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IT323 - Magic & Marvels in Renaissance Italy

  • Module code: IT323
  • Module name: Magic & Marvels in Renaissance Italy
  • Department: School of Modern Languages and Cultures
  • Credit: 15

Content and teaching | Assessment | Availability

Module content and teaching

Principal aims

This module aims to introduce students to some wide-ranging themes related to the nature of humanity in Renaissance Italy, in relation both to itself and to the supra-human beings described by religion and literature in Italy during the period 1350-1550. Topics to be studied will include: the evolution of Christian attitudes towards intermediary beings such as angels and demons; the debates surrounding the access to ‘irrational’ forms of knowledge such as magic, astrology, demonology and prophecy; and the relationship between science and religion, elite and popular forms of belief, as well as the role of women in the development of prophetic movements.

Principal learning outcomes

"Its particular objectives are for students to: (a) understand the principal debates that shaped Italian religious culture, as well as their historical and ideological context; (b) engage critically with some of the stranger and more unfamiliar features of Renaissance Italian culture and reflect upon the pertinence of some modern assumptions applied to Renaissance thought; (c) develop the ability to engage in textual analysis of Renaissance texts, drawing upon the insights of other disciplines such as history, art history, and philosophy. "

Timetabled teaching activities

Weekly lecture and seminar

Departmental link

Module assessment

Assessment group Assessment name Percentage
15 CATS (Module code: IT323-15)
A (Assessed work only) 4000-4500 word essay 100%
C (Assessed/examined work) 2000-2500 word essay 50%
  1 hour examination (Summer) 50%

Module availability

This module is available on the following courses:



Optional Core


  • Undergraduate Politics, International Studies and Italian (M165) - Year 2
  • Undergraduate Italian with Film Studies (R3W5) - Year 2
  • Undergraduate Italian with Film Studies (R3W5) - Year 3
  • Undergraduate Italian with Film Studies (R3W5) - Year 4
  • Undergraduate Italian and European Literature (RQ32) - Year 4