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CODE 55867
SEMESTER 2° Semester
SECTIONING Questo insegnamento è diviso nelle seguenti frazioni:
  • A
  • B
  • C


    The course is part of the Basic Learning Activities for the Bachelor’s course in Modern Languages and Cultures, and bestows 9 ECTS, corresponding to 54 hours of classroom teaching and 171 hours reserved for personal study. It introduces the student to the study of major authors, most significant works, main poetics and most relevant cultural movements of Italian Literature history, from its origins to the 20th century. 

    This page relates to section B of Italian Literature (students E-O).



    The course aims at providing students with an exhaustive overviewing of the Italian literary tradition and its relations with foreign cultures; this outcome will be reached by analyzing exemplary texts, cultural contexts, forms, genres.


    The course aims to illustrate (in a historical-critical perspective) a selection of significant works and authors of Italian literature, providing students with the essential conceptual and methodological tools to understand the poetic language and analyze a literary passage from a content and metric-stylistic perspective.

    At the end of the course the student will be able to:

    a) identify and define the most significant movements and poetics in the history of Italian literature

    b) interpret, paraphrase, and analyse autonomously literary passages in poetry and prose, recognising their structural aspects (genre, metric form, rhetorical apparatus) and linking them to the historical-cultural contexts in which they were composed

    c) make appropriate use of literary criticism terminology

    d) compare passages from different periods and authors

    e) explain and discuss in oral form the topics discussed in class with clarity and language properties


    The course includes frontal lessons with the help of multimedia tools and materials. During the lectures there will be commented readings of literary excerpts and in-depth cultural studies aimed at contextualising the works examined: both the readings and the in-depth studies are to be understood as examples of work on the literary text, hopefully aimed at stimulating the reflections of the students, who will often be invited to actively participate with interventions and questions. The teacher will also make available to students, in a special section of the AulaWeb e-learning portal, the slides used in the classroom and other study support materials.

    Course attendance is not compulsory, but warmly recommended. Students who, for justified reasons, expect not to be able to attend at least 50% of the lessons (i.e. at least 27 of the 54 hours of classroom teaching) are required to contact the teacher by e-mail at the beginning of the course in order to agree on an alternative examination programme. It is also recommended to attend the first lesson, during which the teaching programme and the exam rules will be presented.

    Lectures will be held in presence, unless stated otherwise.


    Module 1

    Autonomous study of an anthology of texts, representative of the most important authors of Italian literature from the fourteenth to the early twentieth century. These excerpts – accompanied by short introductions and analysis sheets – will be available on the e-learning portal of the University of Genoa (AulaWeb) from the beginning of the course. In addition to these handouts, students can deepen their study of the anthologized authors by using a textbook of Italian literature.

    Module 2

    The lessons of the course will be dedicated to the following topics

    PART ONE - «Luogo è in inferno detto Malebolge»: a reading of Dante, Inferno, XVIII-XXX

    This part is dedicated to the analysis of the longest section of Dante’s Inferno, the one between canto XVIII and canto XXX, dedicated to the Eighth Circle (called Malebolge), in which the sins of fraud are punished. Selected passages will be examined during the lectures, addressing the historical, cultural, stylistic, and linguistic issues connected with these cantos: particular attention will be paid to understanding and paraphrasing the poetic text.

    PART TWO - 18th century Europe and America in the works of Vittorio Alfieri

    An intellectual of European stature, Vittorio Alfieri (1749-1803) undertook several journeys during his lifetime through the major European nations (the Italian states, France, England, Holland, Prussia, Sweden, and others) and broadened his gaze beyond the continental borders, taking an interest in the birth of the United States of America. In the lessons dedicated to this topic, a series of readings taken from various works by Alfieri (e.g. the Vita, the Satire, the Misogallo, the Ode all’America libera) will be presented, with the aim of deepening and contextualising the judgements (often polemical) pronounced by the writer on the nations he visited and on the main historical and cultural events that affected Europe and North America in the second half of the 18th century.

    PART THREE - Leonardo Sciascia and the detective novel

    This last part will focus on the novels by Leonardo Sciascia (1921-1989), and in particular Il giorno della civetta, Todo modo and Il cavaliere e la morte, which students are asked to read in full. The three novels will be presented in the classroom, reading selected passages and highlighting their relationship with the tradition of the Italian and international detective novel; specific historical and cultural insights linked to the themes addressed by Sciascia (e.g. mafia, terrorism of the 1960s and 1970s) will also be provided.

    Course attendance is not compulsory, but warmly recommended. For further information, see the sections Recommended reading/bibliography, Teaching methods and Exam description.


    Bibliography for attending students

    Module 1

    - handouts in AulaWeb

    Module 2

    - Dante Alighieri, Inferno, ed. by Anna Maria Chiavacci Leonardi, Milano, Mondadori (or the edition by Giorgio Inglese, Roma, Carocci; or the edition by Bianca Garavelli, Milano, Bompiani) (only the passages read in class)

    - Vittorio Alfieri, Vita, ed. by Carla Forno, Milano, Feltrinelli, 2020 or another recent edition (only the passages read in class)

    - Leonardo Sciascia, Il giorno della civetta, Milano, Adelphi, 2002 or another recent edition (unabridged)

    - Leonardo Sciascia, Todo modo, Milano, Adelphi, 2003 or another recent edition (unabridged)

    - Leonardo Sciascia, Il cavaliere e la morte, Milano, Adelphi, 2007 or another recent edition (unabridged)

    The list of texts is subject to change and it is therefore advisable to wait until the start of the lessons and the presentation of the programme before purchasing or borrowing. The bibliography of module 2 will in any case be supplemented with additional readings presented in class and made available on AulaWeb during the course.

    Non-attending students must contact the teacher to arrange a specific bibliography.


    Exam Board

    MATTEO NAVONE (President)





    13 February 2023

    Class schedule




    The examination is an oral test lasting approximately 30 minutes and covering the entire programme, consisting of the selection of anthological texts (module 1) and the topics presented during the lectures (module 2). It is not possible to divide the examination into two separate parts.

    Students are free to take the exam as many times as they wish to improve their mark.

    During the course, further information will be provided regarding the conduct of the examination.

    There are six exam sessions each year (two per session), to which additional special sessions may be added, mainly for out-of-session students.

    To take part in the tests, you must register at least five days before the date of the exam on the website

    Non-attending students must contact the teacher by email to arrange an alternative programme.


    The oral test consists of an examination on the topics included in the syllabus, and aims to assess the ability to:

    - paraphrase and summarise a literary passage;

    - contextualise the works studied from a historical and cultural point of view and illustrate their metrical and stylistic characteristics;

    - make connections and comparisons between the topics covered in the course;

    - use appropriate and effective exposition;

    - develop a personal critical opinion on the topics covered.

    Exam schedule

    Data appello Orario Luogo Degree type Note
    17/01/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
    07/02/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
    11/05/2023 15:00 GENOVA Orale
    14/06/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
    12/07/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
    25/07/2023 09:30 GENOVA Orale
    05/09/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
    20/09/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
    19/12/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale


    Students who, for justified reasons, expect not to be able to attend at least 50% of the lessons (i.e. at least 27 of the 54 hours of classroom teaching) are required to contact the teacher by e-mail at the beginning of the course in order to agree on an alternative examination programme. It is also recommended to attend the first lesson, during which the teaching programme and the exam rules will be presented.

    All students, whether attending or not, are kindly requested to enrol in AulaWeb to receive communications and notices regarding the course.

    Erasmus students or non-native Italian speakers are kindly requested to contact the teacher to agree on the examination programme.

    Students with a certified DSA, disability or other special educational needs are recommended to contact the prpfessor at the beginning of the course to agree on teaching and examination methods that, while respecting the teaching objectives, take into account individual learning methods and provide suitable compensatory tools. The same students are also invited to make use of the various services the University offers to support them (for further information see In e-mail communications to the teacher, please always copy the contact teacher, Prof. Dickinson (