Learning outcomes of the course unit
The course aims to provide students with advanced knowledge of the main literary manifestations of English and British literature, as well as relevant and updated theoretical and methodological tools so as to enable them to develop research and analytical skills applicable to the complex manifestations of literature and culture.
During the course, students learn:
. a series of theoretical issues, authors, works, movements and aesthetic ideas central to English and British literature, with particular attention to the period from the Renaiisance to the present, with the support of an updated critical bibliography;
. how to contextualize and analyze complex texts in English both from the formal and from a thematic-ideological point of view;
. how to structure research and analysis projects independently by using traditional and digital bibliographical resources made available by the Library of the Area di Lingue e Letterature Straniere, as well as free-access resources available online;
. how to make informed and motivated judgments about complex literary and cultural phenomena based on a careful decoding of the text;
. how to communicate and discuss content, analysis and judgments in English, using a linguistic register appropriate to the subject and adapted to the lexis of literary studies, and corresponding to the appropriate level of proficiency for students of the second year of the Laurea Magistrale;
. how to apply autonomously the skills developed during the course also in the context of non-literary texts presenting complex layers of meaning; offer well-documented analyses; and justify their own interpretations by preliminary research and a careful examination of textual data.
Course contents summary
The course offers students the opportunity of exploring a variety of formal and thematic aspects characterizing English and British literature from the Middle Ages to the contemporary period, with special attention to the literary expressions of the period between the Renaissance and the twenty-first century. The course is structured through a combination of literary-historical content and literary theory. In the first area, students are invited to examine issues related to developments in the history of English and British literature in thematic and chronological perspectives in order to explore the ways in which literary representation and problematization of reality has changed over time. Students examine texts in the original language (also in the form of excerpts especially in the case of extended works). These are analyzed in terms of historical context and aesthetic features, as well as from the point of view of their structural, stylistic, thematic and ideological characteristics. In addition, students are required to read and study integrally a selection of works among those listed in the syllabus (the study of at least one play by William Shakespeare is compulsory). The course also examines theoretical contents which are essential to provide students with solid foundations to analyze texts and literary phenomena in light of the most recent reflections on the specific mechanisms of literary communication. The syllabus, drawn up by the teacher at the conclusion of the course , is available both on the website of the ALEF Department, Area of Foreign Languages and Literatures , and in printed form in the appointed office at the Area itself.
General reference texts for the course are: Andrew Sanders, "The Short Oxford History of Literature Inglese" (Oxford University Press), and the relevant volumes of the “Oxford English Literary History” and “Cambridge History of English Literature”. Additional references are provided during the course and are regularly listed in the syllabus.
During the lectures the teacher introduces the main elements of the historical and cultural context and the profiles of authors and texts, using both the course bibliography and further textual or visual materials available for students in the Library of the Area di Lingue e Letterature Straniere, such as printed and digital materials (databases), as well as materials available online at sites such as www.archive.org and Google Books. Accordingly, students will be invited to develop individual study and research projects, encouraging them to apply original approaches to and create independent analyses of the issues and problems raised by the teacher during the course. The course is also supported by a seminar about a specific aspect of British literature in the twentieth and twenty-first century, focusing particularly on the textual analysis of a work related to the topics covered in the course.
Assessment methods and criteria
Assessment of knowledge and skills is by oral exam in English. The questions during the exam centre on the materials and problems discussed during the lectures and seminar, as well as on the texts and materials independently examined by the student. Moreover, in the perspective of personalized preparation, the student may offer an oral presentation on a topic of his/her choice (previously agreed with the teacher) related to the questions, issues, texts and authors examined in the course.
The knowledge and skills to be assessed in the exam are:
. oral proficiency in English corresponding to the level expected of students of the II year of the Laurea Magistrale and full competence in the specific terminology of literary studies;
. knowledge of the texts, authors, ideological contexts and formal issues examined during the course;
. the ability to study independently, to rework course content in an original way, to build personalized and original study projects, to carry out research using print and digital resources, to solve problems related to the decoding of complex texts from different historical and cultural periods, and to make autonomous judgments and communicate content, analysis and judgments in well-argumented,competent and convincing ways both to non-specialists and non-specialists.
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 oneself in English at the level of proficiency expected of students of the II year of the Laurea Magistrale, by a lack of autonomous preparation, the inability to solve problems related to information retrieval and the decoding of complex texts, as well as an inability to make independent judgments and communicate content, analysis and judgments in well-argumented,competent and convincing ways both to non-specialists and non-specialists. A pass (18-23/30) is determined by the demonstration on the part of the student of having learned the fundamental and minimum contents of the course, the ability to express oneself at a level of in English which, despite simplified communicative strategies, presents some characteristics of the level of proficiency expected of students of the II year of the Laurea Magistrale, an adequate level of autonomous preparation and ability to solve problems related to information retrieval and the decoding of complex texts, as well as an acceptable level of ability in making independent judgments and communicating content, analysis and judgments in well-argumented,competent and convincing ways both to non-specialists and non-specialists. Middle-range scores (24-27/30) are assigned to the student who produces evidence of a more than sufficient level (24-25/30) or 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.