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)

    Also valid for First cycle degree programme (L) in Humanities (cod. 8850)

  • Course Timetable from Jan 31, 2024 to May 10, 2024

Academic Year 2023/2024

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, students possess basic knowledge of some general concepts of literature, the functioning of literary institutions, the relationship between text and context, and the dynamics of literary communication. They know and can use the main practical methodologies for the analysis of the literary text, in its rhetorical, formal, stylistic, thematic and ideological components.

Course contents

Who tells the story? Theory and history of narration in the modern novel

Within the framework of a reflection on the functioning and social meaning of the literary text, the course will propose a theoretical, technical, and historical inquiry about one of the key notions of literary theory as well as narrative practice: the narrator, the voice that, when we open a book, begins to tell us a story. Who is speaking to us, where does that voice come from, what is the value of the narrative act, with what tools can we conceptualise and interpret it, what functions is it charged with and what effects does it produce on the addressees, will be some of the questions we will try to answer, taking the modern novel, from the eighteenth century to the first decades of the twentieth century, as the centre of the analysis.



• Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders (1722), Garzanti

• Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey (1817), Mondadori

• Honoré de Balzac, L’albergo rosso (1831), Theoria (oppure PaginaUno) o, in alternativa, Addio (1832), Passigli

• Herman Melville, Benito Cereno (1856), con testo a fronte, Rizzoli

• Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary (1857), Garzanti

• Henry James, Giro di vite (1898), Einaudi

• Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim (1900), Garzanti

• Virginia Woolf, Al faro (1927), Feltrinelli



• Gérard Genette, “Discorso del racconto”, in Gérard Genette, Figure III. Discorso del racconto, Einaudi (pp. 69-316)

• AA. VV. Teorie del punto di vista, a cura di Donata Meneghelli, La nuova Italia (solo le pp. 1-164)

Un testo a scelta tra quelli elencati di seguito:

• Robert Scholes, Robert Kellog, “Il punto di vista nella narrativa”, in Robert Scholes e Robert Kellog, La natura della narrativa, il Mulino, pp. 305-359

• Donata Meneghelli, “Le voci della narrativa”, in Giuseppe carrara, Laura Neri (a cura di), Teoria della letteratura, Carocci, pp. XX

• Giovanna Mochi, Le “cose cattive” di Henry James, Pratiche

• Seymour Chatman, “Narratore nascosto versus narratore palese”, in Seymour Chatman, Storia e discorso, Pratiche, pp. XX

• Walter Siti, “Il romanzo sotto accusa”, in Franco Moretti (a cura di), Il romanzo, vol. I, La cultura del romanzo, Einaudi, pp. 129-155.

Teaching methods

Through in-class reading of passages from the literary texts, students will be encouraged to reflect and intervene, also bringing into play their personal heritage of literary and cultural references, their modes of reading and interpretation. Supplementary materials will be provided to the students and discussed during the lessons, in a dialogic and interactive manner; supplementary materials will be made available on the Unibo Virtual platform [https://virtuale.unibo.it/] .

Office hours

See the website of Donata Meneghelli