Italian Literature and Philosophy (2019/2020)

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 of 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:
- knowledge of the fundamental lines of the history of Western thought, until the contemporary age;
- ability to contextualize, understand and comment on a literary text, constantly comparing it with the philosophical text and with other domains of Western culture (anthropology, psychology, mythic-symbolic thought);
- 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;
- capability of autonomous judgement on specific cultural questions;
- awareness of aesthetic experience capability to understand and transform the world we live in;
- improvement of linguistic skills.


«But where the danger is, also grows the saving power»: the adventure of modern poetry

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)
«A wounded Deer – leaps highest»: birth and features of modern poetry
The first part of the course will focus on some of the main authors of modern age poetry – Friedrich Hölderlin, Giacomo Leopardi, Charles Baudelaire, Emily Dickinson – and will try to draw a portrait of modern poetry as a form of knowledge, in dialogue with philosophical thought.

II PART (36 hours)
«I got back/where I had never been»: poetry as place of impossibility
In the second part we will focus on the conflict of poetry and reason, by analyzing Giorgio Caproni’s work.
During this second part as well examples from contemporary Western poetry will be proposed (Wallace Stevens, Sylvia Plath, Eugenio Montale).

E. Krumm, "Lirica moderna e contemporanea", Firenze, La Nuova Italia, 1997 (in photocopy)
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.
G. Caproni, “Tutte le poesie”, a cura di S. Verdino, Garzanti.


-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
Ermanno Krumm Lirica moderna e contemporanea La Nuova Italia 1997 8822119827 Il testo sarà disponibile in fotocopie

Assessment methods and criteria

Attending and not attending students will sustain a written exam.

The aim of the 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.


Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and in accordance with the University of Verona guidelines, during ​the 2020 summer session the assessment modality will be modified as follows: online oral exam

The final scores are out of 30. The mark is based on knowledge, quality of argumentation and language accuracy.

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