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COURSE NAME: "Elements of Italian Literature"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2021

INSTRUCTOR: Anna Mauceri Trimnell
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 1:30 PM 2:45 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: IT 302 or permission of the instructor
OFFICE HOURS: by appointment

The course will introduce students to the study of Italian literature; it is designed for those students who have reached 300-level proficiency in Italian language and also functions as a preparatory course for those who wish to study Italian literature at higher levels. The first part of the course focuses on a preliminary explanation of basic literary terminology and teaches students to recognize codes and genres in a limited selection of Italian literary texts. In the second part of the course, students will read samples from significant works of Italian literature in conjunction with selected passages from the canon of Italian literary criticism. They will practice their critical and writing skills by applying the concepts learned during the course to the analysis and reading of the literary texts under consideration. At an introductory level, students will begin to appreciate the difference between commentary and criticism and between both historical and formal approaches to the study of Italian literature.
This course intends to focus on those authors whose works have broken with previous literary traditions and established new ones. The students will read samples from several significant works of Italian literature in conjunction with selected passages from Italian literary criticism. We will study various aspects of the texts; including social historical contexts, gender issues, and stylistic features.


The course will provide students with the tools to read, understand, contextualize and comment on literary texts. This will help them to approach literary texts as complex organisms; constantly in dialogue or in conflict with social context, history and the literary canon itself. At the end of the course, students will have an understanding of the Italian literary tradition and the main themes and stylistic aspects of the Italian literature.

There is no set textbook for this course: the professor will post adhoc materials on Moodle on a lesson by lesson basis. In the classroom, students' active participation will be encouraged through activities such as collaborative reading, guided reflections on readings, and textual analysis.


Class participationStudents are required to come to class ALWAYS prepared on readings and to actively partecipate to class discussions20%
Take home questionnaires (2)Questionnaires on material covered in class. Students are required to expand the required readings with further research (at least 2 other sources). Answered should be developed in an academic format (MLA style). Students with grammar and language problems ARE REQUIRED to work REGULARLY on their written assignments at the Writing Center. This is not a language course but the Instructor cannot ignore spelling, grammar, synthax mistakes when grading.40%
Final ExamIn class cumulative final exam.40%

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the cour
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

Regular attendance and active participation are essential component of the learning process. Students are allowed 3 unexcused absences. every unjustified absence thereafter will result in the lowering of your grade.
If you should miss a class, please contact another student to find out what was covered that day so that you will be prepared for the next class. 


- leave the room as it is distracting to the professor and to your classmates;
- answer your cell phone, read or send text messages; 
- use your computer for anything not related to the class (e.g. Facebook).

The JCU Foreign Language Resource Center offers tutoring sessions free of charge. The FLRC is located at the Tiber Campus on the first floor. To schedule an appointment with a tutor (or a writing coach for upper-level courses), please use the online booking system.

How to get the most out of your tutoring session:

  • Come early in the semester. You will benefit more from tutoring if you come when you first begin having problems. 
  • Come prepared. Bring your textbook, notes, and review sheets with you. 
  • Attend classes regularly. Tutoring is designed to supplement class instruction, not to replace it.
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


Weeks I e II

The language of literature

The choice of vernacular Tuscan. 

Dante’s “plurilinguismo”: from swear words to the prayers. 

The “monolinguismo” in Petrarch’s love poems.


Weeks III, IV

The distortion of the language: the Expressionism in Italian prose, poetry up to Dario Fo’s grammelot

Weeks V-VI

The history and the literature

The Italian Plague of 17° century in Alessandro Manzoni’s Promessi Sposi; WWI in the poems of Giuseppe Ungaretti; and Aushwitz in the novels of Primo Levi. 


The form of the poetry

The lyric forms(Leopardi) e the “anti-lyrics” forms (Sanguineti, Insana)

Weeks IX-X-XI

The reality and the literature

The objective reality (Verga); the crisis of reality (Pirandello) and the new realism in literature and cinema. Saviano’s portrayal of the Mafia in his crime stories. 

Weeks XII e XIII

The forgotten voices of women. Italian Women Writers.