An Introduction to Italian Modernity - ITAL3150

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


This module aims to introduce students to Italian literature and culture from the Unification to the late 20th century. It will explore the principal historical events of this period (e.g. the Risorgimento, Fascism, the Second World War and the birth of the new Republic, the 'economic miracle', the ‘years of lead’ and the Berlusconi era) and examine how these periods have been interpreted by a number of key literary authors, artists and intellectuals such as Di Lampedusa, Vittorini and Pasolini. Particular emphasis will be placed on the relationship between Italian literature and social and political history.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20
Private Study Hours: 130
Total Study Hours: 150

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

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

Reassessment methods

• Reassessment Instrument: 100% Coursework

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List:

Clark, M. (1984). Modern Italy (1861-1995). London: Longman.
Ginsborg, P. (1990). A History of Contemporary Italy. Society and Politics 1943-1988. London: Penguin.
Gordon, R. (2005). An Introduction to Twentieth-Century Italian Literature: A Difficult Modernity. London: Duckworth.
Pasolini, P.P. (1983). Lutheran Letters. Carcanet New Press.
Tomasi di Lampedusa, G. (1993). The Leopard. London: Harvill.
Vittorini, E. (2004). Conversations in Sicily. Edinburgh: Canongate.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate a broad understanding of the socio-historical and cultural background of Italian Literature and Culture from the Unification (1861) to the late 20th century;
2 Demonstrate understanding of a variety of texts by some of the most important writers and intellectuals in modern and contemporary Italian literature;
3 Analyse set texts in detail;
4 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the ways in which Italian social and political history is manifested in the set texts.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate communicative skills in class presentations and discussions;
2 Write cogent and well-constructed essays;
3 Undertake independent and wide-ranging research in the Library and on the Web;
4 Take responsibility for personal and professional learning and development.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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