29001 - Twentieth-Century Prose and Narrative Genres (LM)

Academic Year 2022/2023

  • 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, students come to a critical awareness of the genres and styles that characterize twentieth-century fiction. They get also acquainted with the major movements, schools and essential aesthetics of storytelling.

Course contents

Topic of the course: «Atlas-Novel». The Place, the Space, and the Narrative.

The course lasts 60 hours, equivalent to 12 training credits. For Erasmus, Overseas and students interested in obtaining 6 credits, the final exam presents the alternative between two options:

a. the preparation and discussion of a paper of about 25-30000 characters, concerning a specific topic among those of the course, to be agreed with the teacher;

b. the preparation and oral presentation of three units chosen from the five ones that make up the whole course.

The aim of the course is to investigate the telling of the place, its historical and social evidence, its relations with narrative techniques in some twentieth-century and contemporary authors.

The choice of this course implies a good knowledge of Italian literature of the twentieth century, acquired during the BA degree.

The course starts on Monday 30 January, 2023, and proceeds with the following schedule until 8 March, 2023:

Monday, 15-17, Room II, Via Zamboni 38;

Tuesday, 15-17, Room C, Via Centrotrecento 18;

Wednesday, 5-7 pm, Room IV, Via Zamboni 38.

The course will resume on March 21, 2023, and will run until May 5, 2023 with the following timetable:

Tuesday, 5-7 pm, Tibiletti Room, Via Zamboni 38;

Thursday, 5-7 pm, Room C, Via Centotrecento 18;

Friday, 5-7 pm, Room III, Via Zamboni 38.

The course materials and the sections of the texts that will be analyzed during the lessons will be available on the "Virtuale" web site.


During the course, the following texts will be read and discussed in class in order to be studied in view of the final oral exam (all of which may also be read in editions and reprints, on paper or electronic, other than those indicated):

1. Ignazio Silone, Fontamara [Fontamara, 1933], Milan: Mondadori, 2016; Natalia Ginzburg, Inverno in Abruzzo [1944], in Le piccole virtù [The Little Virtues, 1962], ed. by Domenico Scarpa, Turin: Einaudi, 2015;

2. Fausta Cialente, Cortile a Cleopatra [Courtyard at Cleopatra, 1936-1953], preface by Franco Cordelli, afterword by Emilio Cecchi, Milan: Baldini Castoldi Dalai, 2004; Fausta Cialente, Ballata levantina [Levantine Ballad, 1961], Milan: Baldini & Castoldi, 2003;

3. Emilio Lussu, Un anno sull'altipiano [A Year on the Plateau, 1938], introduction by Mario Rigoni Stern, Turin: Einaudi, 2014; Mario Rigoni Stern, Storia di Tönle [The Tönle's Tale, 1978], in Storie dall'Altipiano, ed. by Eraldo Affinati, Milan: Mondadori, 2003;

4. Elio Vittorini, Conversazione in Sicilia [Conversation in Sicily, 1941], ed. by Giovanni Falaschi, Milan: Rizzoli, 2014; Vincenzo Consolo, Lo spasimo di Palermo [The Spasm of Palermo, 1998], Milan: Mondadori, 2020;

5. Gianni Celati, Verso la foce [Towards the River's Mouth, 1989], Milan: Feltrinelli, 2018; Ermanno Rea, Il Po si racconta [The Po Tells Its Story, 1996], Milan: Feltrinelli, 2017.

The critical reading of the texts will be accompanied by the study of some essays and articles, gradually available on the "Virtuale" web site.

Non-attending students will read:

Giacomo Debenedetti, Il romanzo del Novecento [The Novel of the Twentieth Century], Milan: La Nave di Teseo, 2019 [also in other editions or reprints; to read the part entitled La nascita del romanzo [The Birth of the Novel] and chapters I-IX, from La nostra data di partenza [Our Date of Departure] to Alcuni aspetti del romanzo [Some Aspects of the Novel].

All information for students enrolled in the course will be provided on the "Virtuale" web site.

Teaching methods

Traditional lectures with a strong interaction between students and teacher.

Assessment methods

For the 6 credits option see above, "Course contents".

For 12 credits, the final exam consists of an oral appointment, which aims to verify some methodological, personally developed skills. It focuses on the main theoretical matters approached throughout the class, and verifies the knowledge of the texts and essays that have been the subject of a common consideration throughout the class. Students could be invited to read and comment some samples using an original approach from a critically well-based point of view.

A positive or excellent score (27 to 30/30, even with distinction) corresponds to a full mastering of technical, theoretical, historical and typological sources, to the ability to make connections among single parts of the course contents, and to show awareness of textual features with an 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 barely mechanically their abilities; a pass or low score (18 to 22/30) to students with severe lacks in one or more topics or exercises, or with inaccuracies while using notions or approaching samples. A negative score is assigned to students who are not able to demonstrate any knowledge of the basic notions required.

Examination sessions take place monthly. No sessions in August. Please sign up at the "AlmaEsami" web site. The registration time ends two days before the oral examination.

Teaching tools

Excerpts from texts and criticism in digital scans.

Office hours

See the website of Stefano Colangelo