Theory of literature

A.Y. 2019/2020
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The purpose of the course is to offer students the in-depth knowledge of some theoretical issues often debated in the twentieth century, and (depending upon the textual analysis) either to lead them to both a reflection and analysis of the forms, ways, and styles of the literary texts considered, or to a contextualization of the authors discussed in the lessons. For this reason, the first teaching unit always deals with theoretical questions and essays, while the second and third units move on to the discussion of themes and literary, poetic or narrative and texts.
Expected learning outcomes
The skills that students can acquire are based upon the strength of different levels of texts: the ability to reflect on issues of literature theory, to read and critically discuss writing in verse or prose,the ability to analyze literary text from a linguistic, stylistic and rhetorical point of view, the ability to understand different forms of critical interventions, and to relate texts with their historical context, with their authorial identity, with different kinds of ideas.
In this sense, the expected results relate to the strength of interpretive skills, critical awareness of the close link that must be established between the analysis of the stylistic-expressive level and the attribution of meanings, which necessarily include the reference to not only historical context but the experiences of the author.
Course syllabus and organization

Unique edition

Lesson period
Second semester
Course syllabus
Part A of the course aims to go through the cultural and theoretical debate of the 1960s about methods of textual analysis and the problems of the possible definition of literature.
Part B maintains that same temporal horizon but focuses on the analysis of books of poetry by Vittorio Sereni and Giovanni Giudici, who experiment unusual modules and innovative forms in the representation of the lyrical experience.
Part C intends to enter the field of the most extreme experimentation, reading poems by two authors declaredly subversive, Edoardo Sanguineti and Andrea Zanzotto, with the intent to decode the mechanisms of language, but also to lead the interpretation of the verses to the attribution of meanings.
Prerequisites for admission
Basic knowledge of poetry textual analysis.
Teaching methods
The course will mainly be comprised of lectures, but some time will be devoted to discussion. This will help students delve into the issues under discussion, improve their analysis, reasoning, and interpretation skill. To participate more actively, students will also be encouraged to read the works and essays in the course syllabus while they attend classes. The Ariel website of the course will be used to share the teaching materials that might be proposed for discussion. During some lessons, in the second and third teaching units, students can discuss in class their own analysis of a text, in dialog with the professor and the other students. This oral presentation is not mandatory and will be consider during examination. Regular class attendance is strongly advised.
Part A:

- Roland Barthes, Critica e verità (1966), Torino, Einaudi, 2002.
- Franco Fortini, L'istituzione letteraria, in Verifica dei poteri (1965), Torino, Einaudi, 1989, pp. 3-87.
- Costanzo Di Girolamo, Critica della letterarietà, Milano, il Saggiatore, 1978.
- Franco Brioschi, Il testo e l'opera, in La mappa dell'impero, Milano, il Saggiatore, 2006, pp. 11-55.

Part B:

- Vittorio Sereni, Gli strumenti umani, Milano, Mondadori 2013 or any other edition.
- Giovanni Giudici, La vita in versi, Milano, Mondadori 2014 or any other edition.
- Edoardo Esposito, Lettura della poesia di Vittorio Sereni, Milano, Mimesis 2015.
- Laura Neri, I silenziosi circuiti del ricordo. Etica, estetica e ideologia nella poesia di Giovanni Giudici, Roma, Carocci 2018.

Part C:

- Edoardo Sanguineti, Triperuno, in Segnalibro, Milano, Feltrinelli 2010 or any other edition.
(from Laborintus students will read a selection of poems, whereas complete reading of Erotopaegnia and Purgatorio de l'Inferno is required).
- Andrea Zanzotto, La Beltà, Milano, Mondadori 2011 or any other edition.
- Giuseppe Carrara, Il chierico rosso e l'avanguardia. Poesia e ideologia in Triperuno di Edoardo Sanguineti, Milano, Ledizioni 2018.
- Niva Lorenzini, Dire il silenzio: la poesia di Andrea Zanzotto, Roma, Carocci, 2014.

Bibliography for not attending students

Students who do not attend should supplement the texts indicated in the bibliography with the following readings:

Part A:

One of the following books (student's choice):
- Mario Lavagetto, Eutanasia della critica, Torino, Einaudi 2005.
- Ugo Olivieri (ed.), Le immagini della critica. Conversazioni di teoria letteraria, Torino, Bollati Boringhieri 2003, only the first four chapters, pp. 1-118.

Part B:

- Alberto Bertoni, Saggio d'un commento alla Vita in versi, in Una distratta venerazione. La poesia metrica di Giudici, Bologna, Book Editore 2001, pp. 23-76.
- Pier Vincenzo Mengaldo, Iterazione e specularità in Sereni, in "Strumenti critici", febbraio 1972, n. 17, pp. 19-48.
- Guido Mazzoni, Verifica dei valori. Saggio su Gli strumenti umani, in "Allegoria", 1994, n. 18, pp. 45-81.

Part C:

- Stefano Agosti, L'esperienza di linguaggio di Andrea Zanzotto, in Andrea Zanzotto, Le poesie e prose scelte, Milano, "I Meridiani" Mondadori 1999, pp.VII-XLIX.
- Laura Neri, La scomposizione del linguaggio nella poesia di Andrea Zanzotto, in Per Franco Brioschi. Saggi di lingua e letteratura italiana, edited by Claudio Milanini and Silvia Morgana, Quaderni di Acme, Milano, Cisalpino, 2007, pp. 401-415.
- Luigi Weber, "Il sogno di riscrivere l'Ortis". Lettura di purgatorio de l'Inferno, in Critica, ermeneutica, poesia dagli anni Sessanta a oggi, Ravenna, Allori edizioni 2006, pp. 103-118.
Fausto Curi, Laborintus, in La poesia italiana del Novecento, Roma-Bari, Laterza 1999, pp. 260-284.

Further information

Further information will be published on the online portal Ariel, on the website dedicated to Theory of literature.
Assessement methods and criteria
The final exam will consist of an oral exam about the topics of the course, aimed at ascertaining the knowledge and skills acquired by the student, regarding both theory and textual analysis. Students will be asked to present the works comprised in the course syllabus and to critically discuss about the issues that will have been dealt with through them. Language proficiency (this includes technical language proficiency) and the accuracy of historical and literary references will also contribute to the final score. A precise knowledge of the bibliographic references in the program is required.
Unita' didattica A
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica B
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica C
Lessons: 20 hours
Educational website(s)