Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)

Module ITAL1091: Languages and Literatures of Italy

Department: Modern Languages and Cultures (Italian)

ITAL1091: Languages and Literatures of Italy

Type Open Level 1 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap 30 Location Durham


  • Grade A or above at A level in a foreign European language, or equivalent qualification.


  • Modern Languages, Combined Honours and all Joint and 'with' programmes: Italian Language 1B (ITAL1102) OR Italian Language 1A (ITAL1071). Others: See Chairman/woman of the Board of Studies in MLAC or his/her representative.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To offer students the opportunity to examine essential aspects and themes related to the languages and literatures of Italy.
  • To illustrate the variety of Italian literary texts and a selection of theoretical approaches to read them critically.
  • To make students aware of the wider geographical, social, political, and cultural implications underpinning the literary production in Italy.
  • To introduce students to the historical development of Italian language and literature.
  • To explore the literary, rhetorical and linguistic topics and conventions they will encounter in later years.
  • To explore different critical modes of enquiry and identify ways in which they could be redeployed in a variety of contexts.


  • The module offers an introduction to the historical development of the Italian languages and literatures.
  • Italian literary culture will be presented from a global perspective, and students will be invited to think transnationally about the texts discussed in class.
  • Students will be able to examine texts from a range of different genres and learn how to navigate the Italian linguistic and literary repertoire according to standard periodisation and geographical distribution.
  • The module will explore different literary topics and the different linguistic and rhetorical registers employed by Italian and non-Italian literary authors expressing themselves in the languages used in Italy.
  • Special attention will be given to issues of gender, intercultural encounters, and political and social power relations across history.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • To be introduced to the historical development of Italian languages and literatures
  • To be introduced to the regional varieties of Italian languages and literatures
Subject-specific Skills:
  • To analyse the linguistic, literary and cultural codes and conventions of Italian literary production.
  • To perform critically informed close readings of literary texts.
  • To acquire basic skills to access information about the literatures of Italy.
  • To acquire awareness of such notions as originality, significance and rigour in the field of literary studies.
  • To examine different linguistic registers and rhetorical strategies in the construction of literary texts.
  • To get students acquainted with Italian literary and linguistic geography.
  • To identify issues of gender inequality, cultural biases and socio-political stereotypes and analyse them critically in relation to their historical reality.
Key Skills:
  • To be able to select and evaluate primary and secondary sources.
  • To work independently in order to complete to a deadline a project providing an interpretation or a solution of questions and problems posed by the module topics and in-class discussions.

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

  • The module is taught by means of a weekly lecture and fortnightly seminars.
  • Students will be required to attend all lectures and seminars and are expected to prepare themselves for classes
  • Students will be encouraged to participate in class discussion, to contribute with seminar presentations and to work in close relationship with their peers.
  • The summative essay will enable students to demonstrate and develop their knowledge of the subject as well as that of particular set texts.

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: Summative Essay 1 Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 1 1,500 word 100% Yes
Component: Summative Essay 2 Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 2 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