devoted to the morphological dialectic between constants and variations in large/little scales of temporal and cultural relations.


At the end of the course the students will be able to


• know the main critical methodologies developed to define the status of the literary phenomenon in its complex richness and develop models of possible relationships (historical, ideological and morphological) among literary texts of different origins, languages ​​and poetics, in comparison with each other and with other systems semiotics (iconic and musical)

• apply the different methodologies to the concrete practice of analyzing the literary text, knowing how to evaluate the specific scope of the critical model applicative choice

• express the salient characteristics of a literary text in a full awareness of the critical language, developed by the main methodologies (from ancient rhetoric to linguistics, from narratology to gender studies), thus increasing one's abilities for abstract reflection and argumentative ability, sensitive to contexts

• demonstrate the historical awareness of the deep historical relationships between the texts of the Western tradition, both from a thematic and morphological point of view, proposing personal paths of interpretation of the most contemporary literary phenomena in the critical comparison with their past models


The teaching consists in 60 hours of lessons. The teaching method provides for a close and continuous interconnection between frontal lessons (in the presentation of analytical methodologies and synoptic historiographic frameworks) and participatory activity of students (theoretical models’ critical discussion of analytic practice on texts). Active participation in lessons is very important for the full achievement of the learning objectives.


"Between canvases and papers, between colors and inks, between brushes and pens". Girotondi of painting and poetry.

The analogy between images and poetic words, wrote Giovan Battista Marino, taking up a persistent conception of classicism, appears so significant that they can be considered "two dear twins born in childbirth. The "eloquent silence" of one and the "dumb facondia" of the other played to exchange their roles, to confuse their mutual effects, tasks and properties dreaming of a reciprocal fusion (or an amazing confusion). The course, starting from the analysis of some poetic cycles built around poetic translation processes of pictorial works, will discuss the interaction semiological processes in the exchange between verbal signs (of time) and visual signs (of space).

The students will jointly design a commented anthology of painting poetry, interpreting and comparing texts of modernity, chosen according to tastes and individual training paths (Shelley, Browning, Baudelaire, Rilke, Ponge, Darío, Jaccottet, Bonnefoy, Auden, Herbert, Szymborska, O'Hara, Sexton, Graham, ...).


1. General handbooks

Stefania Sini, Franca Sinopoli, Percorsi di teoria e comparatistica letteraria, Pearson 2021

Brugnolo, et alii Le scritture e il mondo. Teorie letterarie del Novecento, Carocci 2016

de Cristofaro, Letterature Comparate, Carocci 2020



2. Theoretical and Critical Texts

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Laokoon oder Über die Grenzen der Malerei und Poesie [ed. it. Laocoonte, a cura di Teresina Zamella, Garzanti 1994]

Jurij M. Lotman, Il girotondo delle muse. Semiotica delle arti, a cura di Silvia Burini, Bompiani 2022

Jurij M Lotman, La semiosfera, a cura di Francescu Sedda, Nave di Teseo 2022

W.J.T. Mitchell, Pictorial turn. Saggi di cultura visuale, a cura di Michele Cometa, Cortina 2017


Antonella Anedda, La vita dei dettagli. Scomporre quadri, immaginare mondi, Donzelli 2009

Giovanni Cianci, Il Cézanne degli scrittori dei poeti e dei filosofi, Bocca 2001

Michele Cometa La scrittura delle immagini. Letteratura e cultura visuale, Cortina 2012

James Heffernan, Museum of Words. The Poetry of Ekphrasis from Homer to Ashbery, Chicago UP 1993,

Giovanni Pozzi, Sull’orlo del visibile parlare Adelphi 1993

Mario Praz, Mnemosine, parallelo tra la letteratura e le altre arti, 1971

3. Fictional Texts:  

Giambattista Marino, La Galeria, a cura di Marzio Pieri e Alessandra Ruffino, La Finestra 2005

William Carlos Williams, Pictures from Brueghel, in The Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams: 1939-1962 (Vol. 2), New Direction 1991

Giovanni Testori, Suite per Francis Bacon in Opere (1965-1977), Bompiani 200



Exam Board





20 September 2022



The exam consists of (a) a written and (b) an oral part.

(a) a paper of a length appropriate to the chosen topic, previously agreed and discussed with the teacher, presented in its final form at least one week before the exam. One of the methodological approaches addressed during the course (to be chosen from the theoretical texts of section 2 of the Bibliography) will have to be applied, in a critical and personal way, to detect, describe and interpret the salient features of at least one of the literary texts of section 3 of the Bibliography (for the 6 credits; also adding one of the orientation essays in section 2bis. for the 9 credits).

(b) a critical discussion of the written paper, placing the chosen methodological approach in the context of the main analytical methodologies of the twentieth century (detailed with the help of one of the manuals indicated in section 1 of the Bibliography).


The evaluation of the written paper will consider:

• the terminological property of the analysis [elocutio]

• the understanding of the critical model and the ability to personal re-elaboration of the studied contents [inventio]

• the formal organization [dispositio] in the presentation of the research results

• the effectiveness of the application of an analytical model to the reading of the literary text, in identifying its salient features (morphological, historical and content)

The evaluation of the oral discussion will consider:

• general knowledge of the contents of the discipline

• the degree of personal critical re-elaboration of the contents

• the ability for abstract reflection and argumentative ability, sensitive to the contexts of discourse

• the awareness of the essential historical relationships among the texts

Exam schedule

Data Ora Luogo Degree type Note
12/12/2022 09:00 GENOVA Orale
16/01/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
10/02/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
12/05/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
22/05/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
09/06/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
10/07/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
15/09/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale


Non attending students should contact the teacher (+39 345 455 8112)  in order to define a personal program related to her/his interests and curriculum.