ITAL30290 Interwar Culture and Poetry

Academic Year 2020/2021

In this module, we will consider Italian poetry between WW1 and WW2 (1914-1945), focusing on how these decades influenced poets, while re-shaping society and world borders. Through a contextualization of key cultural elements and the close readings of texts by some of the main poets of that time, students will be able to learn about the different artistic (and political) responses to patriotism, the rise of Fascism and the necessity of wars. The module will offer a selection of poems by Giuseppe Ungaretti, Vittorio Sereni and Cesare Pavese, among others. There will be a particular focus on the topics of borders, frontiers, and specific spaces (both physical and imaginative) explored and described by these poets.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:
1. Demonstrate an understanding of different poetic trends and literary movements in Italy between 1914 and 1945;
2. Analyse poetic texts in terms of form, content, and cultural/historical context;
3. Write critical essays of a high standard, using appropriate secondary sources in both Italian and English;
4. Engage in discussion on central themes of the module.

Indicative Module Content:

1. Module introduction + Italy and WW1 + Futurism (Manifesto and poems)

2. Idealization of war – Futurism and Giuseppe Ungaretti’s relationship with Fascism

3. The experimental nature of Ungaretti’s poetry (Il porto sepolto, 1916)

4. After WW1 - Hermetic poetry and Vittorio Sereni (Frontiera 1941 > 42).

5. Research skills – (comparative work, critical sources)

6. Break

7. Fascism policies – Realist poetry and Cesare Pavese (Lavorare stanca 1936 > 43).

8. Antifascism – Cesare Pavese and poetry of exile.

9. Prisoners – Poetry of immobility and memory in Vittorio Sereni’s Diario d’Algeria (1947).

10. Race laws in Italy and WW2 - Ungaretti (Il dolore 1947).

11. Conclusions.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning








Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The module is delivered online, with two classes every week in live streaming.. One class is a lecture,and the second a tutorial during which students will be asked to complete task-based and problem-based activities, individually or in groups. Students will be given specific readings (usually poems) to complete in advance of each tutorial. Students are expected to engage fully with both components of the module. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Class Test: timed (one hour) online test Week 7 n/a Graded No


Examination: timed (two hours) online test Week 12 No Graded 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?

Two task-based assignments (writing the abstract of a secondary source; completing a list of references) will be completed (but not graded) between week 2 and 6. Class feedback will be given the week following completion of the assignment. Individual feedback for submitted essays will be given in week 12,

Name Role
Mrs Bianca Battilocchi Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Francesco Lucioli Lecturer / Co-Lecturer