ITAL20160 Reading Italian Literature

Academic Year 2023/2024

For a real encounter with the Italian culture, students need to be enabled to engage with the original texts. This module is designed to facilitate such a direct engagement, by means of a structured path of guided reading. A selection of literary texts is used, carefully chosen to develop linguistic skills and cultural awareness. Classes are conceived as interactive, with explanations and students working through texts individually and in group. Class explanations, supplemented by autonomous student research, provide the information needed for a proper understanding of the texts in their historical context. Language supervision in class is designed to resolve the most obvious language difficulties and in this way free up time for focussing on the core vocabulary and grammatical structures emerging in the texts. By regularly attending and working, in class and at home, students will find the comprehension gradually easier: when comprehension is easier, one can read more and better; this develops a higher language competence, which in turn makes comprehension easier, completing the cycle.

Show/hide contentOpenClose All

Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:
- place selected literary works in their historical context;
- comprehend the content of Italian literary texts of low-medium difficulty;
- apply improved reading techniques, an effective use of the dictionary, and strategies for developing the passive vocabulary;
- evidence their understanding of read passages by answering questions of linguistic and cultural / literary nature.

Indicative Module Content:

The module introduces excerpts from 4 texts taken from 19th- and 20th-century Italian literature: Pirandello's play 'Il berretto a sonagli' and his short story 'la carriola', Manzoni's novel 'I promessi sposi', and De Roberto's story 'La paura'. Excerpts are of 5-10 pages for prose works, a longer excerpt for the play. Class work involves reading parts of the texts with a view to developing reading abilities: vocabulary is developed, but even without getting all the words, the structures are highlighted so that students can learn how to come to grips with complex structures, getting the gist without being bogged down by the need to translate everything.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Seminar (or Webinar)




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The tuition consists of two weekly classes, and students are expected to take part actively in them. Class activity always involves work on the text, typically by students under the guidance of the teacher; occasional points (grammar, vocabulary) are explained separately. Teacher explanations and student activity are combined to pool together the knowledge of individuals for the benefit of everyone. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Requirements:

Students taking this module must have some knowledge of Italian, specifically for the reading ability.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Class Test: Class Tests Throughout the Trimester n/a Not yet recorded No


Examination: timed exam paper 2 hour End of Trimester Exam No Not yet recorded No



Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring Yes - 2 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Each of the two class tests is discussed in-depth after being corrected; they are prepared by a mock test, which is also discussed.

Name Role
Dr Marco Bellardi Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Bianca Cataldi Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Sarah Culhane Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor Ursula Fanning Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Matteo Leta Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Francesco Lucioli Lecturer / Co-Lecturer