The Course will consist of the analysis of selected texts from the core canon of the Italian Literature. Such texts will be of high eminence, both from the artistic and historic point of view, in relation with the establishment of the Italian national identity. The critical reading will start assessing the philological situation of the texts, and will develop through questions regarding the literary genre, the theoretical debates involved, and the rethorical and linguistic aspects of these works
Course title: Literature and history after Italy's Unification: Verga's short stories and his novel I Malavoglia
Texts (recommended editions):
Giovanni Verga, Tutte le novelle, a cura di Giulio Carnazzi, Milano, BUR, 2008 (and reprints);
Giovanni Verga, I Malavoglia, a cura di Giulio Carnazzi, Milano, BUR, 2013.
The course includes the complete reading of the novel I Malavoglia and of a dozen short stories, chosen from those most pertinent to the historical, social and political situation of Italy at the time.
Andrea Manganaro, Verga, Acireale-Roma, Bonanno, 2011.
In addition to this overall monograph, each student will have to carry out some in-depth readings by choosing from the options that will be provided during the course.
Knowledge: The course involves a general introduction to the features of post-Unification Italian narrative, and a specific study of the works of Giovanni Verga, with reading and commentary of his novel I Malavoglia and of a selection from his short stories. It includes rudiments of stylistic, rhetoric and philology, besides presenting the main tools for study of Italian literature.
Competence: The course involves a first look at scientific editions from Italian literary tradition as well as bibliographical sources; it will also prepare students to use text commentary tools properly; students will have a first experience with bibliographical research in the library; their public speaking skills will be put to test.
An excellent knowledge of the Italian language is required, as are mastery of grammatical and syntactical structures of written Italian, good ability to read literary and critical texts, as well as reasonable competence in using dictionaries and commentaries. Finally, an important prerequisite is a thorough knowledge of Italian national history, with particular regard to the Risorgimento and the post-unification period.
Lectures. Students are encouraged to participate, ask questions and maintain a direct relationship with the professor, even during weekly receiving hours.
Students are expected to keep dutifully to attendance rules: with the exception of part-time students, the course is considered valid (and students are admitted to the examination) only if their attendance is recorded by signature for at least two thirds of the lessons (24 hours out of 36 total course hours). Every student must sign the attendance sheet at the beginning of each lesson.
Only students enrolled in part-time mode, students enrolled in single courses, or those who were unable to attend for serious health reasons are exempt from the frequency requirement. These students are required to personally contact the professor at the beginning of the course, and in any case at least two months before the chosen exam date.
Type of Assessment
Students will be tested in an end-of-course oral examination (lasting about twenty minutes), which assesses general knowledge of:
- the literary texts covered in the course;
- the author's life and works, in the context of literary and cultural framework of his time;
- the content of the lectures and any materials made available on the moodle;
- the critical essays in the course program (the Manganaro monograph and the in-depth readings of your choice).
Students must demonstrate the following skills:
- to be able to read, interpret and comment correctly the texts covered in the course;
- to possess a sufficient capacity for oral exposure, with a correct use of the proper terminology;
- hopefully, to possess a minimum capacity for personal critical processing of what has been studied.
Course title: Literature and history after Italy's Unification: Verga's short stories and his novel I Malavoglia.
The course aims to examine the narrative works of Verga in relation to the historical-political, social and economic framework of post-unification Italy, focusing not only on the contents of his works, but also on the meaning of his stylistic and expressive research in the context of the wider debate on realism in art and on French naturalism, in the perspective of a literature intended as a means of critical knowledge of reality.
The novel I Malavoglia will be read in full, paying attention to the unusual picture of post-unification Italy seen with the eyes of the humble (but not innocent) fishermen of Aci Trezza; to the particular relationship established in the novel between a mythical timeless dimension and a historical dimension; to the meaning of the dissolution of traditional narrative structures brought about by the assumption of new narrative and stylistic techniques.
Among the short tales, we will examine some well-known texts, closely linked to the Southern question ("Rosso Malpelo"), or to the social structure of a peasant world already devastated by the economics values ("Cavalleria rusticana"), or related to the debate on Verga's opinion about the Italian RIsorgimento, as "Libertà". But we will read also lesser-known short tales, which irreverently reflect popular feeling of remoteness from Risorgimento's events and rhetoric ("Camerati", "Epopea spicciola"), people's relationship with political or religious authority ("Cos'è il re", "Il Reverendo"), the mafia corruption ("La chiave d'oro"), the atavistic prejudices towards the foreigner ("Quelli del colera").
Through the proposal of optional in-depth readings, students will then be able to deepen one of the aspects of the course that best suits their interests.