ENGLISH LITERATURE III
Learning outcomes of the course unit
The course aims to provide students with a solid general knowledge relating to the major literary events of the twentieth century, accompanied by notions that will allow them to contextualize literary figures and texts within a complex series of historical and cultural events, as well as interpretative methodologies for the analysis of specific cultural manifestations of contemporaneity.
During the course, the student learns to
. know the main authors, works, movements and aesthetic ideas of twentieth-century British literature, as well as the historical, political, cultural and artistic contexts in which these phenomena are situated;
. understand and analyze complex literary and dramatic texts both in terms of their formal and thematic-ideological characteristics;
. independently retrieve and collect additional information on the topics discussed during the course by using both print and digital resources;
. make informed and motivated judgments about complex literary and cultural phenomena based on a careful decoding of the text;
. communicate and discuss content, analysis and opinions using a linguistic register appropriate to the subject and the lexicon of literary studies (C1 Level);
. analyze texts with complex layers of meaning by offering documented analyses and justifying their own interpretations on the basis of a thorough finding and careful assessment of textual data.
Course contents summary
The course focuses on the study of the major authors, works and literary movements in twentieth-century British literature and, in particular, the crucial cultural, literary and artistic phenomena of Modernism and Postmodernism, as well as developments in the literatures of English-speaking postcolonial cultures. The course structure follows the chronological development of these phenomena. In the first part, it examines the major literary events in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and especially the oscillation between continuations of tradition and renewal, in authors such as Thomas Hardy, Joseph Conrad and A.E. Housman. The second part of the course examines Modernist experimentalism within the production of figures such as James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot, W. H. Auden and the Thirties’ poets. The last part of the course analyzes the major innovations of the decades after the Second World War, the theatrical renewal carried out by Samuel Beckett, John Osborne and Harold Pinter, the emergence of Postmodernity and Postcoloniality in the output of authors including A.S. Byatt, Caryl Churchill, Jeanette Winterson, John Fowles, Tom Stoppard, Seamus Heaney, Tony Harrison, Graham Swift or Salman Rushdie. During the classes, the tutor introduces the historical and aesthetic context and presents the analyses of selected texts (in anthological form and in the original language) from a structural, stylistic and thematic-ideological point of view. Students are also required to read and study a novel and two dramatic texts, in integral form, to be chosen from those listed in the syllabus drawn up by the tutor at the end of the course and made available on the website of the 'Area di Lingue e Letterature Straniere’ and in printed form on the premises of the Area itself.
The course texts are: "Norton Anthology of Literature Inglese" (8th edition) (New York: WW Norton), especially with regard to the anthological selections to be analyzed in class, and "Manuale di letteratura e cultura inglese," a c. di L.M. Crisafulli e K. Elam (Bologna: Bononia University Press) for literary and cultural history. Additional references are provided during the course and are regularly listed in the syllabus.
During the classes, held in English, the tutor introduces the main elements of the historical and cultural context, and the profiles of authors and texts, with reference to the course bibliography and additional visual or textual materials made available on the University’s LEA platform. The teacher also provides suggestions for individual study in order to stimulate the student to develop a more original and independent approach to the analysis of the issues and problems raised during the course. The course may also include an in-depth seminar about the main literary, cultural and artistic movements in twentieth-century Britain.
Assessment methods and criteria
The assessment of knowledge and skills is by way of an oral exam in English.
In order to sit the examination, the student must have previously passed the exam for Letteratura Inglese II.
The knowledge and skills to be assessed during the exam are:
. an oral proficiency in the English language corresponding to C1 level, as well as, more specifically, the successful acquisition of the appropriate register and specific terminology of literary studies;
. knowledge of texts, authors, ideological contexts and formal issues of the literary period in question;
. an appropriate level in the ability to study independently, to rework personally the contents learned during the course, to suggest individual insights that go beyond the topics covered in the course, to solve problems related to information retrieval and the decoding of complex texts, and to make independent judgments.
In order to verify the achievement of such knowledge and skills, questions are designed to assess the knowledge, the ability of independent and original reworking of such knowledge, and the ability to make connections, comparisons and contrasts.
A fail is determined by the lack, demonstrated by the student during the oral examination, of an understanding of the minimum content of the course, the inability to express themselves adequately on the subject in English (C1 level), by a lack of autonomous preparation and the inability to solve problems related to information retrieval and the decoding of complex texts, as well as the formulation of independent judgment. A pass (18-23/30) is determined by the student’s demonstration that s/he has acquired the minimum and essential contents of the course, the ability to communicate appropriately the topic in English at a level which presents an acceptable number of C1 characteristics, a sufficient level of autonomous preparation, an acceptable degree of skill in solving problems related to information retrieval and the decoding of complex texts, as well as an acceptable ability to formulate of independent judgment. Middle-range scores (24-27/30) are assigned to the student who demonstrates a level more than sufficient (24-25/30) or a good level (26-27/30) in the evaluation indicators listed above. Higher scores (from 28/30 to 30/30 cum laude) are awarded on the basis of the student’s demonstration of a very good or excellent level in the evaluation indicators listed above.