Italian Short Story - IT552

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
Canterbury Spring
View Timetable
5 15 (7.5) DR F Capello




Also available as a 'Wild' module



This module focuses on a number of Italian contemporary short stories. More specifically, this module discusses the literary treatment of love, and the love story, in the short stories of some of the most important Italian writers of the second half of the 20th century and early 21st century. Works by worldwide renowned authors such as Italo Calvino, Natalia Ginzburg, Cesare Pavese, and Leonardo Sciascia, accomplished "postmodernist" writers belonging to a younger generation such as Antonio Tabucchi and Pier Vittorio Tondelli, as well as less celebrated authors such as Gianni Celati and Fabrizia Ramondino, will be taken into consideration. While not underestimating the profound economic, social and political changes that Italy underwent during the last sixty years, particular emphasis will be given to the similar way in which all these writers seem to fictionally conceive of the love relationship as a missed encounter. In spite of the manifold forms of love being described in these texts (between husband and wife; wife and lover; young boy and ideal father; sister and brother; mother and daughter; two young men, etc.), all the short stories chronologically analysed in this module seem to rely on Calvino's provoking suggestion according to which the missed encounter is the "fundamental element" of love relationships.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20

Method of assessment

100% Coursework:

Essay 1 (1,500 words) – 40%
Essay 2 (1,500 words) – 40%
Presentation (15 minutes) – 20%

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading:

Any edition:

Italo Calvino, Gli amori difficili (1970)
Gianni Celati, Cinema naturale (2001);
Natalia Ginzburg, Cinque romanzi brevi e altri racconti (1964)
Cesare Pavese, Feria d'agosto (1946)
Fabrizia Ramondino, Arcangelo e altri racconti (2005)
Leonardo Sciascia, Il mare colore del vino (1973)
Antonio Tabucchi, Piccoli equivoci senza importanza (1985)
Pier Vittorio Tondelli, Altri libertini (1980)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

- Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of key works of some of the most important Italian writers of the second half of the 20th century and early 21st century.

- Display skills of close critical readings of selected Italian short stories.

- Show knowledge of the literary and cultural movements that influenced the authors being studied.

- Show critical understanding of the importance of the love story as a privileged sub-genre of the short story.

- Relate the set short stories to their particular historical background and the radical social transformations that took place in Italy during the second half of the 20th century, and to apply this knowledge in various scholarly contexts.

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