The Project

Four Universities for an International Observatory on Italian Literature and its School

Our purpose

An international look at Italian Literature

Where we want to get

The main objective of the project is to observe contemporary Italian literature from an international perspective, with particular attention to its dissemination, reception and translation. Such an international look at Italian literature will have the enormous advantage of allowing a critical comparison between different perceptions of Italian literature, different ideas, norms and academic, literary and generally cultural values.

The project therefore represents a fundamental step towards the establishment of an International Observatory on Contemporary Italian Literature and its School, a truly multilingual and interconnected initiative that will engage the four partner universities in the future involvement of other universities within and outside the UNA Europa Consortium.

The Contemporary Literary Scene

Multiple challenges for European literatures

The redefinition of the social role of modern literatures

The New Millennium is undergoing a series of important transformations that have a profound impact on the different ways of approaching literature: the uneven relationship with national and European cultural traditions; the transmediality of the literary text in the age of new media; the negotiation between consolidated literary canons and new narrative demands (linked to issues of gender, multilingualism, local and ethnic identities, new social phenomena); the publishing market in the late capitalist era; cultural policies on the dissemination and translation of literary works.


Since the beginning of the millennium, European literatures have found themselves facing the multiple challenges imposed by a globalised, multimedia and multicultural society, pushing them to redefine their social role, to address pressing issues of contemporary society and to experiment with new aesthetic forms. In this context, Italian literature proves to be a very interesting case to analyse for its consistent search for a new balance between a great tradition, from its medieval roots to the great modern authors, and the new aesthetic frontiers (on which the recent critical-literary debate focuses).

Italian literature is among the most studied in the world, but it surprisingly remains under the spell of a strongly codified and quite exclusive twentieth-century canon (e.g. Calvino, Gadda, Ginzburg, Levi, Manganelli, Morante, Pasolini) that does not reflect the latest narrative trends except for the rare international successes (the case, for example, of Camilleri, Ferrante and Saviano).

Meetings and workshops

A truly multilingual and interconnected initiative

The program

We will organise a series of seminar meetings, both in presence and online, by established scholars and early career researchers from the four partner departments of the Universities of Bologna, Edinburgh, Leuven and Madrid.

An online meeting in April will be followed by a two-day meeting in Bologna (May 2022), which will initiate discussion on both research methods and network formats.

This will be followed by a three-day meeting in Madrid (September 2022) with the specific aim of defining the programme of the first ILIO School and further testing networking concepts and formats through the active involvement of PhD students.

Two online seminars (one day each) will also be organised between the Bologna and Madrid meetings. These will be open to a wider audience and will benefit from the involvement of experts from all over Europe.

The results emerging from this first phase of the network will lead to the pilot edition of the ILIO School to be held in Bologna (summer 2023) as a consolidation phase of the network.