Italian Literature and Philosophy (2018/2019)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Massimo Natale
Massimo Natale
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Sem. 1A, Sem. 1B

Lesson timetable

Go to lesson schedule

Learning outcomes

The course “Italian Literature and Philosophy” aims to investigate the relationship between the national literary tradition - framed within its European context - and Western philosophical thought by focusing on the analysis of an author, a specific period or a theme. The course will provide students with the ability to contextualize, understand and comment on a literary text; to consider the text as a complex organism, in dialogue with other domains of Western culture (anthropology, psychology, mythic-symbolic thought). Students will also acquire familiarity with the Italian literary tradition and its main thematic and formal traits, from the origins to the present day, with particular attention to the intersections between literature and philosophical tradition.


Poetry and thought from Leopardi to Zanzotto

Between 19th and 20th century Western poetry is characterized not only as the genre of subjectivity, but also as a way to interpret the world, continuously questioning its meaning.
The course will be structured in two parts:

I PART (36 hours)
Poetry and philosophy in Leopardi.
The first part of the course will focus on one of the main authors of modern age poetry: Giacomo Leopardi. Poetic and philosophical writing in Leopardi’s work will be investigate, with particular attention to the relation between Canti and Zibaldone di pensieri.

II PART (36 hours)
Poetry and knowledge from Montale to Zanzotto.
In the second part we will draw a portrait of 20th century poetry as a form of knowledge: the focus will be in particular on Eugenio Montale and Andrea Zanzotto.
During the lessons examples from contemporary Western poetry will be proposed ((Hölderlin, Baudelaire, etc.).

A. Prete, Il pensiero poetante, Feltrinelli 1980 (or later prints).
An anthology of poems and further critical bibliography will be made available during the course.

Further (not mandatory) texts:
G. Leopardi, "Canti", ed. by L. Felici, Newton Compton.
E. Montale, "Tutte le poesie", ed. by G. Zampa, Mondadori.
A. Zanzotto, "Tutte le poesie", ed. by S. Dal Bianco, Mondadori.

Not attending students will read also G. Mazzoni, Sulla poesia moderna, Il Mulino, 2005


-Lectures (72 hours)

The contents of books and lessons correspond to the syllabus.
1) Regarding attending students, teaching methods consist in lectures dedicated to the main themes of the courses. During the lessons students participation will be encouraged;
2) The e-learning platform will be used for communication between teacher and students, and to provide further supporting materials;
3) Regarding not attending students, teaching metods consist in teacher's support of the students progress.
Throughout the year the teacher will be available during his office hours, constantly updated on his website page.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Antonio Prete Il pensiero poetante Feltrinelli 1980 9788807819278

Assessment methods and criteria

The aim of the oral examination is to evaluate student's knowledge, with special reference to

-the capability to comment on texts analyzed during the lectures;

-the general knowledge of the critical bibliography;

-the capability to argue, to compare texts, to rework and interpret the themes of the course.

The final scores are out of 30. The mark is based on knowledge, efficiency and readiness of the answers, language accuracy.

Erasmus students are asked to contact the teacher about the syllabus and the methods of the oral examination.