31228 - Romance Philology 1 (M-Z)

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Niccolò Gensini

  • Credits 9

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme First cycle degree programme (L) in Foreign Languages and Literature (cod. 0979)

  • Teaching resources on Virtuale


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

Quality education Gender equality Reduced inequalities

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student, through the philological reading of some significant texts, has a good knowledge of the main methods and themes of the philology of Romance languages and literatures, achieves the comparative study of at least one literary genre and a linguistic variety, as well as an adequate development of the critical sense and tools of the editorial practice of modern literary texts.

Course contents

The course does not require prior knowledge of ancient Romance languages or Latin. Any text analysed in class will always be read in Italian translation as well. The texts, which will be made available by the teacher in a handout, will be read and commented on in class and will form part of the examination programme. Attendance is strongly recommended.

1. Fundamentals of Romance Philology. In the first part of the course the basic notions of the discipline will be provided, describing from a comparative perspective the historical dynamics that led to the formation of Romance languages and literatures. Key concepts of historical linguistics, textual criticism, the comparative method, and the problems posed by the critical edition of medieval texts will be explored.

2. From Middle Ages: Texts, Genres, Characters. In the second part of the course, based on the philological reading of selected texts, you will study some of the masterpieces of Romance literature of medieval Europe: the passages dedicated to Orlando, Tristan and Isolde, Lancelot, Perceval, and Merlin will provide an opportunity to explore different literary genres and will allow to investigate the extraordinary vitality of medieval Romance characters and forms in modern and contemporary European literatures. Particular attention will be paid to the historical-linguistic, historical-literary commentary and translation of passages from the novels of Chrétien de Troyes and the Lancelot-Grail Cycle.


Attending students

For attending students, the handout and the notes of the lessons will be the essential basis for the preparation of the exam; the handouts will be available online on Virtuale. Attending students will also study: (1) the textbook Pietro Beltrami, La filologia romanza, Bologna, il Mulino; (2) an essay from those listed in the handout, which students can select according to their main study interests.

Non-attending students

Non-attending students will prepare the final exam following the previous bibliography with the support of these additional readings: (1) Marcello Barbato, Le lingue romanze. Profilo storico-comparativo, Bari, Laterza; Paolo Gresti (ed.), Antologia delle letterature romanze del Medioevo, Bologna, Pàtron.

However, it is advisable to contact the teacher to indicate your intention to prepare the examination with the programme for non-attending students, to receive further information and to agree on alternative readings.

Teaching methods

Lectures and seminars; discussion of methods, different interpretative hypotheses and the main critical lines; reading, translation and commentary of selected texts.

Assessment methods

Oral examination.

The student will have to demonstrate, with correctness and property of language, to have studied all the parts of the program. The exam will assess the student's learning outcomes and critical skills through the reading, philological commentary and interpretation of the texts in the programme. At least one passage from those examined during the lessons will be submitted to the student. Together with the historical understanding of the texts and literary genres studied, the student will have to demonstrate knowledge of the methods and problems of Romance philology, the capacity for comparative argumentation and a good command of the specific vocabulary.

The development of the oral exam will therefore include: (1) an exposition of a topic covered in part I (Fundamentals of Romance Philology) together with the verification of the study of the textbook; (2) the reading and commentary of at least one passage studied in class; (3) a discussion of a topic covered in part II (From the Middle Ages to the Novel: texts, genres, characters) with the essay selected.

The assessment will be based on the following indications:

  • insufficient vote: absence or strong lack of basic knowledge and lack of the ability to read and analyse texts;
  • sufficient vote (18): possession of the basic notions and sufficient understanding of the texts;
  • positive vote (from 19 to 25): possession of knowledge at an intermediate level; correct but not in-depth reading of texts, sufficient ability to connect the various contents, substantially correct expression but with some inaccuracies;
  • more than positive vote (26 to 28): possession of good and articulate knowledge and correct language;
  • excellent vote (from 29 to 30L): more than good knowledge; precision of expression and in-depth study; excellent autonomy in the re-elaboration of the data and in the ability to connect the contents; critical capacity and mastery in the reading and philological commentary of the texts. Cum laude will be awarded to students who demonstrate a complete and solid knowledge of the programme, autonomy and brilliant and organic presentation.

Office hours

See the website of Niccolò Gensini