Early Modern History and Methodology of Historical Research - PARTE I (2019/2020)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Marco Bellabarba
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
II semestre - sede TN dal Feb 17, 2020 al May 29, 2020.

To show the organization of the course that includes this module, follow this link * Course organization

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

Between history and literature: crisis and demise of the Habsburg Empire..

The course aims to:
- explore the complex and most debated relation between history and literature;
- reflect on the various linguistic tools available to the historian in order to recreate the past;
- reflect on the mechanism of the individual and collective memory.

After attending the course and after reading the reference bibliography, the students will be able to:

- recognize the influences that different literary genres have had, between the Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries, on historical narrative;
- draw a picture of the transformations that occurred in the relation between literary and historical writing;
- identify the social, political, and cultural factors that affected this relation;
- know the most important theories in the field study about individual and collective memory;
- engage in the analysis of a literary text according to a historical perspective;
- Develop the ability to contextualise a literary text.


At the end of the First World War, many historians, but above all novelists, journalists, politicians, soldiers, who had lived in the territories of the Habsburg Empire, described the last years of life of a state that no longer existed. This enormous literary production created a representation of the Habsburg empire that was very successful, but that at same time, transformed its history into a myth. The aim of the course is to understand how and why this happened.

- history and literature; an introduction on the models;
- historical novels and national narratives;
- politics and literature in the Habsburg empire of the late nineteenth century
- the reforms of the second half of the nineteenth century and the search for a "scientific" history
- academic history and popular history in the Habsburg empire between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries;
- Before the Great War: the original forms of myth;
- the Great War tragedy and its story: novels, poems, diaries and memoirs.
- The post-war period and the genesis of the myth.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Magris Claudio Il mito absburgico nella letteratura austriaca moderna Einaudi 1976

Assessment methods and criteria

The exam will consist of: 1) a written essay of about 15-20 pages on a topic agreed upon with the professor. Papers must be submitted to the professor at least two weeks in advance of the oral exam, and in a form agreed upon with the professor during office hours (70%). 2) an oral section - based on knowledge of assigned readings (30%).

Compulsory text for attending students:

C. Magris, Il mito absburgico nella letteratura austriaca moderna, Torino, Einaudi (qualsiasi edizione).

Further readings will be given during the course to the attending students.
Attending students are pleased to read the following novels before the course starts:

J. Roth, La cripta dei cappuccini and La marcia di Radetzky
I. Andric, Il ponte sulla Drina.

The non attending students are expected to contact the professor.