Spanish Literature 1

A.Y. 2022/2023
Overall hours
Learning objectives
This course aims at proposing an approach to the Spanish Literature programme, that is chronologically organised, and as such it is reserved for first-year students. An introduction to Iberian Peninsula history from Ancient Age to Habsburg Empire is offered, with a specific attention to Middle Ages and Renaissance; the course explores the developing of literary production in Castilian language from the beginnings to Renaissance, and offers a focus on XVIth century poetry and the evolution of drama between the XVIth and XVIIth centuries.
Expected learning outcomes
Knowledge and understanding: outline of Iberian Peninsula history to XVIIth century; fundamental elements of Iberian culture in the Middle Ages and Renaissance; main authors and literary movements in Castilian language during the Middle Ages and Renaissance; evolution of drama between XVIth and XVIIth century; fundamentals of Spanish versification. Applying knowledge and understanding: ability to read and contextualize five fundamental works of Spanish literature from the Middle Ages to Renaissance; ability to read three significant dramatic works of the XVIIth century; understanding of historic, cultural, and social implications of literary texts; ability to place authors, movements and works in their context; ability to recognise and explain affinities and differences among literary texts; ability to recognise and explain differences among literary genres; ability to recognise Spanish versification and their effect on the meaning of a poem.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
Course syllabus
The course counts for 9 ECTS. It is not allowed to take it just for 6 ECTS. Exceptions may apply to incoming students within some mobility programs.
The first part of the course intends to offer an overview of the most critical moments in the historical, cultural, and literary evolution from the Middle Ages to the late Renaissance and part of the Golden Age. The overview will consider the interactions with Near Eastern culture, the literary tradition in Galician and Catalan areas, and the New World. A general periodization of authors, currents, and literary genres will be presented, and it will be completed with requested readings of some of the masterpieces of the period considered.
The second part of the course will focus on Renaissance poetry, both based on the new Italian models and the survival of traditional Romancero, and on verse theatre, which exploded in the late XVIth century as a form of entertainment and reached full maturity in the first half of the XVIIth.
This syllabus is valid until February 2024. Starting from June 2024, the only proper syllabus will correspond to the academic year 2023-24.
Prerequisites for admission
Classes are held mainly in Spanish, so at least a decent oral comprehension level is desirable.
Teaching methods
The course consists mainly of frontal lectures with the use of slides. Historical maps, images of meaningful places and buildings of the Iberian Peninsula, paintings, and portraits of symbolic or documentary value will be discussed. Musical versions of Medieval and Renaissance poetry will be listened to, and reconstructions of the staging techniques of the period will be analysed with the help of short videoclips. Significant passages of texts in the reading list will be discussed extensively. Attendance is not mandatory, but it is strongly recommended in order to understand the issues analysed and the works to be read. Lessons will be held mainly in Spanish.
Teaching Resources
The course has a webpage on the distance learning platform Ariel (, where students can find lecture notes, slides, and other materials uploaded by the teacher.

Bibliography (first part)
"Antologia della letteratura spagnola del Medioevo e del Rinascimento", by Alessandro Cassol (PDF file available on the webpage). Students are not requested to prepare detailed translations of the texts included, but they should be well acquainted with their content.
For a general overview of the history of the Iberian Peninsula from the Muslim invasion to the reign of Philip II, and the evolution of Spanish literature of the period, students will use class notes, slides, and other materials the teacher will post on the website. A general reference of literary history for the period covered is: Lina Rodríguez Cacho, "Manual de historia de la literatura española", vol. 1 (Siglos XIII al XVII), Madrid, Castalia, 2009 or later reprints (ISBN: 9788497402866), especially pp. 35-153 (Medieval literature), 161-209 (Renaissance and humanistic prose) and 237-271 (Renaissance fiction).
Students are requested to read, even in Italian, five fundamental works of the Middle Ages and Renaissance (the reference edition is indicated; it is usually accompanied by the original text, except for Celestina):
1) "Cantare del Cid", ed. Andrea Baldissera, Milano, Garzanti [ISBN: 9788811366409].
2) Jorge Manrique, "Elegia alla morte del padre", ed. Giovanni Caravaggi, Venezia, Marsilio [ISBN: 9788831770514].
3) Fernando de Rojas, "La Celestina", ed. Pier Luigi Crovetto, Milano, Garzanti [ISBN: 9788811132387]; or ed. Carmelo Samonà, Milano, Rizzoli [ISBN: 9788817169875].
4) Bartolomé de Las Casas, "Brevissima relazione della distruzione delle Indie", ed. Flavio Fiorani, Venezia, Marsilio [ISBN: 9788831711432].
5) "Lazarillo de Tormes", ed. Antonio Gargano, Venezia, Marsilio [ISBN: 9788831726764].
No translation exercise on these works will be asked, but students are requested to demonstrate a thorough knowledge of their content, themes, style, and historical and social implications. To this end, students will carefully prepare the introductions to the recommended editions. They will acquire more information individually in printed sources or online, paying attention to the quality of the materials found on the web. Other editions may also be used, but only if they are unabridged and provided with an excellent critical introduction and a commentary; in this case, it is advisable to check the chosen edition with the teacher in advance. Simplified or adapted editions are not to be used.

Bibliography (second part)
1) "Los caminos de la poesía española en el Renacimiento)", by Alessandro Cassol (PDF file available on the webpage).
The anthology includes poetic texts exemplifying romanceril tradition, Italianist poetry, ascetic and mystical poetry, and epic poems, and offers brief introductions to the authors selected. A short translation test will always be conducted during the examination; the teacher will take into account the level of linguistic difficulty and argumentative or conceptual complexity of the texts.
As for what concerns the evolution of Spanish poetry in the period under consideration, in addition to the notes of the lectures and the materials available on the course website, it is requested a careful study of pp. 107-116 (Romancero) and 211-236 (poetry of the Renaissance) of Lina Rodríguez Cacho's textbook mentioned above.
2) Lope de Vega, "Arte nuevo de hacer comedias en este tiempo", especially vv. 1-48, 128-256, 269-345, 362-376. Recommended edition: "Nuova arte di far commedie in questi tempi", ed. Maria Grazia Profeti, Napoli, Liguori, 1999 (ISBN: 9788820729035). A translation with no commentary nor critical introduction is available on line, in Biblioteca Digital Artelope, Colección Emothe.
3) Lope de Vega, "Fuenteovejuna". Recommended edition: "Fuente Ovejuna", ed. Andrea Baldissera, Milano, Garzanti, 2007 (ISBN: 9788811368489).
4) Tirso de Molina, "El burlador de Sevilla y convidado de piedra". Recommended edition: ed. Ignacio Arellano, Madrid, Espasa, col. Austral, 1989 (ISBN: 9788467033960). Suggested Italian translation: "Don Giovanni. Il beffatore di Siviglia", ed. Alfonso D'Agostino, Milano, Rizzoli, 2011 (ISBN: 9788817046459).
5) Pedro Calderón de la Barca, "La vida es sueño". Recommended edition: "La vita è un sogno", ed. Fausta Antonucci, Venezia, Marsilio, 2014 (ISBN: 9788831796644).
The three plays must be read in Spanish, using the recommended editions and, if necessary, with the help of the suggested translations. It is also possible to use other editions, provided they are unabridged and accompanied by an introduction, notes, and a critical commentary; in this case, it is advisable to consult with the teacher in advance. Simplified or adapted editions are not to be used. The various editions available on the Internet (even those that can be downloaded from specialized websites, such as the Biblioteca Virtual Cervantes) generally come without notes, comments, and critical introductions, and are therefore insufficient to prepare adequately for the exam.
As an overview of the theatrical genre in the Siglo de Oro, in addition to the lecture notes and materials available on the course website, students will use pp. 375-436 of Lina Rodríguez Cacho's textbook mentioned above.

The bibliography for students not attending classes is the same. Obviously, given the difficulty of preparing independently, it is recommended that non-attending students devote sufficient time to study the requested materials and do not approach the examination with excessive ease.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The first part of the course is tested through a written exam in Italian, consisting of 30 multiple-choice items. The test will take place in computerized labs at the beginning of every examination. No translation exercise will be administered. The second part of the course will be examined through an interview with the teacher, which takes place after the written test, even in the following days, depending on the number of students taking the examination. During the interview, a short translation test on the reading list will be held; the teacher will take into account the passage's linguistic difficulty and conceptual complexity. The final mark is the average of the written test and the interview. Students may choose to take the interview in Spanish, thus getting a higher final mark if linguistic competence and fluency are good.
Students must take both parts of the examination on a single date. If the written test is failed (mark under 18/30), students will not be granted access to the interview and will repeat the written test on a following date. Students may reject the mark obtained in the written test; this will be considered a withdrawal from the interview, and it will be necessary to repeat both parts of the examination on a following date. If the interview fails, the student will repeat the entire examination, unless the written test mark is at least 24/30.
L-LIN/05 - SPANISH LITERATURE - University credits: 9
Lessons: 60 hours
Professor: Cassol Alessandro
Office hours in person (no appointment needed): Monday, h 10.30-12.30; cancelled on Dec. 19 due to a meeting. Remote meetings: through Teams (please follow the instructions below). During Christmas break, please arrange a meeting on Teams sending an e-mai
Office hours: the teacher room is located in Piazza S. Alessandro 1, first floor, Iberistica (stairs to the second floor). Remote calls: Teams (code: 0tjneag); please reserve a day and time slot in the Excel form provided in "File" section.