History of Literary Genres

A.Y. 2023/2024
Overall hours
Learning objectives
Aim of the course is to provide students, through an intensive analysis of works and texts, with an in-depth ability to acquire methodological and critical tools to understand the diacrony of one or more genres in their interaction with the system of literary forms.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course the student will have to know, from a critical and methodological point of view and deepening the notions acquired in the first cycle, the main issues concerning the system of literary genres, their constitution and development, their historical-cultural context and their relationship with the Italian literary and linguistic history. The student will also have to show an adequate knowledge of the bibliography and of the critical methodologies to analyze and understand the texts, as well as the history of criticism related to the period. Furthermore, the student will have to show his ability to communicate clearly and correctly with appropriate use of scientific terminology, as well as to understand and accurately analyse literary texts through comparisons and critical judgments. Eventually, the student will have to prove his ability to conduct a research using the acquisitions acquired in the course and preparing a critical bibliography.
Non-attending students, in addition to the materials expressly indicated in this program or possibly uploaded on Ariel, will have to ask the teacher for advice either by e-mail or during office hours.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
Course syllabus
Course title (60 hours, 9 ECTS): The Epic Genre
Part A (20 hours, 3 ECTS): Theoretical Foundations. The Classical Heritage
Part B (20 hours, 3 ECTS): Humanism and Renaissance
Part C (20 hours, 3 ECTS): Critical Problems and the Evolution of the Genre

The course is addressed to graduate (MA) students in Modern Humanities (9 ECTS: Parts A, B, and C; 6 ECTS: Parts A and B or A and C) and, as an optional exam, to students in other master degree programmes.
The course will investigate, from the critical perspective of historical stylistics, the long and multifaceted presence of the epic genre in the history of our literature, following its evolution and variety of functions. Section A will be devoted to the discussion of the theoretical foundations that define the epic genre (or "mode"), starting from the lesson of the classics. Section B will focus on the flowering of the narrative poem of epic/heroic subject matter and the broad theoretical debate that developed in parallel during the Renaissance period. Finally, Section C will be devoted to persistences, remodulations, and critical revisitations of the epic genre in our literary history.

The programme is valid up to February 2025.
Prerequisites for admission
No prerequisites for admission. Nevertheless, a solid methodological and historical grounding in linguistic, philological and literary studies is the ideal prerequisite (the objective of the course is in any case also to make up for the lack of training in this particular field).
Teaching methods
The course is offered in a lecture format; attendance is not mandatory, though strongly recommended. Competences and abilities will be acquired through interaction with the teacher and through the critical and methodological work on the texts. Attending students will also be asked to present in-depth analysis on specific topics in class or, alternatively, to produce a short essay. This presentation or paper is not mandatory, but it will be taken into account during the examination.
Participation in workshops and conferences proposed (if possible) by the Department of Literary Studies, Philology and Linguistics will also be of great importance.
Teaching Resources
S. Zatti, Il modo epico, Bari, Laterza (also available as e-book)
All literary texts and other critical essays will be uploaded on the dedicated course website in the Ariel portal (http://ariel.unimi.it). More information will be available at the end of the lessons.

Non-attending students are invited to contact the teacher by email ([email protected]).
Assessment methods and Criteria
Oral exam consists of an in-depth interview on fundamental topics of the work dealt and on the critical bibliography. Students will be required to demonstrate a full ability in interpretation and comment of the texts in Program, with appropriate use of scientific terminology, as well as to analyse literary texts through comparisons and critical judgments. Eventually, the students may prove their ability to use the methods acquired in the course through individual in-depth studies (term papers, reports: see below, about the learning methods).
Assessments are marked out of thirty (18/30 > 30/30 cum laude).

International students and Erasmus students are invited to contact the professor via email in office hours for further information on the exam.

Examination methods for students with disabilities or SLD must be defined with the teacher in agreement with the University Disability and SLD Services.
Unita' didattica A
L-FIL-LET/10 - ITALIAN LITERATURE - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica B
L-FIL-LET/10 - ITALIAN LITERATURE - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica C
L-FIL-LET/10 - ITALIAN LITERATURE - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Educational website(s)