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2015/16 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ITAL3450 Family Novels: Life Stories, Gender and Social Change in Modern Italy

20 creditsClass Size: 20

Module manager: Alessio Baldini
Email: a.baldini@leeds.ac.uk

Taught: Semester 1 View Timetable

Year running 2015/16

Pre-requisite qualifications

Level 2 Italian or equivalent

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

In this module, we will study the emergence of the family novel in Italian literature. Through a series of lectures and seminars, we will focuson three of the major Italian novels that can be assigned to the genre: Verga's I Malavoglia (1881), Tomasi di Lampedusa's Il Gattopardo (1958), Ginzburg's Tutti i nostri ieri (1952). We will read these novels in Italian. Family novels tell how time and the passing of generations transform individuals as well as families - for each new generation brings with itself change. In particular, these novels tell how lives and identities, from those of the fishermen to the aristocrats, are caught up in transition of Italy to modernity. Our approach to literature will be interdisciplinary: we will study these texts not only through the lenses of literary and narrative studies, but also adopting a broader historical and social perspective. We will engage critically with secondary literature on narrative, society, and gender; we will also resort to the filmic adaptations of novels, which will be regarded as secondary sources in their own right. Themes to be discussed include: narrative and time; narrative, identity and gender; life stories and fictions; desire and the novel; literature and society; the Italian transition to modernity; the Italian family and its modern history. A good knowledge of Italian is a prerequisite for this module. Each student will be then requested to read the three set novels. Students will be examined through two essays written on two out of the three set novels and class participation, including an oral presentation.

Objectives

This module aims to introduce students to the study of the family novel from an interdisciplinary perspective. On completion of the module,
students will have an informed understanding of the history of the family novel in modern Italy, from Giovanni Verga (1840-1920) to Natalia
Ginzburg (1916-1991). Students will read these novels in Italian. By studying the family novel as a literary genre, students will gain a better grasp of the expectations and concerns stirred by the Italian transition to modernity and projected into these family narratives.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students will be able to:
- read and engage critically with narrative texts;
- show skills of close textual analysis;
- master the basic concepts and strategies of literary and narrative studies;
- understand how genre conventions shape discourse;
- read and engage critically with various secondary sources, including scholarly essays and filmic adaptations;
- put into practice an interdisciplinary approach to literature;
- show an awareness of and sensitivity towards social and cultural concerns;
- communicate effectively, both orally and in writing;
- use IT effectively, both as a means of communication and as an aid to learning;
- improve their research skills;


Syllabus

In this module, we will study the emergence of the family novel in Italian literature. Through a series of lectures and seminars, we will focus on three of the major Italian novels that can be assigned to the genre: Verga's I Malavoglia (1881), Tomasi di Lampedusa's Il Gattopardo (1958), Ginzburg's Tutti i nostri ieri (1952). We will read these novels in Italian. Family novels tell how time and the passing of generations transform individuals as well as families - for each new generation brings with itself change. In particular, these novels tell the lives of those who, from the fishermen to the aristocrats, are caught up in the transition of Italy to modernity. Our approach to literature will be interdisciplinary: we will study these texts not only through the lenses of literary and narrative studies, but also adopting a broader historical, social and gender perspective. We will engage critically with secondary literature on narrative, society, and gender; we will also resort to the filmic adaptations of novels, which will be regarded as secondary sources in their own right.

In lectures and seminars we will read and comment on excerpts from the three set novels, as well as engage critically with secondary literature and filmic adaptations.

In lectures and seminars we will read and comment on excerpts from the three set novels, as well as discuss secondary sources.

Themes to be discussed include: narrative and time; narrative, identity and gender; life stories and fictions; desire and the novel; literature and society; the Italian transition to modernity; the Italian family and its modern history.

1. Life stories, memoirs and family novels: an introduction to an interdisciplinary study of narrative forms
2. Family novels, gender and social change (1): Post-unification Italy and Giovanni Verga
3. Giovanni Verga: I Malavoglia (1)
4. Giovanni Verga: I Malavoglia (2)
5. Family novels, gender and social change (2): Post-war Italy and Tomasi di Lampedusa
6. Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa: Il Gattopardo (1)
7. Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa: Il Gattopardo (2)
8. Family novels, gender and social change (3): Post-war Italy and Natalia Ginzburg
9. Natalia Ginzburg: Tutti i nostri ieri (1)
10. Natalia Ginzburg: Tutti i nostri ieri (2)

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Lecture101.0010.00
Seminar101.0010.00
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

- Private study, reading of texts, preparation for general class discussion: 130 hours
- Preparation and writing of two assessed essays: 44 hours
- Preparation for one class presentations: 6 hours

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student's progress will be monitored through participation in class discussion, one 10 minutes oral presentation, two x 2500 words essays, one
to be handed in halfway in the semester and one to be handed in at the end of semester. Students will be asked to contribute to class discussion relating to primary and secondary literature. Oral presentation mark will be adjusted to allow for class participation assessment. The oral presentation adjustment will range from -5% to + 5% of the oral presentation mark.

Methods of assessment


Coursework
Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2,500-word essay45.00
Oral Presentation10 minutes10.00
Essay2,500-word essay45.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2015

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