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HomePathos. Forms and fortunes of literary emotions

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Published on Monday, June 24, 2019


The goal of this summer school is to explore the role of emotions in literature, namely with respect to the excess of pathos in different forms and times. Pathos has been a fundamental aspect of literature in every epoch. Great poetry has always foregrounded its ability to represent feelings, evoke intense and vivid moods, and elicit readers’ emotions and empathy. On the other hand, the novel – the genre dominating literary modernity – has been o!en accused of indulging in sentimental excess, giving too much space to melodramatic expression. Indeed, in Western cultures, there is a widespread suspicion towards pathos, which has o!en been identified as a shortcoming of literature. Great books – according to a common implicit assumption – can prompt reflection and laughter, but not tears: pathos only concerns lowbrow production. The summer school is an opportunity to engage in a reflection on issues related to pathos in literature in the last few centuries. Different perspectives will be taken into account: specific literary works, reader response theory, cognitive narratology, transmedia adaptation, and publishing history.



August 27-30th, 2019. Monopoli, Italy.

Here is the full program: http://bit.ly/ENTbro

Plenary talks by Karin Kukkonen, Françoise Lavocat and Paolo Giovannetti.

We will work on emotions in different literary traditions through various perspectives and methods. Some of the topics and authors covered are: Elena Ferrante, Elsa Morante, sentimentalism, cognitive narratology, fact/fiction, and digital literary studies.

The Summer School is open to anybody interested in the topic, with credits available for graduate students.

Three plenary lectures

  • Françoise Lavocat (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle) Facts and fiction: pathos as a criterion
  • Karin Kukkonen (University of Oslo) How many ways can this story go? Emotions, Plots and Sentiment Analysis
  • Paolo Giovannetti (IULM University, Milan) Social functions of female pathos in Italian Romanticism

Five seminars

Stefania Sini (University of Eastern Piedmont) and Antonio Sotgiu (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle) Neither tragic nor comic: the resurgence of pathos in Auerbach and Bakhtin

Elisa Gambaro (University of Milan) Moving to tears. Ferrante’s My brilliant friend from Kunstlerroman to screen melodrama

Cinzia Scarpino (University of Turin) The melodramatic imagination of 1930’s American bestsellers in the Mondadori catalogue

Federico Pianzola (University of Milan-Bicocca) Digital methods for analysing text and readers’ emotions

Mariarosa Loddo (University of Eastern Piedmont)

The uses of literature: empathy and other responses to narrative

Evening event

Success and tears. Conversation with Angela Borghesi on Elsa Morante’s History


Federico Pianzola (University of Milan-Bicocca)

Mariarosa Loddo (University of Eastern Piedmont)

Antonio Sotgiu (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle)

Scientific committee

  • Mario Barenghi (University of Milan-Bicocca)
  • Luigi Battezzato (University of Eastern Piedmont)
  • Angela Borghesi (University of Milan-Bicocca)
  • Stefania Sini (University of Eastern Piedmont)

Target audience

Graduate students, PhDs, Postdocs


2 ECTS, attestato per attività di aggiornamento docenti


“Prospero Rendella” public library (seaside) Monopoli (Bari), Italy

Registration fee

Registration is open until June, 30th: http://bit.ly/ent2019

€ 160 (travels, meals, and accommodation not included). Scholarships available.

Participants will have access to all seminars; they will write a paper for a single seminar of their choice.

More information about required readings will be given upon confirmation of participation.

Seminars consists of two sessions: one in which the researcher will introduce the topic and discuss it with all participants;

a!er that, the students will have one day and a half to revise their paper and present it for discussion.

The program is organised to allow every participant to attend all lectures and seminars, and to give more value to the interaction between different theoretical perspectives.


  • Monopoli, Italian Republic


  • Sunday, June 30, 2019

Attached files


  • literature, emotions, narratology, digital humanities, narrative, cognitive literary studies, literary critics, literary theory, cognitive poetics, literary studies, fiction


  • Federico Pianzola
    courriel : federico [dot] pianzola [at] unimib [dot] it

Information source

  • Federico Pianzola
    courriel : federico [dot] pianzola [at] unimib [dot] it


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Pathos. Forms and fortunes of literary emotions », Summer School, Calenda, Published on Monday, June 24, 2019, https://doi.org/10.58079/133o

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