ENGLISH LITERATURE I
Learning outcomes of the course unit
Apart from allowing students to acquire the basic knowledge necessary to confront any literary text in terms of genre and socio-cultural contextualisation, the course aims at developing their sensitivity to literariness and to provide them with the tools to examine texts in the original language. It also aims at giving them the instruments to acquire information concerning specific authors and texts, aesthetic theories and cultural issues, always in relation to gender -- the focus of the entire course. At the end of the course they should hold the necessary skills and competences to analyse English literary texts from a critical perspective, as well as to identify the relationships between texts and contexts. Another important aim of the course is to provide students with the critical and linguistic tools apt to develop the communicative skills (both in Italian and in English) which are necessary to examine and comment upon any literary text autonomously.
Course contents summary
The course concerns the history of English literature from Shakespeare to nowadays, following a thematic path centred on gender issues and the representation of male and female figures/ images/ aspects in a selection of literary texts. Authors and texts will be contextualised, and the works will be analysed focusing on both their formal and thematic features. In the first part of the course (about 10 hours) students will examine a selection of authors and texts from the Elizabethan age to the late 18th century, in relation to the relevant historical and cultural context in which the selected works were produced. The second part (the remaining 20 hours) will deal with authors and texts from the Romantic period to today. The authors and primary texts analysed in class will include: William Shakespeare, "Macbeth"; alcune poesie del Romanticismo; Christina Rossetti, "Goblin Market"; Virginia Woolf, "Orlando"; Angela Carter, "The Bloody Chamber" and Caryl Churchill, "Top Girls".
Compulsory reference texts are: L. M. Crisafulli e K. Elam (eds), "Manuale di letteratura e cultura inglese", and "The Norton Anthology of English Literature" (here students must read all the introductions to the periods and authors included in the syllabus). The detailed syllabus will be available on the online platform of the university (Elly) before the beginning of the course. On the same platform students will find all the materials useful to the preparation of the exam (articles and essays on specific authors and themes; the slides used during the lessons; and further materials for in-depth analyses of primary texts that are not examined in detail in the reference books).
The course consists of teaching units which aim at guiding students in their close reading of literary texts, and providing them with examples of how to make use of secondary texts in support of their study. Classes will have both a lecture- and seminar-format, according to the topics tackled in each class. All the materials used in class will be available in the online platform of the university (Elly). To the class work students will have to add their own individual homework, in particular to read full texts in the original language which can only be examined through extracts during the lectures.
Assessment methods and criteria
The exam consists of a preliminary written test and an oral part.
The 45-minute written test will be mandatory to the oral exam (those students who will not pass the written test will not be able to sit the oral examination). The test will consist of 30 multiple-choice questions. The overall highest mark assigned to the test will be 30/30 (1 point for each question).
The oral examination, in part in Italian and in part in English, will consist of two parts:
1. 5-minute presentation in English of a topic chosen by the student (analysis of a short text, comparison between various texts, etc.). This part aims at evaluating the student’s capacity of linking texts and context, as well as to use English for literary commentaries and analyses.
2. questions to be answered in Italian or in English on specific texts included in the syllabus, again to be contextualisted historically and culturally.
A fail is attributed to an oral examination revealing: a serious lack of knowledge in relation to the contents of the course; the inability on the part of the student to express himself/herself adequately in Italian; a total inability to interpret the literary text in the light of assigned secondary sources. Deemed sufficient (18-23 / 30) is an examination in which the student shows to have learned the minimum and essential contents of the course, an ability to express himself/herself in an Italian appropriate to the topic presented; a sufficient capacity to decode the literary text through the use of assigned secondary materials. The student gets an average rating (24-27 / 30) if he/she proves to have more than a sufficient level (24-25/30) or a good level (26-27/30) in the evaluation indicators listed above. He/she is awarded a very good or excellent score (from 28/30 to 30/30 cum laude) if he/she fully meets the requirements expressed by the indicators listed above.