13800 - Italian Literature in the Renaissance

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course students are expected to acquire: a sound knowledge of a specific cultural context (the Italian Renaissance) through the reading of literary texts in an interdisciplinary perspective; the ability to analyse and interpret literary texts (in linguistic, rethorical and philological perspective)

Course contents

The course is subdivided in two modules: the fist module of the course will be dedicated to a discussion of the 'Renaissance' as a cultural context (1 lesson) and historical category (2 lessons) as well as to crucial themes and authors of the period, from the end of the XV Century to the end of the XVI Century (12 lessons). The themes that will be pointed out in this first part of the course will be:

  • The XV Century roots of the Renaissance;
  • The new places of the knowledge, the main characters, the new institutions: the print, the Academies, the courts, the Universities, the censorship;
  • The concept of imitation: imitatio/aemulatio;
  • The debate about language as example of relationship between classics and moderns;
  • The Petrarchism and its variations;
  • The courtly and behavioral treatises;
  • The political treatises;
  • Epic poems from Ariosto to Tasso;
  • The rediscovery of Aristotele’s Poetica and the discussion above epic poem.

the second module will focus on a specific topic: “The Infraction to the Rules in XVI Cetury, Among Revolution, Parody and Opportunism: Folengo, Berni, Aretino”. The module aims to examine, through the reading and interpretation of some texts, the best known among the so-called ‘capricious’, ‘bizarre’, ‘irregular’ authors of XVI Italian Literature, to understand, in the more detailed and full manner, the trend of the “Anticlassicism”. The goal of the module is to give students the opportunity to know some aspects of the complexity of XVI Century, by overstepping the simplicistic division of the Renaissance between supporters of the new rules and their rivals ‘lawbreakers’.

The course will start on January 30th. Lessons will be held on Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 3 to 5 pm, at the Grande Laboratorio (via Zamboni 34) and on Fridays, at the same time, in the classroom A of via Zamboni 34 (1st floor).


1) FIRST MODULE (30 hours)

For the first part of the course students are expected to know:

the fundamental features of the history of Italian literature of the sixteenth century. Recommended texts: La letteratura italiana, diretta da Ezio Raimondi: Dalle origini al Cinquecento, a cura di L. Chines, G. Forni, G. Ledda, E. Menetti, Milano, Bruno Mondadori, 2007, capitoli 7-11; oppure: G. Alfano, C. Gigante, E. Russo, Il Rinascimento, Roma, Salerno ed., 2016 (capp. I-IV, VII, IX e le Conclusioni).

Students are required to prepare at least two of the following books (at least three for non-attending students):

  1. Eugenio Garin, La cultura del Rinascimento, Bari, Laterza, 1967;
  2. Jacob Burckhardt,La civiltà del Rinascimento in Italia, Firenze, Sansoni, 2000;
  3. G.M. Anselmi, L'età dell'Umanesimo e del Rinascimento. Le radici italiane dell'Europa Moderna, Carocci, Roma, 2008 (capitoli 9-15);
  4. Ugo Dotti, La rivoluzione incompiuta. Società politica e cultura in Italia da Dante a Machiavelli, Torino, Aragno, 2010 (capp. I-V della Seconda Parte);
  5. Nicola Gardini, Rinascimento, Torino, Einaudi, 2010.

2) SECOND MODULE (30 hours)

Attending-students, besides the texts commented by teacher and available online in AMS Campus, will have to study at least one among the titles of Group A and at least two among the titles of Group B

Non-attending students have to study at least two among the titles of the Group A and at least three of the titles of Group B 

Group A

1) Cinquecento capriccioso e irregolare. Eresie letterarie nell’Italia del Cinquecento, a cura di P. Procaccioli e A. Romano, Manziana, Vecchiarelli, 1999, pp. 7-30, 149-172;

2) Hiram Haydn, Il Controrinascimento, Bologna, il Mulino, 1967, pp. 5-14; 129-208;

3) Nicola Bonazzi, Il carnevale delle idee. L’antipedanteria nell’età della stampa (Venezia, 1538-1553), Bologna, Gedit, 2007, pp. 1-41 (Introduzione + 1° parte del cap. I)

Group B

1) I. Paccagnella, Le macaronee padovane. Tradizione e lingua, Padova 1979, pp. 11-33; 62-83;

2) A. Capata, «Semper truffare paratus». Genere e ideologia nel Baldus di Folengo, Roma, Bulzoni, 2000;

3) A. Daniele, Folengo e Ruzzante: dodici studî sul plurilinguismo rinascimentale, Padova, Esedra, 2013, pp. 11-46;

4) G. Barberi Squarotti, Introduzione a Opere di Francesco Berni e dei berneschi, a cura di G. B. S. e M. Savoretti, Torino, Utet, 2014, pp. 11-51;

5) G. Bàrberi Squarotti, Il Berni: la teoria letteraria e pittorica per antifrasi, «Letteratura italiana antica», 5 (2004), pp. 385-400;

6) A. Corsaro, Il poeta e l’eretico: Francesco Berni e il dialogo contra i poeti, Firenze, Le Lettere, 1988;

7) G. Falcone, Pensiero religioso, scetticismo e satira contro il pedante nella letteratura del Cinquecento, «La Rassegna della letteratura italiana», LXXXVIII (1984), pp. 80-116;

8) P. Larivaille, Pietro Aretino tra Rinascimento e Manierismo, Roma, Bulzoni, 1980, pp. 139-227;

9) Q. Marini, Eversione e conformismo in Pietro Aretino, in «La rassegna della letteratura italiana», LXXXIV (1980), pp. 501-519;

10) F. Sberlati, L’infame. Storia di Pietro Aretino, Marsilio, 2018, pp. 154-212 (cap. su “Venezia”).

Teaching methods

Lectures and discussions aimed at reading texts and discussing interpretative hypotheses about them.

Assessment methods

Oral exam consisting of a discussion (approx. 40-45 minutes) of both the general and the monographic section. Students are required to show the ability to discuss and interpret the assigned texts clearly and persuasively, relating them to their cultural context. Also the student's ability to express himself with clarity and language properties will be evaluated. The standard of oral expression will also be assessed.

  • The lack of ability to orientate itself in the literary panorama of Renaissance culture and to recognize the fundamental characteristics of the major texts of the late 15th and 16th centuries of the program will entail negative voting;
  • The student who will grasp the fundamental aspects of the works and authors proposed during the course and will recognize the fundamental questions and the salient features of the most important works of Renaissance literature and its protagonists will achieve a positive evaluation (vote: 25-28);
  • An in-depth knowledge of humanistic texts and literature will imply a very good (29-30) and even excellent (30L) evaluation. To achieve excellence, a complete understanding of all the topics covered is required, and also the firm possession of the literary chronology (the dates of the major works' output of the authors treated are important), the use of precise technical terminology (in the rhetorical domain) , philological-literary, etc .. eg: to know being able to say the precise literary genre to which the mentioned works belong, or to indicate the chronological range of composition in the case of very famous works, such as L'Orlando furioso or Il Cortegiano) and, moreover , a personal critical elaboration of the acquired contents.

Teaching tools

Projection of word, pdf, ppw files and photocopies distribution.

Office hours

See the website of Andrea Severi