00562 - Italian Literature (D-L)

Course Unit Page


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

At the end of the course, students are expected to show a sound knowledge of the Italian literary tradition through the close reading of selected texts; they will also be able to develop critical reflections on the material under analysis and present clear and accurate interpretations of it, both orally and in writing, by applying independently and appropriately the methodology introduced by the lecturer.

Course contents

1. Lectures

During the course, the lecturer will discuss a selection of canonical literary texts from the 13th to the 19th century, providing examples of specific critical methods and perspectives.

Students attending the lectures are required to read the books and materials listed at point 1 of the following section ('Readings/Bibliography'), and are expected to show their knowledge of the topics and texts discussed in class.

2. Individual Study.

Students are also required to read the assigned textbooks and canonical literary texts listed at point 2 of the following section 'Readings/Bibliography'


1. Lectures

Notes from the lectures, readings and materials available through the Virtuale online platform.

2. Further assigned readings:

2.a) Textbooks: Itinerari della letteratura italiana. Da Dante al web, ed. by N. Bonazzi, A. Campana, F. Giunta, N. Maldina, supervised by G.M. Anselmi, Roma, Carocci, 2012 (ch. 1-18). For metrics and rhetoric: L. Chines, Glossario dei termini metrici e retorici (available on Virtuale). For students wishing a more extensive textbook the following are also recommended: Alfano-Italia-Russo-Tomasi, Letteratura italiana. Manuale per studi universitari, Milano, Mondadori, 2018 (2 vols); or: Letteratura italiana, ed. by A. Battistini, Bologna, il Mulino, 2014 (2 vols); and the anthology edited by Anselmi-Chines-Bernardi-Di Franco-Severi, Leggere i classici italiani. Un’antologia, Bologna, Pàtron, 2019, pp. 7-168.

2.b) Primary texts (recommended critical readings are not compulsory):

Dante Alighieri, Inferno; recommended commentaries: Pasquini-Quaglio, Garzanti, 1982-86; G. Inglese, Carocci, 2007; Chiavacci Leonardi, Mondadori, 2005. recommended crtical readings: E. Auerbach, Studi su Dante, Milano, Feltrinelli, 2005; E. Pasquini, Vita di Dante. I giorni e le opere, Milano, Rizzoli, 2006; G. Ledda, Dante, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2008.

Francesco Petrarca, Canzoniere, poems: I, III, V, XI, XVI, XXXV, LII, LXI, XC, CXXVI, CXXVIII, CXXIX, CXXXIV, CXXXVII, CCLXXII, CCCII, CCCXXXIII, CCCXXXVI, CCCLXVI; recommended commentaries: Vecchi, Bur, 2012; Santagata, Mondadori, 1996 (2004 2a ed.); recommended crtical readings: L. Chines, Petrarca, Bologna, Pàtron, 2017;

G. Boccaccio, Decameron, days: I, III, X; recommended commentaries: Quondam – Fiorilla – Alfano, Bur, 2013; recommended crtical readings: F. Bausi, Leggere il Decameron, Bologna, il Mulino, 2017;

N. Machiavelli, Il principe; recommended commentaries: Anselmi-Varotti, Bollati Boringhieri, 1992; G. Inglese, Einaudi, 2005; R. Ruggiero, Bur, 2008; recommended crtical readings: R. Bruscagli, Machiavelli, Il Mulino, 2008; G.M. Anselmi, N. Bonazzi, Niccolò Machiavelli, Le Monnier, 2011;

L. Ariosto, Orlando furioso, cantos I, XII, XXIII, XXXIV; recommended commentary: Bigi - Zampese, Bur, 2015; recommended crtical readings: S. Zatti, Leggere l’Orlando furioso, Bologna, il Mulino, 2016; C. Dini, Ariosto. Guida all’Orlando furioso, Roma, Carocci, 2001;

T. Tasso, Gerusalemme liberata, cantos I, XII; recommended commentary: Tomasi, Bur, 2009; recommended crtical readings: M. Residori, Tasso, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2009; G. Alfano, Torquato Tasso, Firenze, Le Monnier, 2010;

G. Galilei, Dialogo dei massimi sistemi, day I; recommended editions: ed. by A. Beltrán Marí, Milano, Bur, 2014; ed. by Ferdinando Flora, Milano, Mondadori, 2016; OR, as an alternative: Lettera a Benedetto Castelli del 21 dicembre 1613 e Lettera a Cristina di Lorena, recommended edition: ed. by M. Baldini, Roma, Armando, 2008; recommended crtical readings: A. Battistini, Introduzione a Galileo Galilei, Bari, Laterza, 1989.

C. Beccaria, Dei delitti e delle pene, ed. by F. Venturi, Torino, Einaudi, 2018; recommended crtical readings: Ph. Audegean, Cesare Beccaria, filosofo europeo, Roma, Carocci, 2014;

V. Alfieri, Vita; recommended commentary: Cerruti, Bur, 1987; recommended crtical readings: G. Fenocchio, Alfieri, Bologna, il Mulino, 2012; A. Di Benedetto, V. Perdichizzi, Alfieri, Roma, Salerno, 2014;

U. Foscolo, Sonetti e Sepolcri; recommended commentaries: Martinelli, Mondadori, 1987; Palumbo, Bur, 2010; recommended crtical readings: M. Cerruti, Introduzione a Foscolo, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 1990, oppure A. Campana, Ugo Foscolo. Letteratura e politica, Napoli, Liguori, 2010.

Non-attending students

Students who do not attend the lectures are required to read the primary texts listed in section 2b, and the following textbook: Alfano-Italia-Russo-Tomasi, Letteratura italiana. Manuale per studi universitari, Milano, Mondadori, 2018 (2 vols) up to the chapter on Ugo Foscolo.

Teaching methods

Lectures and seminars involving text analysis and class discussion.

Formative written assignments

Assessment methods

Assessment for the course includes a written and an oral exam.

Written exam (2 hours). Students will be required to analyse texts included in the reading list, showing their ability to discuss their thematic and formal features, as well as the cultural and literary context. Students will also be required to answer some questions about the history of Italian literature, metrics, rhetoric, philology. The choice of questions will include: two commentaries of texts selected from the reading list for the first (general) part of the course; one question on Italian literary history; one question on the topic of the second part (monographic) of the course. Students are required to sit the written exam before taking the oral exam, but they are allowed to take the oral exam even if they don't 'pass' the written exam. The result of the written exam will form a part of the final overall mark. Markers will assess: accuracy of the answers; quality of expression and critical language; structure of argument; quality of critical reflection; knowledge of the contents of the course; ability to provide clear and accurate interpretations of the texts; ability to use the specialist language of literary criticism.

In some cases (for instance: non-native speakers of Italian), students might be allowed to substitute the written exam with a 3,000-word essay, whose topic must be agreed in advance with the lecturer.

Oral exam (approx. 30 minutes). Students will be required to discuss their readings and the contents of the course. Markers will assess: standard of expression; ability to provide clear and accurate interpretations of the texts; ability to discuss the contents of the course; ability to use the specialist language of literary criticism; quality of critical reflection. Students may choose whether they prefer to discuss sections 1 (lectures) and 2 (set primary readings and textbook) in a single oral exam or in two different sessions.

Assessment Criteria. To be awarded a final mark between 27 and 30 cum laude students are expected to: show the ability to analyse in depth literary texts following the methodology introduced by the lecturer and/or in the set critical readings; possess and be able to present both verbally and in writing a thorough and organic knowledge of the topics discussed in class and/or in the set readings; show an excellent standard of expression (both written and verbal); show the ability to use properly the technical language of philology and literary criticism. A mark between 23 and 26 will be awarded to students who will show: a good knowledge of the course contents; the ability to provide an accurate analysis of literary texts (although there might be some minor imperfections); a good standard of verbal and written expression (with occasional minor flaws in the presentation and/or in the use of technical language). Students obtaining a mark between 18 and 22 will typically show: an adequate but superficial knowledge of the contents; a basic understanding of the texts and a limited ability to analyse them, an acceptable standard of expression with a fairly competent (although not always accurate) use of technical language. Poor knowledge of the set texts and course topics, inadequate ability to analyse literary texts; inaccurate and inappropriate verbal and written expression with major problems in the use of technical language will result in a fail.

Teaching tools

  • Lectures and seminars
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • 'Virtuale' e-learning Platform

Office hours

See the website of Angelo Maria Mangini