02609 - Contemporary Italian Literature

Course Unit Page


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

Good health and well-being Quality education Reduced inequalities Climate Action

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course the student has acquired a working knowledge of wide areas of twentieth-century literary history, with special emphasis on the relation between literature and historical, social, anthropological, and more broadly cultural phenomena. Study is assisted by secondary literature and face-to-face tuition and covers close reading of the text as well as problems of form, structure, composition, and reception.

Course contents

The course aims to retrace the fascist twenty-year period from a lateral perspective, investigating the way in which some writers have reworked the tragic Italian story. Montale's poems investigate the loneliness of modern man in search of a meaning that justifies "the evil of living"; Pavese's dialogues move the reflection on the present into a mythical and ancestral dimension; and then the novels of Gadda and Morante, both incredible writers: the first sets in a South American elsewhere, the Maradágal, its own neurosis and repulsion for fascist violence; the second, however, many years after the tragic events of the Second World War, sets the story of a little woman Ida and her two children, Nino and Useppe, and transforms it into a fascinating fresco of mankind. 


Fascisms: re-thinking the world through writing

  1. E. Montale, Ossi di seppia (1925), a cura di P. Cataldi, F. D’Amely, Milano, Mondadori 2016.
  2. C. Pavese, Dialoghi con Leucò (1947), Torino, Einaudi 2020.
  3. Id., Feria d’agosto (1946), Torino, Einaudi 2020, La vigna.
  4. C.E. Gadda, La cognizione del dolore (1963), Milano, Adelphi 2017.
  5. Id., I viaggi la morte (1958), Milano, Garzanti 2001: [piattaforma online]
  • Come lavoro
  • Meditazione breve circa il dire e il fare
  • Psicanalisi e letteratura

6. E. Morante, La storia (1974), Torino, Einaudi 2014.


M.A. Bazzocchi (a cura di), Cento anni di letteratura: 1910-2010, Torino, Einaudi 2021.

For not-attendant students:

  • A. Borghesi, Una storia invisibile. Morante Ortese Weil, Macerata, Quodlibet 2015, pp. 11-66.
  • R. Gasperina Geroni, Cesare Pavese controcorrente, Macerata, Quodlibet 2020.
  • G.C. Roscioni, La disarmonia prestabilita. Studio su Gadda, Torino, Einaudi 1997.

Teaching methods

The course is based on the reading, the analysis and the discussion of the literary texts in biblioghaphy.

Assessment methods

Assessment consists of a viva voce examination aiming to assess the knowledge and critical skills acquired by the candidate during the course.

1. First-class marks will be awarded to candidates who demonstrate an ability to analyse texts in depth and to produce an organic overview of the topics covered in the course. Overall mark between 27 and 30 cum laude (high linguistic ability is required).

2. A mostly mnemonic knowledge of the subject, analytical skills lacking depth, and correct but not always apposite expression will result in a modest mark. Overall mark between 23 and 26.

3. Elementary knowledge, superficial understanding, poor analytical skills, and inapposite expression will lead to a pass or only slightly higher mark. Overall mark between 18 and 22.

4. Gaps in the candidate’s knowledge, inapposite language, and inadequate engagement with the secondary literature offered in the course will result in a fail mark.

Teaching tools


Office hours

See the website of Riccardo Gasperina Geroni