English Literature III [CInt] (2008/2009)

Course not running

Course code
Name of lecturer
Silvia Bigliazzi
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
I semestre dal Oct 1, 2008 al Jan 17, 2009.

Lesson timetable

I semestre
Day Time Type Place Note
Tuesday 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM lesson Lecture Hall T.8  
Wednesday 8:30 AM - 10:00 AM lesson Lecture Hall T.6  

Learning outcomes

The course offers an introduction to English Renaissance literature focusing on the topic of travelling and remapping the newly discovered (or imagined) world through travel reports or metaphors of voyages and distant countries in poems and plays. These heterogeneous but mutually implicating types of texts provide significant examples of the imaginary landscape of English Renaissance culture.


Maps of a new world: journeys, cartographic metaphors and fantastic sceneries of Renaissance England
By reading excerpts from travel reports by Renaissance adventurers, as well as poems built on metaphors of maps and travels, or based on the description of actual voyages (as is the case with John Donne’s poems and some of his verse letters), students will be presented with some examples of the imagined or actually known landscape of English Renaissance. The fantastic side of this topic, as well as the ideological implications embedded in the representation of the `other’, as belonging to a faraway country heard of or read about in the voyage reports, will be analysed in two of Shakespeare’s romances: The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest.


1) Texts:

• W. Shakespeare, La tempesta, a cura di A. Serpieri,Venezia, Marsilio, 2006
• W. Shakespeare, The Winter’s Tale, ed. by Stephen Orgel, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1996
• John Donne, Poesie, a cura di Alessandro Serpieri e Silvia Bigliazzi, Milano, BUR, 2007 – or, preferably, the forthcoming revised and enlarged edition (“Introduzione”; a choice of poems will be indicated during the course)
• During classes students will be provided with integrative handouts.

1) References:

• P. Bottalla and M. Calderaro (eds), Counting and Recounting. Measuring Inner and Outer Space in the Renaissance, Trieste, Edizioni La Mongolfiera, 1995, pp. 13-102, 129-48;
• Richard Helgerson, “The Land Speaks: Cartography, Chorography, and Subversion in Renaissance England”, in Representing the English Renaissance, ed. by S. Greenblatt, Berkeley, Los Angeles, London, University of California Press, 1988, pp. 327-361;
• Jean-Pierre Marquelot and Michele Willems (eds), Travel and Drama in Shakespeare’s Time, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1996 (Brian Gibbons, “The wrong end of the telescope”, pp. 141-159; Peter Holland, “`Travelling hopefully’: the dramatic form of journeys in English Renaissance Drama”, pp. 160-178; Andrew Gurr, “Industrious Ariel and Idle Caliban”, pp. 193-208; Leo Salinger, “The New World in the Tempest”, pp. 209-222.

As regards the literary and cultural context spanning from the 16th century to the Restoration excluded, students are free to choose among the following handbooks:

- Ronald Carter & John McRae, The Routledge History of English Literature, London, Routledge, 2001;
- A. Sanders, The Short Oxford History of English Literature, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 2004.

To facilitate textual reading, students may refer to any of the following handbooks of rhetoric, stylistics and poetics:

• Bice Mortara Garavelli, Manuale di retorica, Milano, Bompiani, 1999
• Maria Pia Ellero, Introduzione alla retorica, Firenze, Sansoni Editore, 1997
• A. Marchese, Dizionario di retorica e stilistica, Milano, Mondadori, 2002
• A. Marchese, L’officina della poesia, Milano, Mondadori, 1997

Additional references for non-attending students

• D.J. Palmer (ed.), Shakespeare: The Tempest, London, Macmillan, 1968 (J. Kott, “Prospero’s Staff”, pp. 244-258; F. Kermode, “Introduction to The Tempest”, pp. 176-195);
• K. Muir (ed.), Shakespeare: The Winter’s Tale, London, Macmillan, 1968 (G. Wilson Knight, “Great Creating Nature”, pp. 136-150; N. Frye, “Recognition in The Winter’s Tale”, pp. 184-197);
• Richard Hakluyt, Voyages and documents, selected by Jane Hampden, London, London University Press 1963 (suggested readings: The second voyage to Barbary, pp. 27-30; The first voyage to Guinea and Benin, pp. 30-37; The expedition to Russia, pp. 39-72; Antony Jenkinsons’s Journey to Persia, pp. 73-97; Drake’s Circumnavigation, pp. 192-224; The first voyage to Virginia, pp. 283-297; The voyage of the North Star and the Sunshine, pp. 319-324; The Spanish Armada, pp. 358-398). Students are free to choose any English edition and a different selection of readings.

Assessment methods and criteria

The exam will consist in an oral discussion in English of the topics dealt with during the course.