Academic year
2023/2024 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
LT1240 (AF:460137 AR:253548)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Surnames Q-Z
Degree level
Bachelor's Degree Programme
Educational sector code
1st Semester
Course year
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The course is part of the “basic [di base]” educational activities of the BA program in Language, Civilization and Science of Language. Its objectives are (1) the study of the methodologies for a comparative analysis of literature, and (2) to help students develop the ability to situate a literary work in its historical context and a theoretical framework.
Knowledge and Understanding
(1) Knowledge and understanding of the methodologies for a comparative analysis of literature
(2) Knowledge and understanding of the main literary, artistic, and cultural phenomena of the countries in which the studied languages are spoken
(3) Knowledge and understanding of the historical and cultural evolutionary processes of the countries in which the studied languages are spoken

Applying Knowledge and Understanding
(1) Ability to situate a literary work in its context
(2) Ability to apply the methodologies for analysis to the society and culture that produced the literary work under scrutiny
(3) Ability to read a literary text and comment upon it with correct terminology and scientific methodology
(4) Ability to treat historical sources in a framework of correct critical contextualization, and in relation to different cultures in their specific historical developments
(5) Ability to start autonomously in-depth analyses of specific cases connected to the object of the thesis

Making Judgments
(1) Ability to develop intellectual independence with regard to the topics covered during classes

Communication Skills
(1) Ability to communicate orally and effectively the knowledge acquired while using the correct terminology
(2) Ability to interact with peers and the teacher in a critical and respectful way both in person and on the forum of the virtual classroom

Learning Skills
(1) Ability to navigate critically the required readings and the bibliography they provide
The course has no specific prerequisites.
Negative Empathy
Medea, Macbeth, St. Matthew’s executioner as painted by Caravaggio, Don Giovanni in Mozart’s opera, Stavrogin in Dostoevsky’s Demons, Humbert Humbert in Nabokov’s Lolita, the bloody, crucified bodies in Hermann Nitsch’s Theater of Orgies and Mysteries, Diabolik, the master thief, the scenes of violent submission in Mapplethorpe’s X Portfolio, the shattered glass sheets at the foot of the Tower of the Falling Pictures in Anselm Kiefer’s Seven Heavenly Palaces, Maximilien Aue in Jonathan Littell’s The Kindly Ones, Walter White in Breaking Bad, the children in Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon, the crazed, derelict figure of Arthur Fleck in Todd Phillips’s Joker: The history of the arts is full of characters, figures, performances, objects, compositions, and spaces that have a negative connotation or that evoke a primary violence; elements with which readers and spectators establish a specific type of empathetic relationship that is both ambivalent and destabilizing, inspiring attraction and repulsion all at once. We will call this relationship negative empathy and, by reading Euripides’s Medea, William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, we will consider it as a specific aesthetic experience that tests the limits of art consumers’ capacity to take an ethical stance and art’s potential to provoke moral reflection on the fate of collective life.
Euripide, Medea (431 a.C.), trad. it. e introduzione di Maria Grazia Ciani, commento di Davide Susanetti, Venezia, Marsilio, 1997.
William Shakespeare, Macbeth (1606-7), trad. it. Agostino Lombardo, in Id., Teatro completo di William Shakespeare, a cura di Giorgio Melchiori, vol. 4: Le tragedie, I Meridiani, Milano, Mondadori, 1976, pp. 837-1037.
Emily Brontë, Cime tempestose (1847), trad. it. Margherita Giacobino, Milano, Mondadori, 2016.

Stefano Ercolino e Massimo Fusillo. Empatia negativa. Il punto di vista del male, Milano, Bompiani, 2022.

For students who do not have the possibility to complete the preparation in the classroom by following the lessons, one of the following texts is required:
Massimo Fusillo, Estetica della letteratura. Bologna: Il Mulino, 2009.
Learning will be verified by means of an oral exam.

The oral exam will consist of two parts: the first part will ascertain the knowledge of the literary texts covered during classes; the second, instead, will verify the knowledge of the theoretical readings.
(1) Frontal lectures
(2) In-class and online discussion

This subject deals with topics related to the macro-area "Human capital, health, education" and contributes to the achievement of one or more goals of U. N. Agenda for Sustainable Development

Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 20/03/2023