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Unit information: Nineteenth Century Culture in 2015/16

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Unit name Nineteenth Century Culture
Unit code ITAL20004
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Glynn
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Italian
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

The unit will involve a survey of the major historical achievements (both political and cultural) of the century. Particular attention will be paid to developments in the field of history of ideas (romanticism, nationalism, scientific positivism, and realism), and their influence on all areas of cultural production (literary, operatic, artistic, etc.). Selected ideas will be developed further through a critical analysis of extracts from works by major Italian authors written during the period in which modern Italy was formed. The course will conclude with a questioning of the heredity of Italian Unification with respect to the economic and political crises confronted by the country in the early twentieth century.


  • To introduce students to a significant body of knowledge of a complexity appropriate to second year level. The content matter will normally include one or more of the following: literature; social, cultural or political history; linguistics; cultural studies; film, television or other media.
  • To facilitate students’ engagement with a body of literature, including secondary literature, texts, including in non-print media, primary sources and ideas as a basis for their own analysis and development. Normally many or most of these sources will be in a language other than English and will enhance the development of their linguistic skills.
  • To develop further skills of synthesis, analysis and independent research, building on the skills acquired in units at level C.
  • Some options may prepare students for the experience of the Year Abroad.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Successful students will:

  • be knowledgeable about a significant cultural, historical or linguistic subject related to the language they are studying;
  • be skilled in the selection and synthesis of relevant material;
  • be able to evaluate and analyse relevant material from a significant body of source materials, usually in a foreign language, at a high level;
  • be able to respond to questions or problems by presenting their independent judgements in an appropriate style and at an high level of complexity;
  • be able to transfer these skills to other working environments, including study at a foreign university and on work placements during the year abroad.

Teaching Information

Normally one lecture hour and one seminar hour per week across one teaching block (22 contact hours), often with student presentations. In units with a smaller number of students the lecture hour may be replaced by a second seminar or a workshop. Units involving film may require students to view films outside the timetabled contact hours.

Assessment Information

Essay 75%, short essay 25%

Reading and References

Set Texts:

Martin Clark, The Italian Risorgimento (Longman; 2nd edition, 2009) [N.B. must be this edition]

In addition students will be provided with a course pack of historical documents and short literary works.

Additional Key Reading includes:

John Davis, Italy in the Nineteenth Century, 1796-1900 (Oxford University Press, 2000)

Martin Clark, Modern Italy, 1871 to the Present (Penguin, 2008)

Harry Hearder, Italy in the Age of the Risorgimento 1790-1870 (Longman, 1983)

Lucy Riall, Risorgimento: The History of Italy from Napoleon to Nation State (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008)