ENGLISH LITERATURE II
Learning outcomes of the course unit
The course aims to provide students with solid general knowledge on the major literary events from Shakespeare to nowadays, 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 methodologies for the analysis and interpretation of specific texts.
During the course, the student learns to
• know the main authors, works, movements and aesthetic ideas from the 17th century to today, as well as the different historical, political, cultural and artistic phenomena proper to these centuries;
• understand and analyze complex literary and dramatic texts both in terms of their formal characteristics and their thematic and ideological contents;
• explore in an independent and original way the themes treated in the course, using print and digital bibliographic tools;
• make informed and motivated judgments about literary and cultural phenomena, based on a careful decoding of textual evidence;
• formulate, communicate and discuss contents, analyses and judgments by using the linguistic register appropriate to the specific topic, that is to say, appropriate to the lexicon of literary studies;
• formulate and communicate content and analysis - in English - using a linguistic register appropriate to the subject, and in line with the level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference in the line with second-year “Lingua e Traduzione” courses.
Course contents summary
The course accompanies students along a path through British literature from Shakespeare to today focusing on a selection of authors and texts that deal with the theme of “other” – either from or within oneself – from various historical and cultural perspectives. The course structure reflects the chronological sequence of the works analysed, each examined (in the original language and mostly through anthological samples) in its structural, stylistic and thematic aspects, always in relation to the historical and aesthetic context in which it was produced, to its genre (poetic, narrative or theatrical), as well as to specific literary and cultural phenomena that developed from the Elizabethan age to the present day. Starting from Shakespeare, through Romantic poetry and the Victorian novel up to the postcolonial discourse, students will be guided along a path of readings allowing them to understand the historical-cultural dynamics and the ideological assets underlying the ever-present differentiation between the self and the other. After studying works representative of seventeenth-century colonialism, they will be introduced to texts essential to the understanding of the discourses of Orientalism, exoticism and imperialism dominating throughout the nineteenth century. Finally, the reading of contemporary works will allow them to analyse similarities and differences in the representation of “other” after the twentieth-century processes of decolonization, which led to phenomena such as migratory flows and multiculturalism.
For cultural and literary history: L. M. Crisafulli e K. Elam (a cura di) Manuale di letteratura e cultura inglese, Bologna: BUP, 2009 e The Norton Anthology of English Literature, vol. I e vol. II. Here the students must read all the introductions to the periods and to the authors included in the syllabus. The specific selection of texts will be indicated in the definitive syllabus published in the online platform of the university (elly). In this website the students will also find the critical secondary materials (essays and articles) in support of the reading of the primary texts.
The course is organized through lectures held prevalently in English. In class, the lecturer introduces the main historical and cultural contexts, the authors and the texts, using both the compulsory texts indicated in the syllabus and additional visual or textual materials made available on the University’s online platform (Elly). Moreover, suggestions for individual study will be provided, in order to boost the student’s autonomy.
Assessment methods and criteria
The assessment of knowledge and skills occurs by means of an oral examination in English.
In order to take the examination, the student must have passed the English Literature I exam.
During the oral exam, the student is asked to answer questions in English relating to the contents of the course, individual readings and any further studies independently carried out.
In addition, the student is required to present a topic out of his/her choice, selected from among those examined during the course, or chosen by the student independently and agreed on with the teacher.
The knowledge and skills to be assessed during the oral examination are:
• an oral proficiency in Italian at an advanced level (i.e. the successful acquisition of the appropriate register and the specific language of literary studies) and oral proficiency in English corresponding to B2 level;
• knowledge of texts, authors, and ideological contexts and formal issues of the literary periods in question;
• an appropriate level in the ability to expand autonomously on certain contents;
The oral examination is designed to assess knowledge, the ability for independent and original reworking of such knowledge, as well as the ability to make connections, comparisons and contrasts.
A fail is determined by the lack, demonstrated by students during the oral examination, of understanding of the minimum and essential contents of the course, the inability to express themselves adequately on the subject in English at B2 level, the lack of autonomous preparation, and the inability to solve problems related to information retrieval and the decoding of texts. A pass (18-23/30) is awarded to those students who show that they have learned the minimum and essential contents of the course, that they have acquired an ability to discuss literary topics appropriately in English, with a sufficient competence in relation to the characteristics of the B2 level, that they have achieved a sufficient degree of self-preparation and a sufficient capacity of textual analysis. Middle-range scores (24-27/30) are assigned to the student who produces evidence of a more than sufficient level (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.