Polish literature 1

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course is the first step of the Polish Literature Programme and is intended for first-year students. The course offers an introduction to the history of Poland from its origins to the present day, and a review of authors, works, currents and periods of Polish literature from the Middle Ages to Romanticism, with particular attention to the work and figure of key authors, such as the Renaissance poets Mikołaj Rej and Jan Kochanowski, mannerist A. Sęp Szarzyński, baroque Jan A. Morsztyn, romantic poet Adam Mickiewicz, Nobel Prize winners Czesław Miłosz and Wisława Szymborska.
Expected learning outcomes
Knowledge and understanding: At the end of the course students will have to demonstrate a good knowledge of the main events in Polish history, of the specific characteristics of Polish culture from the beginning to the present day, as well as of the main currents, of all the most important authors and of the most important works relevant to Polish literature from the Middle Ages to early Romanticism, with particular reference to the writers analyzed in the course, relying on information received during the lessons and obtained from the consultation of the texts indicated in the bibliography. Ability to apply knowledge and understanding: At the end of the course students must be able to carry out a correct historical-critical framing of the treated works and authors, must be able to place currents, authors and works in the appropriate temporal, linguistic and cultural context, to understand the relationships between the texts dealt with, analyze them from the point of view of contents, style and versification, relying on the information received during the lessons and obtained from the consultation of the texts indicated in the bibliography.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
Course syllabus
The course is entitled An introduction to Polish History and Literature and is divided into three teaching units. Teaching unit A, entitled Elements of Polish history and culture, centers on the history of Poland from its origins to nowadays and on some cultural characteristics specific of the country. Teaching unit B, Moments of Polish Literary History, presents the main Polish literary currents, authors and literary works. Teaching unit C is entitled From Jan Kochanowski to Adam Mickiewicz: Polish literature through its texts and is dedicated to the works of the most important Polish authors from the Middle Ages to early Romanticism. During the course of teaching units B and C, Polish literary texts will be read in original language, but no specific linguistic skills are required. The course program is valid until February 2022. From the 2022 summer session only the 2020-2021 program will apply.
Prerequisites for admission
Teaching methods
The course adopts the following teaching methods: lectures, reading, translation and commentary of Polish literary works.
Teaching Resources
During the course teaching materials will be distributed in the form of photocopies and others will be available on the Ariel website https://lbernardinilp1.ariel.ctu.unimi.it


Teaching Unit A

Jerzy Lukowski, Hubert Zawadzki, Polonia. Il paese che rinasce, Trieste, Beit, 2008


Aleksander Gieysztor, Storia della Polonia, italian edition by Ovidio Dallera, Milano, Bompiani, 1983;

Tadeusz Ulewicz: Il problema del sarmatismo nella cultura e nella letteratura polacca, «Ricerche slavistiche», vol. VIII, 1960, pp. 126-198

Teaching Unit B:

Storia della letteratura polacca, edited by Luigi Marinelli, Torino 2004;


Czesław Miłosz, Storia della Letteratura polacca, CSEO, Bologna, 1982;

Teaching Unit C:

Jan Kochanowski, Treny, in: «Rivista di letterature slave», fasc. III, Anno V, 1930, pp. 191-221;

Jan Kochanowski, Frasche, edited and translated by Nullo Minissi, Milano, Rizzoli 1995;

Mikołaj Sęp Szarzyński, Sei sonetti, translation by L. Marinelli, in Italia Polonia Europa. Scritti in memoria di Andrzej Litwornia, edited by A. Ceccherelli, E. Jastrzębowska, L. Marinelli, M. Piacentini, A.M. Raffo, G. Ziffer, Roma 2007, pp. 222-227

Adam Mickiewicz, selected readings from I sonetti di Crimea e altre poesie, edited by E. Croce, Milano, Adelphi 1977

Czesław Miłosz, selected readings from Poesie, edited by P. Marchesani, Milano, Adelphi 1983.

Wisława Szymborska, selected readings from Discorso all'ufficio oggetti smarriti: poesie 1945-2004, edited by P. Marchesani, Milano, Adelphi 2004.
Warnings for non-attending students
The program for non-attending students is unchanged from that for attending students. Naturally, given the greater difficulties deriving from a preparation conducted independently, it is recommended that non-attending students dedicate an appropriate amount of time to studying and elaborating the contents of the program, obtaining notes on the content of the lessons and integrating the bibliography with further materials available online or in libraries.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam consists of an individual interview, which includes questions asked by the teacher, interactions between the teacher and the student, and the analysis and commentary of one or more excerpts from the works in the exam program. The interview has a variable duration depending on the student's ability to answer questions and takes place in Italian or, optionally, in Polish. The exam aims to verify the knowledge of the topics presented in class, the texts read, the ability to contextualize authors and works, to frame them critically, the skill in their exhibition, the precision in the use of specific terminology. The vote is displayed in thirtieths. An excellent knowledge of historical events, authors, literary works, supported by a broad and systematic vision of the topics covered in class and in the readings indicated in the bibliography, the demonstration of a very good control of expressive means and a specific language will be evaluated with votes of excellence (29 -30). Mnemonic knowledge of the subject, average synthesis and capability of in-depth analysis skills, a correct but not always appropriate language will lead to discrete evaluations (24-28). Approximate knowledge, superficial understanding, poor capacity for analysis and not always appropriate expression will lead to evaluations around or above the sufficiency (18-23). Obvious preparation gaps, inappropriate language, lack of orientation within the bibliographic materials offered in the program will be negatively evaluated and will lead to the need to repeat the exam.
Unita' didattica A
L-LIN/21 - SLAVIC STUDIES - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica B
L-LIN/21 - SLAVIC STUDIES - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica C
L-LIN/21 - SLAVIC STUDIES - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours