IT2FI-Fictions of Italy: Themes and Genres

Module Provider: Modern Languages
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Pre-requisites: IT10MI Making Italians: A Journey in the History and Culture of Modern Italy or IT1GEN The Genius of Italy: Italian Medieval and Renaissance Culture (in translation) or IT10MIA Making Italians: History and Culture of Modern Italy (Advanced language only)
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Charles Leavitt


Type of module:

Summary module description:

In this module students will explore modern and contemporary Italy through the analysis and discussion of Italian cultures and identities across a variety of forms, genres, and media. Particular emphasis will be placed on Italy's cultural, historical, social, and linguistic transformations in the modern era. Sampling key works and themes, students will focus on interpretation and intercultural communication, developing their understanding of Italian culture and enhancing their command of the Italian language.


This module aims to provide students with a critical understanding of Italian language and culture as they have helped to construct Italian identities in the modern era.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module it is expected that students will be able to:

  • analyse the treatment of key themes and the techniques used in the works studied; 

  • understand the relationship between the works studied and the contemporary social and cultural background;

  • express clearly constructed, soundly based arguments about the works in question, making effective use both of published critical studies and of their own independent judgement.

Additional outcomes:

This module also encourages students to:

  • express points of view clearly and effectively in oral and group discussions;

  • develop their research and writing skills;

  • improve their team-working and problem-solving skills.

Outline content:

Rigorously intertwining the study of Italian culture and society with the close-reading of individual Italian texts, this module will introduce students to the work of some of the most significant Italian novelists, poets, playwrights, artists, and intellectuals of the modern era. The authors chosen will normally be selected from the following list: Collodi, Foscolo, Manzoni, Verga, Capuana, Bassani, Bufalino, Buzzati, Calvino, De Filippo, Eco, Flaiano, Fo, Gadda, Ginzburg, Carlo Levi, Primo Levi, Maraini, Marinetti, Montale, Moravia, Morante, Pirandello, Saviano, Sciascia, Silone, Svevo, Tabucchi, Ungaretti, Volponi. Stress will be placed on the significant range in subject matter, themes, language, and structure, and students will have the opportunity both for a broad overview and for the detailed study of Italian culture and language.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module will be taught by a team of specialists, offering a combination of lectures, guided readings, and seminars. The approach to the texts will be both linguistic and historical. This dual approach will enable students to gain not only an understanding of how the texts engage with the cultural and historical contexts in which they were produced, but also will enhance the students’ facility with reading in a second language, enhancing their linguistic and analytical abilities. Preparatory reading will be required for the seminars, and students may be asked to produce short discussion papers as well as their two assessed essays.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10 10
Seminars 5 5
Guided independent study 85 85
Total hours by term 100.00 100.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:
Students will write two assignments: one essay of 2,000-2,500 words and one assignment that can either be a commentary of a selected passage; or a commented translation into English of a selected passage. The average of the two marks will form the student's assessment mark.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Reassessment in August, in the event of failure in this module and of failure in Part 2 as a whole, or (for compulsory modules only) of failure to qualify in Part 2.

    Coursework for reassessment must be resubmitted by 12 NOON on the third Friday of August or, if the University is closed on the third Friday of August, at 12 NOON on the next working day thereafter. 

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 24 April 2018


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