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Seminar Week 3

Seminar 1: Fratelli’, ‘Soldati’, ‘Veglia’


Main discussion:

What view of war does Ungaretti present? Is it an alternative view?
What other war poems do you know? (please bring one to the seminar with you).
How does the representation of war in Ungaretti’s poetry compare with other war poetry?

Specific questions:

1. Read ‘Fratelli’ and discuss in groups using the following categories:

  • Resonances and word associations
  • Paradoxes and contradictions
  • Metaphor and imagery
  • Form and style (including layout on page, structure, repetition)
  • Alliteration / assonance
  • How does the poem relate to wider themes of Ungaretti’s work? (national identity, belonging, war)

 2. Read ‘Soldati’

  • What image is repeated in this poem?
  • What associations derive from the words ‘autunno’ and ‘foglie’?
  • Rewrite the poem in Italian and English using a more conventional word order. What effect does the word order create?
  • How does the structure of the poem contribute to its meaning?

3. Read ‘Veglia’

  • Does ‘Veglia’ provide a positive or negative view of war? (divide into two groups)
  • What effect is created by the phrase ‘intera nottata’?
  • Discuss the resonances of lines 5-7.
  • Comment on the type of language used in the poem.
  • How is the poem structured? How does each line begin?