Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2020-2021 (archived)


Department: Modern Languages and Cultures (Italian)


Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Not available in 2020/21 Module Cap Location Durham


  • Italian Language 1B (ITAL1102) AND Italian Language 1A (ITAL1071) or an equivalent to the satisfaction of the Chairman/woman of the Board of Studies of MLAC or his/her representative.


  • Modern Languages, Combined Honours and Joint and 'with' programmes: Italian Language 2B (ITAL2031) OR Italian Language 2A (ITAL2111). Others: see Chairman/woman of the Board of Studies or his/her representative.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • N/A


  • To introduce students to the political, cultural and literary history of Italy in the long nineteenth century (1796-1915).
  • To make students aware of the interrelation between political and literary discourse.


  • The programme will vary according to the availability of material.
  • In term one core texts will include Christopher Duggan’s, The Force of Destiny: A History of Italy Since 1796, New York 2007, and a selection of texts by authors from the Napoleonic rule in Italy to the end of the Risorgimento (1796-1861), including e.g. Manzoni, Leopardi, Cattaneo, D’Azeglio and others.
  • In term two a further selection of texts from the period of post-unification Italy (1861-) will include, amongst others, Giovanni Verga’s Mastro-Don Gesualdo (1889) and Federico De Roberto’s I viceré (1894).

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students should:
  • Gain a sense of the historical/artistic background of the period in question;
  • Acquire familiarity with the main currents of thought and cultural debates of the period in question;
  • Acquire a broader view of Italy’s cultural history in the long nineteenth century.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Engage in independent research in nineteenth-century Italian texts;
  • Study materials in Italian, conducting bibliographical research of Italian sources, and critical analysis of Italian texts;
  • Become aware of the interrelationships of historical events, political and cultural contexts, and literary traditions
Key Skills:
  • Identify and select appropriate sources of evidence and information.
  • Identify, define and carry out critical reading of written texts to specific requirements.
  • Evaluate validity of information orally and in writing.
  • Work independently to complete, to a deadline, accurate written texts.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures in the first term will offer an historical introduction to the main events of the period in question, followed by a critical reading of selected historical sources and literary texts of the period leading up to the unification of Italy (1861).
  • Term two will focus on selected historical sources and literary texts of the post-unification period (1861-).
  • Fortnightly seminars will offer the opportunity to develop presentation skills.
  • Independent learning will be encouraged by preparation for seminars and by research for the summative essays.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 21 Weekly 1 hour 21
Seminars 10 Fortnightly 1 hour 10
Preparation and Reading 169
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Summative Essay Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Summative Essay 2,000 words 100% Yes
Component: Summative Essay Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Summative Essay 2,500 words 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:


Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University