20710460 - Literature and Forms

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Mutuazione: 20710460 Literature and Forms in Lingue e letterature per la didattica e la traduzione LM-37 AMBROSINI RICCARDO


Title: “Women ‘Martyrs’: Rethinking Conrad Through His Female Figures”


Conrad’s female figures are not simply characters, they are not bodies, embodiments of a theme, certainly they are not manifestations of their author’s contorted relationship with sex, as mainstream Conrad criticism has argued now for sixty years. They are a presence, in his texts, that lends a dramatic, theatrical dimension to the flow of words composing the narrative. Through them, the author gave representation to his tragic vision of the human condition – which is the ultimate meaning of his art. Through a close-reading of three central novels in his opus, an attempt will be made to show that while the female characters are marginalized in the plots of Conrad’s novels, the authorial manipulation of their narrative structures from Heart of Darkness onwards appears to create a «tragic scene» in which a woman figures prominently. This way, the tracing of a particular theme will become in fact an opportunity to examine a unique experimentation in forms and narrative structure.

During the course the instructor will engage students in a seminar activity on one of the masterpieces of 20th-century English poetry , T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets.

Core Documentation


Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent
Joseph Conrad, Chance
Joseph Conrad, Victory


Richard Ambrosini, Le storie di Conrad. Biografia intellettuale di un romanziere, Carocci, 2019

Type of delivery of the course

Lectures and seminars

Type of evaluation

A two-hour written test, followed by a conversation.