Fourth year modules 

You will follow a 20 credit module of Italian language, and then choose your remaining options from the list below (nb not all options are available every year):

Final Year Language (core, 20 credits)

This module is divided into three sections:

  1. Translation from Italian
  2. Italian Prose Variety
  3. Oral and Aural Italian

Section 1 concentrates particularly on comprehension, on the stylistic features of the original and the target languages and on the problems associated with appropriateness of register in the target language.

Section 2 examines different types and registers of Italian prose writing. Their distinctive features are analysed and reproduced in the students’ own prose writing. Grammatical, syntactical and lexical features of Italian are also examined and explained in the light of the passages dealt with and the students’ work. The types of prose examined in the First Semester will be: informal, formal and commercial letters, letters to newspapers and magazines; newspaper language and newspaper articles: di cronaca, economici, di fondo; cvs. In the Second Semester, the following will be examined: reviews of films, books, theatre productions, musical features and television programmes; the language of advertising.

Elements of lexical interference between Italian and English will also be examined in this section throughout the course.

Section 3 concentrates particularly on spoken Italian. The section is based on a series of topics, relevant to modern Italian society. Students will be exposed to aural and written authentic material which will form the basis for classroom discussion, group and individual presentations.

There are two contact hour per fortnight each for Sections 1 and 2 and one contact hour per week for Section 3. The course is assessed by an assessed piece each for Sections 1 and 2 per semester, counting 30% of the module mark, an aural test (20%), an oral examination (20%) and a written examination (30%).

Translation Theory and Practice (option, 20 credits)

The course focuses on approaches to the theory and practice of translation in Europe. It addresses the main areas of debate in Translation Theory and Translation Studies, with a historical survey of key theoretical texts and comparative and contrastive analysis of translations into English. It also covers key approaches, skills and resources available to the translator. It gives students the opportunity to apply their knowledge to their own translation practice via the production of a translation from their language of study into English (or from English into their mother tongue in the case of Erasmus students) accompanied by a critical and theoretically-informed reflection on the translation.

Contact hours:

In semester 1 there are ten one-hour general lectures in English, and five one-hour language-specific seminars. All students will be expected to do one group presentation in the seminars. In semester 2 there are five one-hour general lectures in English, and five one-hour language-specific seminars. The assessment is an essay on theories of translation and a translation project, comprising a translation into English (or from English into their mother tongue in the case of Erasmus students) of a text of no more than 1000 words, with a 2000-word analytical commentary on the translation.

Italian Modernism (option, 10 credits)

What would you do if you discovered in a newspaper that you are dead? Would you go back to the woman you just don’t love? Would you head to the city and construct a new life? Could you? This is the dilemma of Mattia Pascal in Pirandello’s Il fu Mattia Pascal (1904), one of Italy’s great early modernist novels.

In this module we explore the original approaches to the dilemmas of modern and modernist life narrated to us with pathos and humour by three novelists: Pirandello (Il fu Mattia Pascal) Svevo (La coscienza di Zeno) and Gadda (La cognizione del dolore).These novels confront early twentieth century life, a time of extraordinary vitality and experimentation, a time when, to quote Virginia Woolf, ‘human nature changed’ and when, to quote Nietzsche, God was dead. A time when, however, cars, cinemas, guerrilla tactics in art, and Sigmund Freud were all still brand new.

The module is assessed by a presentation and an essay and there are two contact hours per week.

Contemporary Italian Cinema and Media (option, 10 credits)

This module will introduce you to most major contemporary theoretical debates in cinema studies and to some key debates in media studies as they are played out in Italian cinema and media in post-war Italy. You will develop new approaches to Italy’s great cinema tradition, exploring gender in Italy’s horror movies (Dario Argento), the politics of impegno in Marco Bellocchio, race in La battaglia di Algeria, psychoanalysis in Fellini, and so on. You will develop and deepen your insights into cinema theory and practice. We also teach you how to write journalistic reviews of films and how journalistic approaches differ from academic ones.

The module is assessed by a film review and an essay and there are two contact hours per week.

Italian Identities (option, 10 credits)

When we talk about ‘identity’, what do we really mean? How are identities constructed, shaped and consolidated? What critical and theoretical tools do we need to be able to talk about them from an academic perspective? This module begins by introducing different paradigms of thought on what identity might be and then proceeds to explore different reflections on, representations of and debates around questions of identity. You will explore key, controversial issues including: national identity; the status and definitions of the family in Italian society and culture; gender identities; feminism; sexualities; ethnic and racial identities. You will trace and analyse narratives of identity in a variety of texts: novels, films, political manifestos, critical and theoretical texts, journalism, television programmes, multi-media. This is a very interactive module, assessed through an essay, a group presentation and written summary, and contributions to a web forum that runs through the year. There are two contact hours per week.

Reading Dante, Petrarca and Boccaccio (option, 10 credits)

This module is about learning the skills to analyse, and experiencing the pleasure of reading the “Three Crowns” in the original. We will begin with Dante’s Vita Nova, and follow the development of his discourse on love through relevant passages in the Commedia. Petrarch’s unresolved, conflicted and yet harmonious notion of love will then be explored through his Rime, while a thorough reading of Boccaccio’s Decamerone, the first ever book to be dedicated to “enamoured women”, will introduce us in the elegant, witty and realistic narrative of a literary world that brings to life its medieval, contemporary, and yet modern, values.

The Ideal and the Real in Renaissance Literature and Art (option, 20 credits)

The module traces the theme of the ideal versus the real in the work of some of the major writers and artists of the Italian Renaissance. Our texts and images are linked here by their interest in what constitutes the ideal Renaissance citizen and in how that near perfect model should be achieved. We will study them for their own merits and for their individual treatments of themes such as personal identity, civic and moral responsibility, sexuality and spirituality. We will also look at them in relation to each other, focussing on the ways in which they employ different and competing media to reflect their ideals and values. Particular attention will be paid to moments of interconnection and competition within and between literature and art. There are two contact hours per week and assessment is by two essays. Students make presentations in seminars and contribute actively to discussion.