00381 - Romance Philology (A-L)

Course Unit Page


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

Quality education Reduced inequalities Sustainable cities Partnerships for the goals

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of this course the student has the knowledge of the Romance literatures (especially of the Middle Ages) and the Romance languages (from the origins to the present day) learned in a comparative perspective. The student also acquires notions about the position of Italian among the Romance languages and their expansion in Europe and worldwide, as well as textual philology issues, including the literary communication and semiotics. He also develops the ability to make use of the tools of the discipline (dictionaries, grammars, databases, etc.), to read the sources (through ancient manuscripts and critical editions) and to apply them to the analysis of texts.

Course contents

• The course is divided into two modules for a total of 60 hours and of 12 credits.

• Classes will start on January 31, 2022

Module 1. (30 hours, 6 credits): February 31, 2022-March 2, 2022

Modulo 2. (30 hours, 6 credits): March 7, 2022-April 6, 2022

Course timetable: Monday, 15:00-17:00, via Zamboni 38, aula V; Tuesday, 15:00-17:00, via Zamboni 38, aula V; Wednesday, 13:00-15:00, via Zamboni 38, aula V.

Students who choose the 6 credits course can attend the first part of the classes, Module 1 (February 31, 2022-March 2, 2022).

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.

• Syllabus and Course contents:

The course does not require prior knowledge of ancient Romance languages. The texts analysed in class will always be read also in Italian translation; the original ancient texts will be read with the tutor’s guide and introduced in such a way as to ensure everyone’s understanding. Frequency is strongly recommended.

Module 1. Masterpieces of Medieval Romance Literature

A1. Fundamentals of Romance Philology.

In the first introductory part, the Professor will provide the notions of the discipline’s foundation (modern philology, vulgar Latin, history and evolution of Italian and Romance languages, reading and commentary of some of the oldest texts, comparative method) along with rudiments of linguistics, metrics and rhetoric.

B1. XIIth and XIIIth Centuries Romance Literatures: texts, genres, authors

In the second part, based on the philological reading of selected texts, some of the masterpieces of Romance literature of modern Europe will be studied: the characters of Orlando, Tristan and Isolde, Lancelot, Perceval, Merlin. These texts will provide the opportunity to explore different literary genres (epos, romance) and will be read with particular attention to their reception in Dante, Petrarca and Boccaccio. At the same time, we will observe the written and figured expressions that have retained a significant trace of medieval forms (selected passages of modern texts, cinematographic and theatrical expressions) that contribute to restoring their extraordinary vitality, not only European.

Module 2. Poetry and Time

A2. The first poets of modern Europe: troubadours, trouvères, Italian poets

In this part of the course students will study the lyric genre, its origins and its medieval diffusion, from troubadours’ France to Frederick II’s Italy. Particular emphasis will be given to the diffusion of these traditions in the works of Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio, but also to the specific revivals or peculiar rewriting of medieval poems in modern European texts..

B2. The literary work overtime: critical text exercises.

Students will study methods and problems posed by the critical edition of medieval texts, in particular autographs.

It is possible to write and submit a paper on an agreed subject, also for groups of students, to replace a part of the oral exam (it is not mandatory for the examination). At the end of the course students can practice on manuscripts of University Library of Bologna.


Module 1

Attending students

A1. For attending students, the notes of the lessons will be the essential basis for the preparation of the exam. In relation to the parts developed during the course, attending students will study a collection of handouts edited by the Professor available online on Virtuale. Attending students will also study P. Beltrami, La filologia romanza, Bologna, il Mulino, 2017.

B1. An essay of your choice from those listed in the handouts.

Module 2

Attending students

A2. Students will prepare the texts commented in class and gathered in the handout, read with the aid of A. Roncaglia, La lingua dei trovatori, Roma, and three essays of your choice from those listed in the handouts.

B2. The textual criticism handouts together with the introduction and a chapter to be chosen from G. Brunetti, Autografi francesi medievali, Roma, Salerno Editrice, 2014.

Non-attending students

Non-attending students will prepare the final exam following the previous bibliography with the support of these additional readings:

- M. Barbato, Le lingue romanze. Profilo storico-comparativo, Bari, Laterza, 2017.

- P. Gresti (a cura di), Antologia delle letterature romanze del Medioevo, Bologna, Pàtron, 2011 (entirely)

Classes will start on January 31, 2022

Place and course timetable:

Monday, 15:00-17:00, Via Zamboni 38, aula V

Tuesday, 15:00-17:00, Via Zamboni 38, aula V

Wednesday 13:00-15:00, Via Zamboni 38, aula V

Teaching methods

- Lectures and seminars;

- Philological reading and commentary of texts, investigated in their historical genesis and transmission;

- Discussion of the methods, assumptions and different interpretations of the main critical lines;

- Students can apply for specific bibliographies and specially set up laboratories. There will be individual tutoring.

Assessment methods

  • Oral examination.
  • The student must demonstrate, with correctness and linguistic properties, that he has studied all parts of the program.
  • In the interview, the Professor will assess the learning outcomes and the critical capacity of the student. The student has to be able to read, comment philologically and interpret literary texts in the program, with clarity and relevance. The student will be provided with at least two textual examples among those examined during classes.
  • Along with the historical understanding of the text and in particular of the literary genre studied, the student will have to demonstrate competence in methods and problems of romance philology, comparative argumentation skills, and good command of the specific vocabulary of modern editorial practice.
  • If the student has decided to submit a written essay, evaluation will include oral presentation in front of his mates. The Professor will judge the ability of synthesis, the correct use of language, coherence of argument, as well as contents and form of the paper (submitted ten days before the oral presentation)

The oral exam will be divided in:

  • 1. Development of a topic covered in the A sections (Fundamentals of Romance Philology); 2. Reading and commenting of one or two texts studied in class; 3. Development of a topic covered in B sections (Textual Criticism with discussion of the chosen essays).

Evaluation parameters:

  • Insufficient vote: absence or strong lack of basic knowledge and lack of the ability to read and analyse texts;
  • Sufficient vote (18): possession of basic notions and sufficient understanding of the texts;
  • Positive vote (from 19 to 25): possession of intermediate level of knowledge; correct but not thorough ability in reading texts, sufficient capacity of connection between the different contents, essentially correct expression but with some imprecisions;
  • More than positive vote (from 26 to 28): possessing good and articulated knowledge; correct language; discrete critical ability;
  • Excellent vote (from 29 to 30L): possessing more than good knowledge; precision, maturity of expression and in-depth analysis; great autonomy in data re-elaboration and the ability to connect content; critical ability and mastery in reading, translation and philological commentary texts. Honours will be given only to students who will demonstrate a complete and solid knowledge of the program, critical ability, autonomy and brilliant and organic exposure of acquired knowledge.

Teaching tools

Ppts, Databases, Tables of manuscript reproductions, digital media

Office hours

See the website of Giuseppina Brunetti

See the website of Niccolò Gensini