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CODE 61291


This course is meant as a prosecution and integration of the first year course: therefore, the development of Scandinavian (Danish, Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish) literature from the end of the 19th century to the late 20th century will be investigated; literary phenomena will be, moreover, contextualized historically and socially, and some specific topics will be examined in depth (partly with reference to subjects that were dealt with in the first year course).



This course aims to introduce the students to the different aspects of cultural and literary history of the Nordic countries, while highlighting elements of uniformity and differentiation among them and, furthermore, in relation to the rest of the European cultural world.


Students will become acquainted with the development of Scandinavian society from the late 19th to the late 20th century and will acquire the critical skills to analyse the different phenomena connected with Scandinavian poetry of the same period.

In addition, they will become able to scientifically approach Scandinavian folktales (in comparison with literary fairy tales) and fin de siècle novel in Nordic countries. The main questions relevant to these literary phenomena will be addressed and key literary passages will be examined.


No binding prerequisite is foreseen, but the knowledge of the main trends in the development of Scandinavian literature, especially in the modernity, is warmly recommended.


54 hours of lectures, where literary, social and historical observations will be accompanied by comments on single literary works, even with reading of selected passages in Italian translation.

As regards PART TWO and PART THREE of the programme, students are also warmly invited to analyse one or more course topics in depth and to present their work (individually or in groups, as they prefer) during the course, so as to refine their methods and stimulate discussion. This work (in case of a positive contribution) will be taken into account for the final evaluation; moreover, presenters will have a shorter list of books to read. Please contact the teacher for further details.

Part one and part two will be held in the first term (36 hours with a schedule of three weekly hours), part three will take place in the second term (from the end of February, two weekly hours, 18 on the whole).

Course attendance is not compulsory, but warmly recommended.

As all other literary courses in the second year, this course corresponds to 9 credits.



PART ONE - From Naturalism to Modernism: a (poetic) journey through Scandinavian literature and society

The aim of this part of the course, which is meant to complete the literary history examined in the first year, is to consider the main aspects of the cultural and socio-historical evolution of the Scandinavian countries from 1880s to the present. This subject will be analysed in depth from the particular perspective of the cultural and social reflections in poetic texts, by examining a significant corpus from the literary traditions of Denmark, Sweden and Norway from Naturalism to the late expressions of Modernism in 1960s.

PART TWO - Folktales and literary fairy tales in Scandinavia

Folk and fairy tales we are used to since our childhood, due both to their features (symbolism, fantastic elements, universal messages, typical characters) and to the fact that adults usually tell these stories to children, are often regarded only as an expression of children’s literature. However, they preserve a collective heritage of values, world views, destinies, and their cultural background is as closely linked to a specific period as to the human nature of all ages. This part of the course aims to propose (and stimulate) a reflection on this genre through the analysis of some significant texts of Scandinavian literature (in Italian translation), comparing the oral tradition that was recovered and transcribed in the 19th century (particularly in Norway and Iceland) with some literary examples of the 19th and 20th centuries (Andersen, Strindberg).

PART THREE - The novel in Scandinavia at the turn of the twentieth century, between identity crisis and social criticism: Niels Lyhne (1880) by Jens Peter Jacobsen, Hunger (1890) by Knut Hamsun and Doctor Glas (1905) by Hjalmar Söderberg

​This part will address the issue of the individual crisis and the reactions to the irruption of modernity during the transition from the late 19th to the early 20th century. This phenomenon will be contextualized with regard to the European and Scandinavian Realism, Naturalism and Decadentism, with students as active agents (individually or in group) in the analysis of the mentioned three novels this part is focused on.


Students will have to prove their acquaintance with course contents, including all the texts which will be examined during the course, and will have to read a number of Scandinavian works published in the period 1890s-1940s.

For details about the syllabus, the reading list and the materials for students who cannot attend the course, please contact the teacher at


Exam Board



PAOLO MARELLI (President Substitute)




Lessons will start in the first week of the semester (3rd-7th October 2022).

​The course schedule will be announced in September.



Oral exam at the end of the course or in the following exam sessions (please check the dates on or on the teacher's personal page on The exam lasts approximately forty minutes.

The examination will take place partly in Italian and partly in Swedish on a topic of the programme chosen and carefully analysed by the student.

Students are allowed to divide the syllabus into (no more than) two parts, which they may prepare for two different exam sessions. The final evaluation will take into consideration the results of both parts (which must be both pass marks, i.e. both marked at least with 18/30); moreover, students are free to take the exam(s) as many times as they wish to improve their marks.

Non-Scandinavianists (that is to say, students who do not have Swedish as their language A or B of specialization) will not be examined on the works included in the reading list (see Bibliography) nor will they have to take the part of the exam in Swedish.


In the overall evaluation, not only the knowledge of the syllabus (course topics, texts analysed in class – or included in the specific list for non-attendants – and readings indicated in the bibliography) and reasoning skills, but also expository skills and accuracy in the use of the specific language of the discipline will be taken into account.

The main skills that will be evaluated are: being able to orientate oneself in the different periods of the literary history, to set the considered works (or texts) in the proper context, to compare different authors, ages, nations, movements, to develop a personal critical judgement on the considered phenomena.

As regards the personal research on a topic to be presented in Swedish, students will be evaluated according to the complexity and originality of the chosen topic, the perspective they will have adopted, their research methodology and their proficiency in Swedish.

Exam schedule

Data Ora Luogo Degree type Note
26/01/2023 09:30 GENOVA Orale Gli esami si svolgeranno in aula F al Polo didattico in Via Fontane (secondo piano).
10/02/2023 09:30 GENOVA Orale Gli esami si svolgeranno in aula G al Polo didattico in Via Fontane (terzo piano).
28/04/2023 10:00 GENOVA Orale Gli esami si svolgeranno in Sala Consiglio (Aula I al terzo piano di Palazzo Serra) fino alle ore 12, poi in aula Koch (quinto piano di Palazzo Serra).
09/06/2023 09:30 GENOVA Orale Gli esami si svolgeranno in aula F al Polo didattico in Via Fontane (secondo piano).
10/07/2023 09:30 GENOVA Orale Gli esami si svolgeranno in aula F al Polo didattico in Via Fontane (secondo piano).
06/09/2023 14:30 GENOVA Orale Gli esami si svolgeranno in aula H al Polo didattico in Via Fontane (terzo piano).
21/09/2023 09:30 GENOVA Orale Gli esami si svolgeranno in aula F al Polo didattico in Via Fontane (secondo piano).


The course will be entirely held in Italian. During the lessons, texts in Swedish, Danish and Norwegian will be examined.

Students will not have to formally enrol in this course; however, this course – as any other – is to be inserted in the learning plan to be officially acknowledged. Those who want to take the exam must enrol through the university website within three days before the examination.

Participants in the course will have to log in the Aulaweb platform, where all material that will be examined will be uploaded.

This course is obligatory for all second year students who have chosen Swedish as Language A or Language B. Other students may insert it in their learning plan, but they are warmly asked to contact me, even to have a specific programme designed according to their own academic needs.

Students who have been certified with special educational needs (DSA), such as dyslexia or dysgraphia, are invited to contact me, as well as to familiarise with the services (e.g. “ufficio disabilità  e DSA”) the University offers to support them: further information available at