Giocare con la letteratura
Alma Edizioni, Florence 2002
Reviewed by Paolo Torresan, Univeristy of Venice, Italy
The author has chosen a perfect title for the book Playing with Literature: it is an amazing game through wonderful pages of contemporary Italian writers.
At first, the student has to solve challenging games before reading a text - there are a lot of well-structured warm-up activities that make the reader into a detective, seeking for clues, or, better, a "tourist" of Italian as a FL, who can enjoy facing enthralling lexical activities or being absorbed by riddles about syntax.
The sacred aura which has invisibly surrounded literature for years here seems to have vanished: the text is not so far from the experience of the reader, who can play with it, even destroy it and rebuild it, as a magician does with natural elements.
Here is an exercise, translated into English, the aim of which is to introduce students to an extract of a tale by Dino Buzzati ("Incontro notturno" "Night Meeting"). Follow the instructions and you will be involved in the tricky game through which the author hopes to engage your interest:
Read the following reduced text.
Giorgio Duhamel went out with two friends.
It was a damp night.
In the street there was an old tramp.
Fill in the gaps with one of the phrases given below to include more of the original version
, shaky and completely alone
, cold and foggy
, late at night
Giorgio Duhamel went out with two friends, _______________.
It was a damp ______________ night.
In the street there was an old tramp ______________.
Fill in the gaps with one of the phrases given below to include more of the original version. Make all necessary changes.
# from a place
, with its lamps full of fate
lost fellow of
Giorgio Duhamel went out with two friends, at a late hour, ______________________.
It was a damp, cold and foggy night, ______________________.
In the street there was an _________________ old tramp, shaky and completely alone.
Fill in the gaps with one of the phrases given below to finally complete the original version. Make all the necessary changes.
Giorgio Duhamel went out with two friends, at a late hour, from a ___________ place.
It was a _________- damp, cold and foggy night, with its lamps full of fate.
In the __________ street there was a lost fellow of an old tramp, shaky and completely alone.
This ingenious exercise allows the learner to comprehend the text as it gradually builds up, instead of being stopped in his tracks by the really hard original text.
Playing with Literature is full of lively work of this kind and just as teachers of Italian as a foreign language have learnt loads from EFL maybe EFL teachers can also learn useful things devised for the teaching of other languages.