30125 - Comparative Literatures (LM)

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Modern, Post-Colonial and Comparative Literatures (cod. 0981)

Learning outcomes

Students must attain a high awareness of the specific nature of literary language both as a way through which the imaginary finds expression and as an instrument to interpret reality. Students must master interpretive tools and methodologies for text analysis. They are capable to explore and investigate literary forms and themes in a comparative perspective, with a special focus on the relationships between different national tradition and different cultural/historical contexts, as well as the relationships between literary texts and other semiotic systems of expression (music, cinema, performance, theatre and so on). Students attain the capacity for autonomous reflection and they are invited to formulate autonomous judgments on theoretical and methodological issues.

Course contents


 Objects in Nineteenth century fiction. Between realism and the fantastic

The advent of modernity and capitalism brings about an increasing centrality of commodities, an unprecedented spread of “things” as catalysts of desire, and - thanks to reproduction technologies and a pervasive visual culture – fosters their circulation in the form of images, or their exhibition, in a new regime of visibility (museums, shop windows ...). The course aims to investigate some of the forms in which these phenomena manifest themselves, particularly in two fundamental modes of representation that face one another through the whole Nineteenth century: realism and the fantastic.

Timing of the course: first semester (November-December).


1. Literary text:


► Honoré de Balzac, La peau de chagrin

►Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend

Short stories

► Edgar Allan Poe, "The Thousand and second tale of Sheherazade"

►Charles Dickens, "The Queer Chair"

► Guy de Maupassant, "Qui sait?"

► R.L. Stevenson, "The Devil in the Bottle"

(i racconti saranno raccolti e messi a disposizione degli studenti dalla prof. Meneghelli)

2. Critical texts:

► Silvia Albertazzi (a cura di), Il punto su: la letteratura fantastica, Roma-Bari, Laterza

► Federico Bertoni, Realismo e letteratura. Una storia possibile, Torino, Einaudi (il libro è da leggere integralmente, ma si consiglia agli studenti di prestare particolare attenzione alle pp. 127-173 e 188-246)

► Ian Watt, “Il realismo e la forma del romanzo”. In Id., Le origini del romanzo borghese, Milano, Bompiani, pp. 7-31

►Erich Auerbach, “All’Hôtel de La Mole”, in Id., Mimesis. Il realismo nella letteratura occidentale, Torino, Einaudi, pp. 220-268

► Sigmund Freud, "Il perturbante", in Id., Saggi sull'arte, la letteratura e il linguaggio, vol. I, pp. 269-307.

Teaching methods

This 60 hours course bases on the reading, analysis and discussion of literary and non-literary texts. During the lectures, students will be invited to take an active part, with questions and insights.
Further downloadable materials in support of the lessons such as digital images, power point presentations and readings will be uploaded on the Moodle Unibo Virtuale during the course.

Assessment methods

The abilities acquired during the course will be evaluated through an oral test aimed at ascertaining a deep knowledge of all the topics covered during the course. The oral test consists in an interview aimed at evaluating the students' critical and methodological skills. Students will be invited to discuss the texts in the reading list and comment on them. Therefore students must demonstrate an appropriate knowledge of the recommended reading list.

Students who are able to demonstrate a wide and systematic understanding of the issues covered during the course, to tackle them critically, and who master the critical jargon of the discipline will be given a mark of excellence. Students who demonstrate a mere mnemonic knowledge of the subject together with a more superficial analytical ability to synthesize, a correct command of the critical jargon but not always appropriate, will be given a ‘fair' mark. A superficial knowledge and understanding of the course topics, a scarce analytical and expressive ability will be rewarded with a pass mark or just above a pass mark. Students who demonstrate gaps in their knowledge of the main topics, inappropriate language skills, lack of familiarity with the syllabus reading list will not be given a pass mark.

Office hours

See the website of Donata Meneghelli


No poverty Gender equality Sustainable cities

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.