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.
The course implies some pre-requisites that students may not have acquired during their high-school years, such as, for example, the knowledge of literary macro-genres and their specific articulations, or historical knowledge related to the periods in which the literary texts included in the syllabus were produced. To allow students to acquire this knowledge, the official course will be preceded by a seminar during which they will be introduced to aspects of literary theory and criticism preliminary to the study of the authors and to the close-reading of the primary texts that will be examined in class.
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"; a choice of Romantic poets and poetesses; Wilde, "The Picture of Dorian Gray"; Stevenso, "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and MrHyde"; Virginia Woolf, "Orlando"; and Angela Carter, "The Bloody Chamber".
The extended, detailed syllabus will be provided at the beginning of the course.
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 mostly have a lecture-format, although students will be constantly encouraged to participate in the discussion. 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 will consist of a partial written exam to be taken after the end of the course (ONLY ONE SESSION AVAILABLE FOR THE WHOLE ACADEMIC YEAR) and an oral part which, if students pass the written exam, they can take in one of the following exam sessions, yet always within 1 calendar year from the written test. If a student does not pass the written test or (due to impediments to prove by justification) could not take it, he / she will take the exam according to the 'traditional' method, that is an oral examination only.
The written part, of 20 minutes, will consist of 15 multiple-choice questions on the exam program to which the maximum score of 30/30 will be assigned. Students pass the test if they get at least 18/30. The final mark of the whole exam will take the result of the test into consdieration (though not mathematically). Students who obtain a result from 18 to 20 will not be able to get the highest mark of 30/30 for the whole exam.
The oral exam, partly in Italian and partly in English, will take place as follows, according to whether the student passes the written test or not:
1) ORAL EXAMINATION FOR THOSE WHO PASS THE WRITTEN PARTIAL TEST: by the end of the course the professor will provide students with a list of 10 questions on the topics of the course; the students will have to prepare answers to these questions, and in the oral test they will choose to discuss in English (about 4 minutes) one of the answers; the second question in Italian will concern another of the aforementioned questions, but this time chosen by the professor (this part of the exam will last around 5 minutes).
2) EXAMINATION FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT PASS THE WRITTEN TEST OR CANNOT TAKE IT FOR IMPEDIMENTS TO BE JUSTIFIED: 1. for 5 minutes the student will choose and discuss a topic in English, on a specific aspect of the syllabus (analysis of a short text, comparison between passages of the same or more texts, etc.). 2. at least a couple of questions in Italian on texts and / or historical-literary contexts included in the syllabus. In this case, students cannot refer to the list of 10 questions provided by the teacher.
What will be evaluated above all in the oral test is the ability to develop a series of observations, to coordinate them with each other and to relate them to what has been learned about the context of reference (the author, the period and so on). 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.