28880 - Italian Literature of Renaissance (LM)

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Italian Studies, European Literary Cultures, Linguistics (cod. 9220)

Learning outcomes

Prerequisite: knowledge of Italian and Italian literary language (if you don’t understand or if you have problems to understand the Italian version of this program you shouldn’t attend this course). At the end of this class, students are expected to achieve a wide knowledge of Italian Renaissance literature, with a main focus on aspects and problems which usually are not explained in school text-books. They are expected to be able to give lessons about Italian Renaissance literature with a technical, philological and, when it is possible, interdisciplinary attitude (e.g. connecting Literature and History of Art).

Course contents

Tasso’s theory and practice of epic genre. Diegetic aspects in Gerusalemme liberata.

The course is dedicated to young Tasso’s theory and practice of epic genre: i.e. to Discorsi dell’arte poetica and Gerusalemme liberata. This two works will be analysed paying attention to stylistic, narrative and intertextual phenomena. Indirectly the course will examine the history of Italian chivalric poem and the impact of Aristotelian theory of literature. Tasso’s poem will be considered not only in relationship with Discorsi, but also with Lettere poetiche, the cycle of letters sent by Tasso to the editors of his poem during the roman revision (1575-76). Some attention will be also given to Tasso’s second epic season (Discorsi del poema eroico e Gerusalemme conquistata) and to the literary, figurative and musical reception of Liberata.

Lectures will be held in the 3rd-4th periods (2nd. term). Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, 13-15 (Aula 1, via Zamboni 32).


1) Monographic section: texts

Torquato Tasso, Discorsi dell'arte poetica and Gerusalemme liberata.

- Discorsi: the critical text in T. Tasso Discorsi dell'arte poetica e del poema eroico, Bari, Laterza, 1964, pp. 1-55, also available on http://www.bibliotecaitaliana.it/ The only good commentary in T. Tasso, Prose, a cura di E. Mazzali, Milano-Napoli, Ricciardi, 1959 (or T. Tasso, Scritti sull'arte poetica, edited by E. Mazzali, Milano-Napoli-Torino, Einaudi-Ricciardi 1977).

- Liberata: edition with the commentary of F. Tomasi, Milano, Rizzoli-Bur, 2009 (recommended). Other good commentaries: B. Maier, Milano, Rizzoli-Bur, 1963; L. Caretti, Torino, Einaudi, 1971; L. Caretti, Milano, Mondadori, 1979 II ed. (with Gierusalemme and first writing of canti IV, V, IX, XII); M. Guglielminetti, Milano, Garzanti, 1982; F. Chiappelli, Milano, Rusconi, 1982; C. Varese - G. Arbizzoni, Milano, Mursia, 1983; G. Cerboni Baiardi, Modena, Panini, 1991.

A complete reading and a general knowledge of Discorsi and Liberata are required, but at the end of the course will be uploaded on this site a list including the passages must be studied very well. In order to know the context of the two works we suggest to read M. Residori, Tasso, il Mulino, 2009 (pp. 1-33 e 55-108) and E. Russo, Guida alla lettura della “Gerusalemme liberata” di Tasso, Bari, Laterza, 2014.

2) Monographic section: studies

You have to chosse three studies among:

- C. Dionisotti, Geografia e storia della letteratura italiana, Torino, Einaudi, 1967, pp. 201-254 (La guerra d'Oriente nella letteratura veneziana del Cinquecento e La letteratura italiana nell'età del concilio di Trento).

- G. Baldassarri, «Inferno» e «cielo». Tipologia e funzione del «meraviglioso» nella «Liberata», Roma, Bulzoni, 1977.

- E. Raimondi, Poesia come retorica, Firenze, Olschki, 1980, pp. 25-70 (Poesia della retorica).

- E. Raimondi, Poesia come retorica, Firenze, Olschki, 1980, pp. 71-202 (Il dramma nel racconto). With notes and translation of latin quotations in Id., Un teatro delle idee. Ragione e immaginazione dal Rinascimento al Romanticismo, Milano, Rizzoli, 2011; or as Introduzione to Gerusalemme liberata, edited by B. Maier, Bur-Rizzoli.

- S. Zatti, L'uniforme cristiano e il multiforme pagano, Milano, Il Saggiatore, 1983, pp. 9-44 (L'uniforme critiano e il multiforme pagano) and 91-144 (Erranza, infermità e conquista: le figure del conflitto). English translation in S. Zatti, The Quest for Epic, Toronto-Buffalo-London, Toronto University Press, 2006, pp. 135-59 (Christian Uniformity, Pagan Multiplicity) and pp. 160-194 (Errancy, Infirmity, and Conquest: Figures of Conflict).

- R. Bruscagli, Stagioni della civiltà estense, Pisa, Nistri-Lischi, 1983, pp. 186-222 (Il campo cristiano nella «Liberata»).

- D. Quint, Epic and Empire. Politics and Generic Form from Vergil to Milton, Princeton (New Jersey), Princeton University Press, 1993, pp. 214-234 (Argillano's Revolt) e pp. 234-247 (Why Is Clorinda an Ethiopian). Italian translation available: for the first one see «Intersezioni», X (1990), pp. 35-57; for the second: La rappresentazione dell'altro nei testi del Rinascimento, edited by S. Zatti, Lucca, Pacini Fazzi, 1998, pp. 133-145.

- E. Raimondi, Rinascimento inquieto, Torino, Einaudi, 1994 (II ed.), pp. 145-159 (Un episodio del «Gierusalemme», 1962); pp. 307-348 (Vitalità di un narratore e Il poeta passionato ).

- C. Scarpati, Tasso, i classici e i moderni, Padova, Antenore, 1995, pp. 1-74 (Geometrie petrarchesche nella «Gerusalemme liberata»).

- S. Zatti, L'ombra del Tasso. Epica e romanzo nel Cinquecento, Milano, Bruno Mondadori, 1996, pp. 1-27 (Tasso contro Ariosto?) and pp. 111-145 (Il linguaggio della dissimulazione nella «Liberata»).

- M. Residori, Armida e Proteo, in «Italique», 1999, 2, pp. 115-142 (http://italique.revues.org/202 ).

- F. Tomasi (edited by), Lettura della «Gerusalemme liberata», Alessandria, Ed. dell'Orso, 2005 (one of the twenty studies).

- C. Gigante, Tasso, Roma, Salerno ed., 2007, pp. 52-94 e 124-168 (capp. II-III; V-VI).

- A. Soldani, Le voci della poesia. Sette capitoli sulle forme discorsive, Roma, Carocci, 2010, pp. 115-143 (Forme della narrazione nel Tasso epico).

- F. Ferretti, Pudicizia e «virtù donnesca» nella «Gerusalemme liberata», in «Griseldaonline» 13, 2013, pp. 1-43, http://www.griseldaonline.it/temi/pudore/pudicizia-virtu-gerusalemme-liberata-ferretti.html

3) General section

Students, feeling free to choose, have two ways to study the literary history of 15th and 16th centuries:

A) R. Bruscagli, Il Quattrocento e il Cinquecento, Bologna, il Mulino, 2005.

B) Through a good school anthology. In this case students are required to produce a written list of all their readings detailing which cantos, poems, or prose texts they have selected. This list should include passages from the following works: Leon Battista Alberti, from Libri della famiglia; Luigi Pulci, from Morgante; Lorenzo dei Medici, from Nencia da Barberino, Canzoniere (if possible also from Comento de' miei sonetti), Canzona di Bacco e Arianna; Angelo Poliziano, from Stanze, Orfeo, Rime; Matteo Maria Boiardo, from Amorum libri and Inamoramento de Orlando (Orlando innamorato); Masuccio Salernitano, from Novellino; Iacopo Sannazzaro, from Arcadia; Niccolò Machiavelli, from Principe (with passages from the missive to Francesco Vettori, 10 December 1513), Discorsi sopra la prima deca di Tito Livio, and from Mandragola; Ludovico Ariosto, from Orlando furioso, Satire and a comedy; Pietro Bembo, from Prose della volgar lingua and Rime; Baldesar Castiglione, from Il Cortegiano; Francesco Guicciardini, from Ricordi and Storia d'Italia; Francesco Berni, from Rime; Ruzante from a dramatic text; Pietro Aretino, from Sei giornate (Ragionamenti) or from a comedy or from a tragedy; Teofilo Folengo, from Baldus or from an other text “in lingua macaronica”; Matteo Bandello, from Novelle; Michelangelo Buonarrotti, from Rime, Benvenuto Cellini, from Vita; Giovanni della Casa from Rime and Galateo; Torquato Tasso, from Rime and Aminta; Battista Guarini, from Pastor fido (and, if possible, from Rime).

Program for non-attending students

Non-attending students (under 40/60 hours) are required to study not only monographic and general sections, but also:

- M. Residori, Tasso, il Mulino, 2009;

- E. Russo, Guida alla lettura della “Gerusalemme liberata” di Tasso, Bari, Laterza, 2014;

- Not three, but six studies (see point 2).

Teaching methods

30 (two hours) traditional lessons.

Assessment methods

The final exam consists of an oral appointment. Attending students will be invited to reflect on some aspects analyzed during the course and will be encouraged to interact with the knowledge acquired in class with the entrusted program for individual study (critical reading, institutional part). Non-attending students, however, will be examinated only on the texts, the manuals and the chosen essays. A positive or excellent score (27 to 30/30, with possible distinction) corresponds to a full mastering of technical, theoretical, historical and terminological resources of XV and XVI-Centuries Literature, and to a proved ability to make connections among single aspects of the course contents, and to show awareness of textual features with appropriate language; an average score (23 to 26/30) goes to students who reveal some lacks in one or more topics or analytical proofs, or are able to use just mechanically their ability in interpretation; a pass or low score (18 to 22/30) to students with severe lacks in one or more topics or exercises, or not enough accurate while they use or quote notions and samples. A negative score is to be assigned to students who are not able to recall general notions in a sample of text and/or in general.

Students should sign up at the AlmaEsami web site (https://almaesami.unibo.it). The registration ends two days before the oral examination.

Teaching tools

Websites; interactive whiteboard.

Office hours

See the website of Francesco Ferretti


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