Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2022-2023 (archived)

Module ITAL3191: Renaissance Relevance: Italian Culture in Translation

Department: Modern Languages and Cultures (Italian)

ITAL3191: Renaissance Relevance: Italian Culture in Translation

Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Not available in 2022/23 Module Cap 30 Location Durham


  • Italian Language 2B (ITAL2031) OR Italian Language 2A (ITAL2111) or an equivalent qualification to the satisfaction of the Chairman/woman of the Board of Studies of MLAC or his/her representative.


  • Modern Languages, Combined Honours and all Joint and 'with' programmes: Italian Language 4 (ITAL3021). Others: see Chairman/woman of the Board of Studies in MLAC or his/her representative.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To study a select number of Renaissance texts and images in depth;
  • To examine these works of literature and art within the context of Humanist imitation and translation;
  • To analyse trans-historical case studies of their translation into new forms and/or languages both as conversant with and independent of their models;
  • To reflect on the processes of reception and transmission that render early modern Italian culture newly relevant across cultures and time.


  • A selection of one major text and one or two iconic images of the Italian Renaissance will provide the primary focus of the module. This selection will include works of literature and art that have been particularly generative of reproductions and imitations such as Ludovico Ariosto, Orlando furioso; Angelo Poliziano, Orfeo; Sandro Botticelli, ‘Primavera’, Michelangelo, ‘Davide’ and so on. The translations and adaptions studied will be interlingual, intralingual and/or transmedial, offering a means to explore the concept and practises of adaptation and translation within the broadest possible frame.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of this module, students should / will / are expected to:
  • show close acquaintance of and deep engagement with important Italian texts and images
  • know about and understand a crucial period in Italian history and its cultural production
  • have developed innovative approaches to analysing the production and reproduction of Italian Renaissance literature and art
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of this module, students should / will / are expected to:
  • have developed critical skills including the close reading of primary texts and the formal analysis of paintings and / or sculpture
  • be able to relate texts and images to the overarching themes of cultural and transcultural transmission
  • be able to reflect judiciously on the relevance of early modern Italian literature and art across cultures, languages and media
Key Skills:
  • By the end of this module, students should / will / are expected to have developed the key skills of:
  • literary and visual cultural criticism;
  • essay and commentary writing;
  • structuring arguments;
  • independent learning.

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

  • The module will be taught in weekly one-hour lectures in Michaelmas and Epiphany terms.
  • Bi-weekly one-hour seminars will deliver relevant information about the module and will include guided discussions and student presentations (subject to instructor’s decision and group size).
  • Assessment of the module is by essay or an alternative digital project in Summative Component 1. The project – either a 15 mins digital presentation of key concepts (based on a written draft of around 2000 words), or a 2000 word essay – should engage critically and apply the theoretical knowledge gained during the course to the analysis of a particular text or film. It should focus on AT LEAST ONE of the texts/topics studied during the term, while there may be scope for students to include other objects of study related to the topic provided they agree this with the course convener.
  • Summative Component 2: 3,000-words essay.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 Weekly 1 hour 20
Seminars 10 Fortnightly 1 hour 10
Preparation and Reading 170
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Critical Analysis Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 1 OR Digital Presentation 2,000 words/15-20 minutes 100% No
Component: Essay 2 Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 2 3,000 words 100% No

Formative Assessment:

Formative work will include peer/question-driven discussions during seminars. Oral feedback and comments from both peers and tutors are provided regularly in the course of the seminar discussion.

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