Contemporary Italian Fiction

Module code: IT3136 
Module co-ordinator: Dr Marina Spunta

Module Aims

This module explores contemporary Italian fiction, the debate on postmodernism, and focuses in particular on the interface between literature, landscape and photography and the visual. Students will examine selected fiction by Calvino, Celati, Tabucchi and Benati, and study Ghirri’s photography. The course seeks to acquaint students with the poetics of these authors, the postmodern debate, and the ways in which the examined texts engage in dialogue with their socio-cultural context and with the visual arts.

Module Outcomes

Students will gain an understanding of the different poetics and styles of the analyzed authors and of the debates on postmodernism/contemporary fiction, landscape and photography. They will be asked to reflect on the impact of the visual medium onto fiction and on the question of spatial representation, and to engage critically with different texts. They will also learn to apply theoretical parameters to their textual analysis and to place texts within their cultural context.


  • 10 hours of lectures
  • 10 hours of seminars
  • 130 hours of guided independent study

Classes will alternate lectures and seminars with all students working individually and in group and giving presentations.


  • Essay, 3,000 words (50%)
  • Exam, 3 hours (50%)

Key Texts

I. Calvino, Palomar (1983)
G. Celati, Narratori delle pianure (1985)
L. Ghirri, Il profilo delle nuvole (1989) (consult copy in the library short loan collection or on > Cataloghi speciali > Fotografie > Autori > Ghirri, Luigi)
A. Tabucchi, Il filo dell’orizzonte (1986)
D. Benati, Silenzio in Emilia (1997; new ed. 2009)