28883 - Literature and Rhetoric (LM)

Academic Year 2022/2023

  • Docente: Bruno Capaci
  • Credits: 12
  • SSD: L-FIL-LET/10
  • Language: Italian
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Italian Studies, European Literary Cultures, Linguistics (cod. 9220)

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student will be acquainted with nomenclature, definitions and persuasive implications of the main argumentative techniques, with a particular attention to the rhetorical figures and their classification. He will also be able to apply the learnt knowledge through the analysis of literary texts.

Course contents

In the perspective of general rhetoric, the first part of the course considers the description of the discipline in its main internal expressions, as well as the presentation of its fundamental presence in the genres of the speech, which represent the special bond between rhetoric, literature and society. In particular, we will try to show the close relationship existing between ancient rhetoric and new rhetoric, not neglecting the links with stylistic criticism.

During the first 30 hour-module, the extra-literary use of the discipline will be exemplified; the aim is to efficaciously explain the structural aspects of rhetoric in argumentation, inductive and deductive tests, tropes and other rhetorical figures.

Notably, the exemplifications will be taken from the relationships between rhetoric and politics, rhetoric and cinema, rhetoric and medicine, rhetoric and law

The second part of the course, 30 hour-module, too, will focus on the rhetorical reading of some Italian classics, namely Dante's Inferno,Purgatorio, Paradiso,  Boccaccio's Decameron, Machiavelli's Il Principe, Alfieri's Tragedie, Foscolo's Sepolcri, Manzoni's I Promessi Sposi, De Roberto, I Vicerè e Imperio,


The classics of rhetoric

Two texts chosen among the following

Ch. Perelman L. Olbrechts Tyteca, Trattato della argomentazione. La nuova retorica, Turin, Einaudi, 2013 solo capitolo: La base della argomentazione, pp-71-199).

F. Piazza, La retorica di Aristotele. Introduzione alla lettura, Roma, Carocci, 2015.

E. Danblon, L'uomo retorico. Cultura Ragione Azione, Milano-Udine, Mimesis, 2014

E. Raimondi, La retorica d'oggi, Bologna, il Mulino 2002

Rhetoric and literature

 A text chosen among the following

F. Piazza, La parola e la spada. Violenza e linguaggio attraverso l'Iliade, Bologna, il Mulino, 2020

A. Battistini, La retorica della salvezza, Studi danteschi, Bologna, il Mulino, 2016

B. Capaci,C. Festa, P. Licheri, E. Passaro, Trappole per Topoi. La retorica che non ti aspetti nella letteratura e nella vita. Città di Castello, I libri di Emil, 2022.

Non-attending students must add the following readings:

B.M. Garavelli, Manuale di Retorica, Milano, Bompiani


Teaching methods

Lecture with large contribution of multimedia examples

Assessment methods

The test will be carried out by oral exam and conversation and will be eventually integrated by a multimedia didactic presentation.

Example of the evaluation criteria:

30 cum laude

Thorough knowledge of the contents of the bibliography and of the lessons, a precise and appropriate critical language, already inclined to the best didactic efficacy.


Thorough knowledge of the bibliography and of the content of the lessons expressed by a precise and appropriate critical language with significant didactic clarity.


Thorough knowledge of the bibliography and of the content of the lessons. Critical language with some inaccuracy and sometimes incongruous to the subject, presence of excessive simplifications during the exposition.


Knowledge sometimes uncertain of the contents of the bibliography and of the lessons. Critical language presenting generalizations and incongruities. Presence of simplifications partially inadequate to the content of the exposition.

Invitation to resit the exam:  

Serious failings in texts of the bibliography and in the subject of the lessons.

Office hours

See the website of Bruno Capaci [https://www.unibo.it/sitoweb/bruno.capaci2/en]

Course Unit Page
  • TeacherBruno Capaci [https://www.unibo.it/sitoweb/bruno.capaci2/en]

  • Credits12


  • Teaching ModeTraditional lectures

  • LanguageItalian

  • Course Timetable [http://www.artshumanitiesculturalheritage.unibo.it/en/programmes/course-unit-catalogue/course-unit/2016/412284/orariolezioni] from

Teaching tools

Audio-visual material used to illustrate some elements of the program.

Office hours

See the website of Bruno Capaci


Quality education Gender equality Responsible consumption and production

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