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First Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)
[20/40]  HUMANITIES [40/20 - Ord. 2008]  MODERN LITERATURE 6 30


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.


"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.

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.


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]

More Information

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

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