L-FIL-LET/09 - 6 CFU - 1° Semester

Teaching Staff


Learning Objectives

The course aims to introduce students to the basic problems of philology as a science of texts and to introduce the basic knowledge of medieval Romance languages ​​and literatures in a comparative perspective (Old French, Provençal, Spanish, Medieval Italian). The comprehension of the original connections between Latin and Romance languages and of the relationships of Romance languages ​​among them, is fundamental for the acquisition of a deep knowledge, both instrumental and historical-critical, of the Italian language, prescripted by secondary school teaching programs. The course aims also to transmit some basic philological skills: to interpret simple handwritten writings, to produce conjectures, to use the most common consultation tools.

At the end of the course the student will have a basic knowledge of medieval Romance literature genres and themes (e.g. the fundamental texts of the medieval epic tradition, the theme of the quest of the Holy Grail, etc.), and shall develop an adequate idea of ​​its 'otherness' compared to the literatures of other ages (anonymity, variance of the text, situationality, orality, etc.); he/she will also have a basic knowledge of medieval Romance languages and their main features, from their origins to nowadays (for example, students will learn the language d’oïl from the language d’oc, of Catalan from Castilian, etc.), of their morphological characteristics (for example, it will have to know how the conditional mode develops from the Latin or how the system of the novels articles evolves from the Latin demonstrations). The student must also possess essential notions about the position of Italian among Romance languages ​​and their diffusion in Europe and in the world, as well as elementary knowledge of textual philology, such as the concept of witness, textual tradition, critical edition, variants, critical apparatus . Finally, he must possess the basic knowledge of the tools of the discipline (historical grammars, dictionaries, collections of texts, databases, etc.), and the ability to manage them at a basic level, as well as the basic ability to read and interpret the sources (through the reading of ancient manuscripts and critical editions) and to use them in the analysis of texts.

Course Structure

Lectures, close readings.


Should teaching be carried out in mixed mode or remotely, it may be necessary to introduce changes with respect to previous statements, in line with the programme planned and outlined in the syllabus.

Learning assessment may also be carried out on line, should the conditions require it.

Detailed Course Content

Classical Latin and Vulgar Latin; the 'birth' and the classification of the Romance languages; standard language and dialects; the "new Romània"; Romance languages (phonetics, morphology, syntax, lexicon), contacts between them (substratum, superstrate, adstrate, loans); Romance languages today; medieval literature; medieval literary genres (lyric, epic, novel) ; medieval characters; the persistence of some Medieval texts and characters in world literatures; elements of text criticism; the manuscript tradition; archetype, original, manuscripts; critical edition, variants, critical apparatus.

Medieval literary texts will be read in Italian translation, so that prior knowledge of the ancient Romance languages is not required. The teacher will give specific instructions for those texts that will be read in original. Class attendance is strongly recommended.

Textbook Information

1. General framework of lRomance anguages and literature:

Pietro G. Beltrami - La filologia romanza. Profilo linguistica e letterario, Il Mulino, Bologna 2017 (3 CFU)


2. Philology, history, society:

Stefano Rapisarda, La Filologia al servizio delle Nazioni. Storia, crisi e prospettive della Filologia romanza, Bruno Mondadori, Milano 2018 (2 CFU)


3. The most spoken Romance language in the world:

Stefano Rapisarda, La lingua spagnola nel mondo. Una storia globale, Carocci, Roma 2021 (1 CFU)


Please remember that in compliance with art 171 L22.04.1941, n. 633 and its amendments, it is illegal to copy entire books or journals, only 15% of their content can be copied.

For further information on sanctions and regulations concerning photocopying please refer to the regulations on copyright (Linee Guida sulla Gestione dei Diritti d’Autore) provided by AIDRO - Associazione Italiana per i Diritti di Riproduzione delle opere dell’ingegno (the Italian Association on Copyright).

All the books listed in the programs can be consulted in the Library.

Open in PDF format Versione in italiano