Visions of Modernity

Module code: IT3144 
Module co-ordinator: Dr Simona Storchi

Module Aims

The module will deal with the experience of modernity in Italy, with particular reference to the first half of the 20th century. Students will examine some key works of Italian literary Modernism, with the addition of examples taken from art and visual culture. The module aims to acquaint students with the main theoretical issues at the core of Modernism and, more generally, cultural representations of modernity and provide them with tools to interpret and evaluate a selection of key Italian early 20th century texts. Particular attention will be paid to such themes as the relationship between artists and the experience of modernity, the impact of technology on perceptions of reality, the rejection of realism and the emergence of new modes of representation, the exploration of subjectivity and new perceptions of the self and reality.

Module Outcomes

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a knowledge of the works studied and understand their content within the theoretical framework of Modernism
  • Describe the specific historical, cultural and political context of Italian Modernism
  • Conduct formal and thematic analysis of individual works presented in the course


Classes will alternate lectures, seminars and students presentations


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

Key Texts

Recommended for purchase:

  • Italo Svevo, La coscienza di Zeno (1923)
  • Luigi Pirandello, Sei personaggi in cerca d’autore (1921)
  • Luigi Pirandello, Enrico IV (1928)
  • Massimo Bontempelli, Minnie la candida (1928)