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Semester 1

Italian by Heart: Love Songs from Dante to De André (ELCI10035)


European Languages and Cultures - Italian





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Visiting students must have completed Italian Language 2 (ELCI08004) AND Italian Literature: Texts in Context 2 (ELCI08005) or equivalent courses at grade B or above. **Please see Additional Restrictions below**

Course Summary

Through a comparative study of love songs from Dante to contemporary singer-songwriter Fabrizio De André, this course offers an introduction to the major poetic forms for music (canzone, sonnet, ballata, madrigal, canzonetta). Please note that assessment includes the performance of a poem learned by heart.

Course Description

Love was the exclusive subject of poetry at the beginning of Italian literature, and the Italian language has long been considered a 'language that sings'. The study of Italian love songs will highlight the connections and question the divide between high and popular culture, also showing the ways in which love as a subject is historically constructed, codified, and conveyed through poetry and music. Literary texts will be studied in a broader interdisciplinary framework to address a series of key issues in cultural history, such as genre and gender representation, tradition and translation across time and media. The performance of a poem learned by heart and the close-reading of song lyrics will also contribute to improving language skills. The course is taught in two weekly hours that combine lectures and seminars, and it is divided in three parts. In Part I, 'Forms and features', some of the major Italian poetic forms for music will be introduced and discussed in class, from medieval songs to opera and 20th-century popular music. Part II, 'Intermedi', will present some thematic clusters in love songs across genres and media, from popular music to cinema. In Part III, 'Presentations and Performances', students will learn by heart, present and perform one poem from a given selection. Presentations and performances will receive formative feedback in class and a summative mark. The final week will be devoted to the discussion of the essays.

Assessment Information

Written Exam 0%, Coursework 100%, Practical Exam 0%

Additional Restrictions

This course cannot be taken alongside Italian Language 2 (ELCI08004) OR Italian Literature: Texts in Context 2 (ELCI08005)

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