Loyola University Chicago

John Felice Rome Center

LITR 283 Spring 2013

Spring 2013

LITR 283                                                                                                                        

Email: jschwa3@luc.edu                                                      

Office: Room 114

Office Hour: TBA and by appointment

Meeting Days and Time: Tuesday/Thursday 12:30pm – 1:45pm

Meeting Place: Room

Online Course: https://blackboard.luc.edu (for help and log-in information, see



course description


The purpose of this course is to study and gain an appreciation of the literary works of selected Italian authors in English language translation. Students will have the opportunity to explore literary expression in different types of texts, as well as textual analysis and rhetorical strategies. Emphasis will be placed on the social, cultural and political milieu in which these authors produced their literary texts as a way of understanding the relationship between literature and the cultural-historical nexus that produced them. A variety of materials and techniques will be employed throughout the semester, including lectures, critical readings, class discussions and debates.


learning outcomes


In this course, students will have the opportunity to:


  • Study the creation of literary production as a means of exploring human experience and understanding creative processes.
  • Acquire the critical and technical vocabulary to describe and analyze, and formulate an argument about, literary productions.
  • Assess how formal qualities of literary productions determine the nature of the experience offered and affect the response of the audience.
  • Examine interpretive possibilities of literary work, and understand that such interpretations both reflect the culture that produce them and change over time.
  • Assess the relationships of works of literature to the cultural-historical nexus that produce and use them.
  • View in its entirety, discuss, and analyze at least one feature-length Italian film of relevance to a specific artistic, societal, or cultural trend referenced in this course.


course requirements


In order to attain the learning outcomes outlined above and to ensure that the course proceeds efficiently, students are encouraged and expected to:


  1. Attend class. Not attending class will lower a student's grade for several reasons (e.g., lack of participation; missed clarifications, explanations, and analyses; missed vocabulary, etc.);
  2. Participate actively and constructively in class both with the instructor and other students;
  3. Take all quizzes and exams, and complete assignments on their scheduled dates and at their scheduled times (see dates under class schedule). Make-up quizzes and exams will be provided only in accordance with Rome Center policy regarding excused absences (see absence policy);
  4. Complete homework assignments on their due date;
  5. Comport themselves in a manner conducive to learning and with respect for other students.


general absence policy


In order for an absence to be excused, the student must present the instructor with a written note of excuse from the Dean of Faculty, the Associate Director of Students, or the Director of Residence Life. Please note that such personal reasons as travel plans, visiting relatives, friends, etc., cannot be accepted as valid grounds for excusing an absence unless authorized by the Dean of Faculty.




course-specific absence guidelines


For the purpose of grade calculation, each unexcused absence that a student accumulates after the second will reduce her or his final grade by 3% (e.g., if a student's pre-absence grade calculation is 93%, with 4 absences the grade reduces 6 percentage points to 87%, resulting in a drop in the final grade from A to B+).


It is the student's responsibility to inform herself or himself of homework assignments, class notes, etc. in the event of absence.


required materials


1. Elio Vittorini, Conversations in Sicily (New Directions [2000] ISBN-13: 978-0811214551 OR Canongate [2004] ISBN-13: 978-1841954509

2. Dacia Maraini, Woman at War (ISBN-13: 978-0934977128)


          Other readings will be accessible through Blackboard, photocopies, via email, or made available in digital format.   These readings will include:


          1. Selections from Petrarch's poetry (il Canzoniere)

          2. Selections from Michelangelo Buonarroti's poetry

          3. Poetry selections from Gaspara Stampa, Vittoria Colonna, and Veronica Franco

          4. Excerpts from Ippolito Nievo's The Castle of Fratta

          5. Selections from Giovanni Verga's Novelle


means of assessment


The final grade will be determined on the basis of the following criteria, and grades will be assigned according to the following scale:

                                                           % of final grade          Grading Scale


Final Exam                                          20%

Essays (3)                                            30%

Quizzes (2)                                           10%

Midterm Exam                                     15%

Participation (5% at midterm)                10%

Short writing assignments (3)                 15%




final exam


Date:               | Time:                         |   Place:


Those students who cannot attend the final exam session will receive a grade of 0 (zero) on the final exam (except those students with a valid excuse; see absence policy), and the final grade will be calculated accordingly.


academic integrity


The deliberate appropriation and representation of another person's work (ideas, language, findings, etc.) as one's own on any written assignment, quiz, exam, or paper—commonly referred to as "plagiarism"—will result in a student's automatic failure for that assignment or examination and notification of the Director that the student is suspected to have committed plagiarism. Any such behavior undermines the fundamental trust upon which academic integrity and a community of scholars is based. Each student must familiarize herself or himself with the rules referring to academic integrity as outlined in the Loyola University Chicago Undergraduate Studies Catalogue. Knowledge of the University's Academic Honesty guidelines will be taken for granted.




This course requires that each student activate and maintain access to Blackboard. Through this medium such tasks can be accomplished as communicating homework assignments, submitting homework, and communicating important course-related information. In addition, specific files can be accessed through Blackboard (e.g., printing course syllabus).


students with disabilities


Students with documented disabilities who wish to discuss academic accommodations should contact me the first week of class.

CLASS SCHEDULE (the following schedule is subject to modification)


Please note that there is an obligatory Friday make-up class on March 22.






Means of Assessment

Jan 15/17


course introduction / Francesco Petrarca



Jan 22/24


The legacy of Petrarch and Petrarchan poetry

Select poems and writings of Petrarch


Jan 29/31


Italian Renaissance poetry: Michelangelo Buonarroti

Select poems and writings of Michelangelo Buonarroti

Quiz 1

Feb 5/7


Michelangelo Buonarroti / Vittoria Colonna, Gaspara Stampa

Michelangelo Buonarroti, select works of Vittoria Colonna, Gaspara Stampa


Feb 12/14


Italian Romanticism / background on the development of the Italian novel

Excerpts from Ippolito Nievo's The Castle of Fratta

Essay 1

Feb 19/21



Excerpts from Ippolito Nievo's The Castle of Fratta


Feb 26/28


Review for Midterm Exam


Midterm Exam




Mar 12/14


Italian Verismo and the Risorgimento

Giovanni Verga's The House by the Medlar Tree


Mar 19/21/22


Italian fascism

Elio Vittorini's Conversations in Sicily

Essay 2

Mar 26



Elio Vittorini's Conversations in Sicily


Apr 2/4


Italian feminism

Dacia Maraini's Woman at War

Quiz 2

Apr 9/11



Dacia Maraini's Woman at War


Apr 16/18


Review for Final Exam / Course conclusions


Essay 3