08846 - Comparative Literatures

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Donata Meneghelli

  • Credits 9

  • SSD L-FIL-LET/14

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Bologna

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

  • Course Timetable from Feb 13, 2023 to May 12, 2023


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

Quality education Gender equality

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

The course aims at providing students with theoretical and methodological tools for interpreting a literary text. Students will acquire a deep knowledge of the literary practices and themes in a comparative perspective. They will be capable to explore and investigate literary forms and themes in a comparative perspective, with a special focus on the relationships between different national tradition and different cultural/historical contexts, as well as the relationships between literary texts and other semiotic systems of expression (music, cinema, performance, theatre and so on).

Course contents


Problems of Ending and Closure in the Modern Novel

Ending and closure have long been major concerns in narrative theory and comparative literature, variously linked to issues of genre(s), tradition(s), cultural context(s), literary status, ideology, and psycho-social attitudes on the part of both readers and writers, and they are even more relevant today, within a mediascape which is increasingly characterised by “endless narratives” (TV series going through several seasons, film and literature multiplicity, continuations, spin-offs and the like). Must a narrative end somewhere? Where? How? And why?

Against this background, the seminar will tackle notions of ending and closure from both a theoretical and a historical perspective. In doing so, it will stress the differences between the two notions (ending and closure are not one and the same thing), challenge some ideas on “closed” and “open” texts which are taken for granted, and prompt reflection on narrative temporality. Particular attention will be paid to some closural strategies, such as the epilogue or the happy ending and their many aporias, with special reference to nineteenth-century fiction, some literary practices that work “against” the end, such as the sequel, or some fictional/cultural tropes connected to “the sense of an ending”.

Timing of the course: second semester (February-May)


The reading list will be published at the beginning of the academic year

Teaching methods

This 60 hours course is based on the reading, analysis and discussion of literary and non-literary texts. During the lectures, students will be invited to take an active part, with questions and insights.
Further downloadable materials in support of the lessons such as digital images, power point presentations and readings will be uploaded on the Moodle Unibo Virtuale [https://virtuale.unibo.it/] during the course.

Assessment methods

Evaluation methods

The abilities acquired during the course will be evaluated through an oral test aimed at ascertaining a deep knowledge of all the topics covered during the course. The oral test consists in an interview aimed at evaluating the students' critical and methodological skills. Students will be invited to discuss the texts in the reading list and comment on them. Therefore students must demonstrate an appropriate knowledge of the recommended reading list.

Students who are able to demonstrate a wide and systematic understanding of the issues covered during the course, to tackle them critically, and who master the critical jargon of the discipline will be given a mark of excellence. Students who demonstrate a mere mnemonic knowledge of the subject together with a more superficial analytical ability to synthesize, a correct command of the critical jargon but not always appropriate, will be given a ‘fair' mark. A superficial knowledge and understanding of the course topics, a scarce analytical and expressive ability will be rewarded with a pass mark or just above a pass mark. Students who demonstrate gaps in their knowledge of the main topics, inappropriate language skills, lack of familiarity with the syllabus reading list will not be given a pass mark.

Office hours

See the website of Donata Meneghelli