28484 - Contemporary Italian Literature (1) (LM) (M-Z)

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student understands a literary text in its ideological, structural and stylistic elements and in its dialectical-social relations, with particular attention to the cultural and symbolic semantics of language. They are able to approach the text through a critical-narratological reading.

Course contents

Gaze at the Contradictions of the World

The course deals with the analysis of different narrative strategies implemented by authors in order to recount the contradictions of today's society through art and the artist's gaze. Works published from the second half of the 20th century to the present day are taken into consideration, in which the question of the gaze is fundamental in a twofold perspective: as a careful and precise observation of works of art, aimed at stimulating profound reflections on the visual paradigm; but also as a reconstruction of the gaze of an artist - of the present or of the past - on his or her own cultural context of reference, investigating the peculiar characteristics of each poetic and artistic practice. With regard to these themes, a fundamental text (and compulsory reading) is the long story Nel museo di Reims (1988) by Daniele Del Giudice, in which the semi-blind protagonist is forced to confront the irreconcilable epistemological dichotomy between word and image, between ecphrasis and visuality. All the works in the programme (published in the last 10-15 years) are confronted with these issues, each time finding suitable and original solutions to narrate the artist's gaze. In addition, they address specific cultural and social issues of particular relevance in today's society: art as a symptom of the crisis of the bourgeois individual in late-capitalist society; the degeneration of the economic system of art; the transformation of an artist of the past into a modern icon; the difficulties of the female artist to emerge in the art world, both yesterday and today; the contrast between freedom of artistic expression and the imposed oppression of racism.

The topics addressed during the course are: 1) the relationship between literature and the visual arts 2) ekphrasis, as a verbal description of a painting 3) the question of the gaze in literature 4) the artist's novel 5) literature and the challenges of postmodernity.


Students must read the following texts in full:

Mandatory reading:
a) Daniele Del Giudice, Nel museo di Reims, Mondadori 1988, then Einaudi 2010 (or later editions)

Choice readings (4 texts for the 12 cfu / 2 texts for the 6 cfu):

b) Tiziano Scarpa, Il brevetto del geco, Einaudi 2016
c) Tommaso Pincio, Il dono di saper vivere, Einaudi 2018
d) Melania Mazzucco, L’architettrice, Einaudi 2019
e) Igiaba Scego, La linea del colore, Bompiani 2020
f) Francesco Pecoraro, Camere e stanze, Ponte alle Grazie 2021
g) Andrea Inglese, La vita adulta, Ponte alle Grazie 2021

Critical essays (mandatory):
a) Michele Cometa, La scrittura delle immagini, Milan, Raffaello Cortina, 2012.
b) Georges Didi-Huberman, Davanti all'immagine, Mimesis, Milan-Udine, 2016 [Only Addendum: Questione di dettaglio, questione di lembo, pp. 287-336].
c) Filippo Milani, Il pittore come personaggio. Itinerari nella narrativa italiana contemporanea, Carocci, 2020.
d) All teaching materials uploaded onto the VIRTUAL platform

Non-attending students add:
Cento anni di letteratura italiana 1910-2010, edited by Marco A. Bazzocchi, Einaudi, 2021 (Part Five only)

Teaching methods

Lessons, class discussion, active participation in class, videos, power points, movies.

Assessment methods

The oral test consists in an oral interview which has the aim of evaluating the critical and methodological ability of the students. The students will be invited to discuss the texts on the course programme. The student must demonstrate an appropriate knowledge of the bibliography in the course programme.

Those students who are able to demonstrate a wide and systematic understanding of the issues covered during the lessons, are able to use these critically and who master the field-specific language of the discipline will be given a mark of excellence.

Those students who demonstrate a mnemonic knowledge of the subject with a more superficial analytical ability and ability to synthesize, a correct command of the language but not always appropriate, will be given a ‘fair' mark.

A superficial knowledge and understanding of the material, a scarce analytical and expressive ability that is not always appropriate will be rewarded with a pass mark or just above a pass mark.

Teaching tools

In addition to lectures, held by the teacher, audiovisual tools will be used to support the teaching. Students will also be invited to bring a significant contribution to enreach the issues upon which the course focuses.

Office hours

See the website of Filippo Milani


Quality education Gender equality Reduced inequalities Sustainable cities

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