Course overview

This 8 week course will explore and discover four Italian novels from the twentieth century. These are: The Leopard - Lampedusa. The Moon and the Bonfires - Pavese. The Garden of the Finzi-Continis - Bassani. The Days of Abandonment - Ferrante. Usually two weeks' discussion will be devoted to each writer and his or her text. These sessions will establish the context of each novel and its relationship to the Italian tradition. Each text is designed as a point of departure for further reading by that writer or similar authors, and as an introduction to Italian literary thought and culture in the twentieth century.

Course description

Beginning with the novel, The Leopard, which is often described as the greatest nineteenth century novel written in the twentieth century, we shall explore the history of the novel’s author, Lampedusa and his position as a scion of a declining Sicilian aristocratic family, a decline which is illustrated through the character of the Prince of Lampedusa, and which moreover becomes a broader commentary on societal change in twentieth century Italy. This will introduce themes of identity and belonging which are important to the course. Next we will explore divisions in Italy and Italians as a result of the Second War in the retrospective text, The Moon and the Bonfires by Cesare Pavese. A novel with a similarly elegiac atmosphere, which translates into the beauty of loss, longing and identity is the next novel, The Garden of the Finzi-Continis. And finally, we will discuss one of Elena Ferrante’s less well-known works The Days of Abandonment.

This is a course which contains some of the most beautiful Italian prose in the last one hundred years, successfully translated into English. If you are unfamiliar with Italian literature and want to experience a taste of some of its finest literature in the twentieth century, then come along and discuss these fabulous novels.

What financial support is available?

We don't want anything to stand in your way when it comes to bringing Adult learning within reach so if you need anything to support you to achieve your goals then speak to one of our education experts during your enrolment journey. Most of our courses are government funded but if you don't qualify or need alternative financial help to access them then let us know.

What other support is available?

All of our digital content, teaching and learning activities and assessments are designed to be accessible so if you need any additional support you can discuss this with the education experts during your enrolment journey and we will do all we can to make sure you have optimal access.

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