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Second semester
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Learning outcomes of the course unit

Knowledge and understanding.
The course will provide the students with a basic understanding of the rhetorical, thematic and ideological structures of fictional texts.
Applying knowledge and understanding.
By providing a constant guide to the activity of reading, and showing a specific interest in the single points of view, as expressed by the rewritings, the course aims at generating a peculiar consciousness of the way both characters and narrators voice one’s own vision of literature and of the world. Students should be able to apply their knowledge and interpretive skills to a wider set of texts and artistic genres, developing a learned and critical readership, or spectatorship.
Making judgements.
By the end of the course, students should be able to apply their judgements to a theoretically grounded level of textual reading. They should also be able to show the capacity to correctly situating the texts in the epoch and cultural atmosphere which gave them life. Students will interpret them in a critically founded way, paying attention to narrative devices, themes, genres, poetics, as consistently employed by their authors.
Communication skills.
By the end of the course, students ought to show the capacity to master the expression of textual contents, knowing how to point out and communicate the identifying and connecting elements which run across a defined series of literary texts.
Learning skills.
Trained to read texts which belong to a cultural tradition, students should develop critical skills, in order to successfully study the contemporary literary panorama. They should also improve their judgement abilities about what they have learnt (literary-historical knowledge) in order to structure their final dissertation, as well as to prepare themselves to the reading abilities required by the second cycle of studies.

Course contents summary

The all-absorbing ‘I’. The picaresque and neo-picaresque mode

Unwaveringly fixed on the perspective, as well as on the body, of the narrative ‘I’, the picaresque mode proceeds from the forms of Spanish novela (Lazarillo de Tormes about 1554), to encompass a series of affirmations throughout the trajectory of modern European novel. Emerging again with the XXth Century, it reflects the general crisis of the subject, as well as the collapse of the bourgeois system. Furthermore, we will look at the fortune of the picaresque character in contemporary American fiction and cinema.

Recommended readings

1. 1. Sini, Sinopoli (a cura di), Percorsi di teoria e comparatistica letteraria, Pearson 2021. Students in Humanities will exclude the following chapters Lettere: La poesia; Traduzione e transmedialità; Narrazione tra medicina e letteratura; Intersezionalità e critica letteraria; La letteratura e il digitale. Students in Modern Foreign Languages and Civilisations will exlude the following chapters: Retorica e argomentazione; La poesia; Narrazione tra medicina e letteratura; Intersezionalità e critica letteraria; La letteratura e il digitale
2. Lazarillo de Tormes, qualsiasi edizione (trad. consigliata: Oscar Mondadori)
3. Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders
4. Thomas Mann, Confessioni del cavaliere d’industria Felix Krull, trad. L. Mazzucchetti, Oscar Mondadori oppure Ralph Waldo Ellison, Invisible Man
5. Giovanni Arpino, Sei stato felice, Giovanni, Minimum fax

Further readings will be available on the Ellly webpage of the course.

Teaching methods

Privileged methods will be the following: frontal lessons, film screening,guided readings of selected narrative passages

Assessment methods and criteria

Oral examination, held in presence and/or, if necessary, via Teams. Questions will firstly regard the handbook, in order to subsequently involve themes, plot turns, the development of characters, as inferable from the reading of literary texts.Evaluation: A fail is determined by the lack of an understanding of the minimum content of the course, the inability to express oneself adequately, by a lack of autonomous preparation, the inability to solve problems related to information retrieval and the decoding of complex texts, as well as an inability to make independent judgments. A pass (18-23/30) is determined by the student’s possession of the minimum, fundamental contents of the course, an adequate level of autonomous preparation and ability to solve problems related to information retrieval and the decoding of complex texts, as well as an acceptable level of ability in making independent judgments. Middle-range scores (24-27/30) are assigned to the student who produces evidence of a more than sufficient level (24-25/30) or good level (26-27/30) in the evaluation indicators listed above. Higher scores (from 28/30 to 30/30 cum laude) are awarded on the basis of the student’s demonstration of a very good or excellent level in the evaluation indicators listed above.