Academic year
2022/2023 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
LM30AB (AF:390235 AR:206226)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
1st Semester
Course year
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Locating the subject within the study plan of the MA-programme

The course Scandinavian Literature 1 (6 ects) is offered at the first year of the MA-programme in European, American and Postcolonial Languages and Literature, and is addressed to students who choose Scandinavian Studies, with Swedish as a language of specialization. With the name of Scandinavian Literature (6 ects), the same course is offered to the students of Scandinavian Studies who choose Swedish as their language of specialization within the MA-programme in Language Sciences. Students of Scandinavian studies of both MA-programmes form therefore a common class.
Expected results

The course “Scandinavian Theatre of Naturalism and Post-naturalism” proposes the analysis of dramatic works and the study of literary criticism and history of theatre in Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Italian and English. It aims at an in-depth knowledge of the examined works, of their themes, structure and style, and at an equally in-depth knowledge of Scandinavian theatrical culture in the last decades of the 19th century. The plays are thus both analysed in their inner structures and related to their historically, culturally and artistically most relevant contexts. Ibsen’s and Strindberg’s works will be studied in the editions proposed by the official websites that contain these works full text and open access: Henrik Ibsens Skrifter ( ) and Litteraturbanken ( ). An expected result is an improved familiarity with these important digital sources.

The course is addressed to former students of Scandinavian studies at BA-level and is held in Swedish. Texts will be read in the original language. The professor will assist students when reading texts in Norwegian and Danish; these texts will be excerpts, whereas students will be allowed to read the corresponding whole works in translation. Swedish texts will be studied in their original version.

Since A Doll’s House (1879) Henrik Ibsen renewed Scandinavian theatre and in the following twenty years he continued to analyse the ‘cage’ of bourgeois existence in plays that reveal, underneath the surface of things, symbolic patterns. Detaching himself from Ibsen’s feminism (1884), his colleague and antagonist Strindberg replied, starting with The Father (1887), with his own psychic version of naturalistic drama. Eventually he developed, at the beginning of the 20th century, a kind of drama that suspends realistic likelihood, making him a forerunner of 20th century Modernism. Meanwhile, even Ibsen’s theatre goes beyond its own realistic conventions, towards dimensions that, as mentioned before, are more and more symbolic and visionary. Alongside the relation between these two playwrights, the modern Scandinavian director theatre developed, through directors/authors who could create a new, distressing experience, approaching contemporary human reality, beyond the declamation of Romantic theatre.
The course offers a deeper knowledge of the history of Scandinavian literature, culture and theatre from approximately 1870 to the beginning of 20th century, while introducing basics of semiotics of theatre through the in-depth analysis of plays by Ibsen and Strindberg.

Primary sources

Henrik Ibsen [1884], L’anitra selvatica, Torino, Einaudi, 1963 and following editions // Vildanden at Henrik Ibsens skrifter ( )

Henrik Ibsen [1896], John Gabriel Borkman, in I drammi, Torino, Einaudi, 1966 and following editions // John Gabriel Borkman at Henrik Ibsens skrifter ( )

August Strindberg [1884], “Casa di bambola”, in Sposarsi, Milano, Mursia, 1995 // “Ett dockhem”, in Giftas at Litteraturbanken. August Strindbergs samlade verk ( )

August Strindberg [1887], Il padre, in Teatro naturalistico I, Milano, Adelphi, 1978 and following editions // Fadren at Litteraturbanken. August Strindbergs samlade verk ( )

August Strindberg [1888], “Prefazione” a Signorina Julie, in Teatro naturalistico 2, Milano, Adelphi, 1982 and following editions // “Förord”, in Fröken Julie at Litteraturbanken. August Strindbergs samlade verk ( )

August Strindberg [1902], Il sogno, Milano, Adelphi, 1994 and following editions // Ett drömspel at Litteraturbanken. August Strindbergs samlade verk ( )

The standard Italian editions by Einaudi e Adelphi have been indicated for their availability. Other editions, even in other European languages, are possible.

Secondary sources: criticism, history of literature, history of theatre

Frederick Marker, Lise-Lone Marker, A History of Scandinavian Theatre, Cambridge UP, 1996, pp. 131-223 (chapters 6 “Ibsen’s Norway”, 7 “Naturalism and the Director”, 8 “The Strindberg Challenge”)

Franco Perrelli, “La grande stagione del teatro scandinavo”, in R. Alonge, G. Davico Bonino (a cura di), Storia del teatro moderno e contemporaneo, II, Il grande teatro borghese: Settecento e Ottocento, Torino, Einaudi, 2000, pp. 781-851

From Storia delle letterature scandinave, cap. 5 “L’affermazione della letteratura moderna”, §§ 5.1, 5.2, 5.3 e 5.4 by Massimo Ciaravolo, Bruno Berni e Giuliano D’Amico

Lou Andreas Salomé, Figure di donne. Figure di donne nei sei drammi familiari ibseniani, Iperborea, Milano 1997

Joan Templeton, “Sense and Sensibility: Women and Men in The Wild Duck”, in Ibsen’s Women, Cambridge UP 1997

Inga-Stina Ewbank, “The Last Plays”, in The Cambridge Companion to Ibsen, Cambridge UP, 2006

Massimo Ciaravolo, “John Gabriel Borkman di Ibsen, fantasmagoria dell’homo faber”, in Libertà, gabbie, vie d’uscita. Letteratura scandinava della modernità e della città, 1866-1898, Edizioni Ca’ Foscari, Venezia 2022

Franco Perrelli, August Strindberg. Il teatro della vita, Iperborea, Milano 2003

Eszter Szalczer, August Strindberg. Routledge Modern and Contemporary Dramatists, Routledge, London 2011

Additional syllabus for students not attending the course

Students not attending the course must agree upon additional materials at the professor’s office hour (mandatory). The additional materials will be indicated later on.

The examination is oral, it lasts about 40 minutes and it is in Swedish (unless otherwise agreed upon, according to the needs). Some of the works dealt with in the course are analysed and discussed and they are referred to their significant historical, cultural, theatrical and literary contexts. One question may include reading and translating from Swedish / Scandinavian a passage from one of the works in the syllabus.
The students who have not attended the course must study the additional materials that will be given. They must come and talk to the professor at least once before the oral examination.
Didactic methods

The course offers mainly frontal lectures, but with moments of participatory learning, as students may, on a voluntary basis, present and discuss in class and in Swedish one of the works included in the syllabus. If a student presents a work in class, she/he will not have to prepare it again for the examination. Text will be mainly used in original version in class. Swedish will be the language normally used in teaching and in class intercourse. The professor will guide the students in reading and understanding the excerpts in Norwegian and Danish.
More information

If you have questions or need further explanations, please write to Booking time with an e-mail is recommended if you want to meet the professor. Student who cannot attend the course must contact the teacher in order to discuss the syllabus with the supplementary reading.

This subject deals with topics related to the macro-area "Poverty and inequalities" and contributes to the achievement of one or more goals of U. N. Agenda for Sustainable Development

Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 10/05/2022