851-0334-02L  A Country Without Heroes: Romance and National Identity in Modern Italy

SemesterSpring Semester 2017
LecturersS. Jossa
Periodicitynon-recurring course
Language of instructionItalian

AbstractThe course aims to focus on some of the symbolic passages in the process of nation-building in Italy in the 19th and 20th centuries, as Italy reached its unity only in 1861.
ObjectiveThrough the study of Foscolo's Last Letters of Jacopo Ortis (1798), Collodi's Pinocchio (1880), Calvino's The Path to the Nest of Spiders (1947), and Tomasi di Lampedusa's The Leopard (1958) the course aims to give students an understanding of how and why Italy was born so late as a political entity. By focussing on the different stages of the process of Nation building in Italy, the course also aims to make students aware of how Italy's national identity developed: two books (Foscolo's and Collodi's) were written in the 19th century, and will help students to understand the pre-Risorgimento (the making of Italy), and the post-Risorgimento (the making of the Italians); whereas the other two books (Calvino's and Tomasi's) come from the 20th century, and will help students to understand the Resistenza (the making of the Republic), and the post-war Italy (the crisis of nationhood).
The course also aims to discuss the problem of the absence of a national hero in the Italian literary tradition, such as Wilhelm Tell for Switzerland or D'Artagnan for France or Robin Hood for Britain.