Romance philology

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course aims at introducing the students to the historical-comparative study of Romance languages and literature starting from their medieval origin, through a direct review of their written sources.
Expected learning outcomes
Knowledge and understanding: at the end of the course the students will have a basic knowledge of the origins, development and classification of the Romance languages; they will also be aware of the main issues about the linguistic, literary and historical-cultural shaping of the medieval Romance world, analyzed from a comparative perspective; furthermore, they will focus on some medieval literary texts in different Romance languages, dealing with subjects as genres and critical methodologies for their interpretation. Applying knowledge and understanding: the students will have the ability to read, translate and analyze text in old Romance languages within their historical and cultural background, pointing out their linguistic features.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
Lessons will be held through the Teams platform, mainly in asynchronous form. While asynchronous lectures will be uploaded, some lessons will be held in synchronous form, and the recording of them will be made available for those who could not attend. The precise schedule of the lessons will be published by the teacher on the Ariel teaching website; all students are recommended to enroll in the course through the EasyLesson app.
Students will be able to find all the information to access the lessons (links etc.), any changes to the program and any changes in the reference material (bibliography, etc.) on the Ariel teaching website.
If it is not possible to carry out the exam in the manner provided for in the Syllabus, the exam will take place in Teams in the manner that will be communicated on the Ariel teaching site at the end of the course.
Course syllabus
The course, entitled «Enchanted words. Writings and representations of magic in medieval Romance literature», consists of the following three parts, which will be addressed in sequence: A) Problems and methods of Romance Linguistics (20 hours, 3 credits); B) The origins of medieval Romance literature (20 hours, 3 credits); C) Tales, masters, books of magic: selected pages (20 hours, 3 credits).
The first part (A) will be aimed at describing the variety of Romance languages, tracing how every one of them evolve from latin and are in contact with each other. the second part (B) will offer a synthetic overview of the literary origins of the Romance Middle Ages, from the first written documents of the French, Occitan, Iberian and Italian area, to the foundation of the first literary genres of great success: epics and lyrics. The third part (C) will explore how magic becomes the object of writing in medieval Romance literature: a journey through various genres and different languages reveals the inexhaustible seduction of occult knowledge, capable of subverting the laws of nature and men; it will thus be seen from time to time projected into fantastic events and immersed in the heart of history, celebrated, severely condemned or transmitted in unexpected ways, but always intimately connected to the subtle use of the word.
The course programme is valid until February 2022.
Prerequisites for admission
The course, which is held entirely in Italian, the materials and the exam bibliography requires Linguistics skills.
Teaching methods
The course adopts the following teaching methods: lectures; translation, commentary and critical discussion of texts; examination of digital reproductions of documents, medieval manuscripts and prints, available either inside the books of the bibliography or through the course website on Ariel, the online educational platform (; since these materials are written in different medieval languages, attendance is strongly recommended.
Teaching Resources
Part A
Students will associate their notes with the manual of P. Gresti, «Introduzione alla linguistica romanza», Bologna, Pàtron, 2016, pp. 17-29, 32-33, 35-39, 41-45, 47-57, 63-67, 72-78, 86-89, 91-97, 102-113, 116, 119-20, 125-127, 138-140, 142-149, 151-171. Students should also know and be able to comment on the geolinguistic maps in the volume. Other useful materials are available in the in the course website on Ariel 2.0.
Part B
Students will associate their notes with M.L. Meneghetti, «Le origini delle letterature medievali romanze», Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2009, pp. 3-17, 37-62, 70-74, 77-92, 125-129, 132-193, 195-205, 207-215, 217-218, 227-233 (and informative reading of the rest); A. Limentani, M. Infurna, «L'epica romanza del Medioevo», Bologna, Il Mulino, 2007, pp. 7-45, 53-66, 69-74; U. Mölk, «La lirica dei trovatori», Bologna, Il Mulino, 1996, pp. 23-53, 67-110; to deepen the study of lyric poetry in French and Iberian languages see Luciano Formisano, «La lirica romanza del medioevo», Bologna, Il Mulino, 2012, pp. 49-70, 81-92.
Part C
A handout whith the extracts from the works read, translated and commented in class will be available in the course website on Ariel 2.0, as well as other useful materials. To support the translation and comment on the Old French Italian and Spanish texts we suggest to use the historical grammars of A. Roncaglia, «La lingua d'oïl. Profilo di grammatica storica del francese antico», Pisa, Istituti editoriali e poligrafici internazionali, 2005, usefully associated with A. Varvaro, «Avviamento alla filologia francese medievale, Roma, Carocci, 2003 (Introduction and Glossary) and A. D'Agostino, «Lo spagnolo antico. Sintesi storico-descrittiva», Milano, LED, 2001.
The programme for non-attending students is identical to the programme for attending students.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam, which is held in Italian, is individual; its duration depends upon the teaching units prepared by the student; it aims to verify the knowledge of the program contents, evaluating both the familiarity with linguistic problems (part A) and with the dynamics of literary history (part B and C) as well as the ability to translate, comment and contextualize the first documents of the Romance languages (part B) and the excerpts of the texts presented in the handout (part C) . The final grade is expressed in thirtieths, and the student has the right to refuse it (in this case it will be verbalized as «withdrawn»).
It is also possible to run an optional written test of Romance Linguistics (part A), which lasts three hours, and consists of three open-ended questions on the exam programme; if the written test is passed the student will take only the remaining units (B and C) to the oral exam. This test is hold three times a year (in december, may and september); the mark obtained, expressed in thirtieths, averages with the votes obtained on the B and C units of the program, and remains valid for one year.
International or Erasmus incoming students are invited to contact the teacher early. The assessment procedures for students with disabilities and / or with DSA must be discussed with the teacher, in agreement with the competent Office.
Unita' didattica A
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica B
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica C
Lessons: 20 hours
Educational website(s)
Tuesday 14.30-1730
Teams class "Ricevimento Luca Sacchi"