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First Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)
[20/40]  HUMANITIES [40/10 - Ord. 2008]  CLASSICAL LITERATURE 12 60
[20/40]  HUMANITIES [40/20 - Ord. 2008]  MODERN LITERATURE 12 60


Students will have to be capable of: analyzing a text both from a semantic and structural point of view in order to correctly frame the historical-literary context to which they belong; further investigating critical issues from a diachronic and com-parative perspective; assimilating critical suggestions proposed and re-processing, in an authentic and original way, acquired contents.


Students need to: have appropriate knowledge of literature and historical-cultural phe-nomena related to literary texts; know theoretical and critical instruments which can be used for studying and analyzing literary texts and their historical-cultural contexts, and literary criticism methodologies.


First Module. "Love and Death in XIX century french fiction: from Chateaubriand to Flaubert".

First module will be focused on the suggestive binomial Eros-Thanatos in XIX century french fiction. We will try to outline a thematic path aimed at tracing the most significant stages in the slow but inexorable evolution of the literary representation of Love and its tragic implications in some of the most significant works on the subject. Starting from the theories of Freud, Bataille and Mitchell, we will see how romantic love evolved in the course of the nineteenth century, until it led to the 'salvific death', through the extreme gesture of suicide. We will start with Chateaubriand's short novels ("Atala" and "René"), and then move on to Madame de Staël's prose production, particularly her two autobiographical works "Delphine" and "Corinne", and Benjamin Constant's masterpiece, "Adolphe". "Notre-Dame de Paris" by Hugo, on the other hand, will transport us into a typically gothic dimension with disquieting 'noir' atmospheres, in which the main characters of the novel, first and foremost Esmeralda, Quasimodo and Frollo, seem to live in constant balance between Eros and Thanatos. Our journey will end with Flaubert's "Madame Bovary", which will bring to excess the Love-Death discourse, helping to clear forever the blurred boundary between married and adulterous love.

Second Module. "The Vampire and its symbology in XIX century french poetry: from Hugo to Rimbaud"

The second module will be focused on the vampire and its deep symbology through a critical re-reading of the vampire’s myth in poetry. Among the various monsters created by the human mind, the vampire is the one most invested in erotic symbolism. The penetrating act of the bite - with which the vampire feeds itself, from which it draws life - recalls the sexual act - act with which it gives life - creating between bloodsucker and victim a concrete realization of the union between Love and Death. In the unholy act of love the vampire takes away life - the blood which is a symbol and taboo in many religions - but at the same time transmits a new life, cursed and eternal. This binomial of Eros and Thanatos finds in the Romantic era a particular proliferation. Love reaches its highest perfection, its perfect sublimation, in the moment in which the two lovers merge with the Absolute, that is when they die together. In the embrace at the point of death, the two lovers find a balance between the Life Pulsion - which drives man to procreate and to act in a "constructive way" - and the Death Pulsion - which acts in the opposite direction, towards annihilation, the 'cupio dissolvi'. In the course of the second module, we will therefore see how this figure is depicted in poetry and what its main connotations are. We will start from Hugolian texts imbued with deep infernal connotations, and then move on to the verse adaptations of ancient Slavic stories by Prosper Mérimée, to the 'modern' proposals of Théophile Gautier and Baudelaire, and finally to Rimbaud.

Teaching Methods

Lectures with a seminar background.

Verification of learning

Interview in Italian language to test the skills acquired. The evaluation will take into account the expressive mastery and use of appropriate terminology by the examiners, as well as their ability to deal with, analyse and critically contextualize the issues raised during the course.


First Module. "Love and Death in XIX century french fiction: from Chateaubriand to Flaubert"

History of Literature - XIX century

"Le XIXe Siècle. Les Grands Auteurs français. Anthologie et histoire littéraire", [textes réunis et présentés par] André Lagarde et Laurent Michard, 3e éd., Paris, Bordas, « Collection littéraire Lagarde et Michard », 19883 [selected passages].

Pierre Brunel, Yvonne Bellenger et Alii, "Storia della letteratura francese (XIX-XX secolo)", edizione italiana a cura di Giovanni Bogliolo, vol. 2, Rapallo, CIDEB, 1999 [first part].


François-René de Chateaubriand, "Atala (ou Les Amours de deux sauvages dans le désert)", Paris, Migneret, 1801.

François-René de Chateaubriand, "René", Paris, Migneret, 1802.

Madame de Staël-Holstein, "Delphine", Genève, Jean-Jacques Paschoud, 1802. [selected passages]

Madame de Staël-Holstein, "Corinne (ou l’Italie)", Paris, H. Nicolle, 1807. [selected passages]

Benjamin Constant, "Adolphe", Paris, Treuttel et Würtz, 1816. [selected passages]]

Victor Hugo, "Notre-Dame de Paris", Paris, Charles Gosselin, 1831.

Gustave Flaubert, "Madame Bovary (Mœurs de province)", Paris, Michel Lévy, 1857.

Critical essays

Sigmund Freud, "Au-delà du principe du plaisir (1920), in Essais de psychanalyse", Paris, Payot, 1980.

Sigmund Freud, "Notre relation à la mort précédé de La désillusion causée par la guerre", traduit de l’allemand par Pierre Cotet, André Bourguignon et Alice Cherki, Paris, Payot & Rivages, 2012.

Georges Bataille, "L’érotisme", Paris, Éditions de Minuit, 1957.

Stephen A. Mitchell, "L’amore può durare? Il destino dell’amore romantico", trad. di Francesco Gazzillo, Milano, Raffaello Cortina, 2003.

Mario Praz, "La chair, la mort et le diable dans la littérature du XIXe siècle. Le romantisme noir", traduction de l’italien par Constance Thomson Pasquali, Paris, Gallimard, « Tel », 1999. [Selected essays]

Second Module. "The Vampire and its symbology in XIX century french poetry: from Hugo to Rimbaud"


Giovanni Dotoli & Mario Selvaggio, "Le vampire dans la poésie française. XIXe - XXe siècles. Anthologie", préface [de] Alain Rey, illustrations [de] Emma Virginia Puggioni, Alberobello - Paris, Editrice AGA - L’Harmattan, « L’Orizzonte n° 60 », 2019, 480 p. [En couverture : Le Vampire, lithographie de R. de Moraine, in Paul Féval, Les Tribunaux secrets, Paris, Boulanger et Legrand, Libraires - Éditeurs, 1864.] - Textes de : Mr Aillaud, Maréchalle, Victor Hugo, Prosper Mérimée, Louis-Maxime Guffroy, Jules-Amédée Barbey d’Aurevilly, Paul Verlaine, E. La Rivière, Amédée Pommier, Charles Baudelaire, Amédée Désandré, Baron de Ville-d’Avray, André Daubray, Edmond Febvrel, Camille Delthil, Alfred de Vigny, Comte de Lautréamont, Vincent-de-Paul Gaboriau, Maurice Rollinat, Théophile Gautier, A. Gilbert, Arthur Rimbaud, Georges Rebuffat, Georges Fidit, Jacques Ricquebourg, Stéphane Moreau, Victor Segalen, Julien Lapierre, Yello da Relly, José Stéfani-Poquet, Marcel Schwob, Jean-Marie-Paul. - En Appendice : Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, « La fiancée de Corinthe » ; George Gordon Noel Byron, « Le Giaour » ; Prosper Mérimée, « Sur le vampirisme » ; Gottfried August Bürger, « Lénore » ; Comte Maxime Odin, « Smarra ou les Démons de la Nuit » ; Aloysius Bertrand, « Scarbo ». - 8 planches hors-texte + 10 illustrations en couleurs par Emma Virginia Puggioni. [Selected texts]

Critical essays

"Le vampire et ses métamorphoses dans l’imaginaire littéraire et artistique", sous la direction de Giovanni Dotoli & Mario Selvaggio, avec une encre de Giulia Spano, « Noria. Revue littéraire et artistique », fondée et dirigée par Giovanni Dotoli & Mario Selvaggio, Paris - Alberobello, AGA Editrice - L’Harmattan, N° 3, Mars 2021, p. 17-459. [Selected essays].

More Information

Students who are unable to attend lessons are kindly requested to contact the teacher to agree on a specific programme.

Questionnaire and social

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