The course, taught in English, aims to provide students with an introduction to British literature from the Renaissance to late Romanticism, focussing on some of the most representative works. The course also aims to introduce the main critical approaches and the main features of literary genres.
The overall goal of the course is to provide students with a good level of knowledge of literary history (in terms of historical context, texts, genres, movements and authors) and to develop their critical skills for analysis, argumentation and exposition in English, in relation to various typologies of literary texts in their historical-cultural context.
At the end of the course, students will be able to:
- analyse the set texts and place them in their respective historical-cultural contexts;
- describe the texts in a structured and informed way, taking into account literary conventions and applying an informed critical approach;
- discuss literary topics in English in a clear and consistent way.
"Juliet and the others. Changing attitudes towards marriage from the Renaissance to the eighteenth century"
From mating arrangements, which still characterized matrimonial alliances in the Renaissance, to the later emergence of the so-called companionate marriage, the modern age was characterized by the growth of affective individualism and accordingly experienced changing attitudes towards courtship, matrimony, and the family institution. Looking at a selection of dramatic and narrative texts from the Renaissance to the eighteenth century, the module will investigate the idea of marriage and its representation by analysing its changing literary, cultural, economic, and political meaning, also taking into account generic diversity, from tragedy to comedy, to the novel.
Please be advised
The programme consists in three parts:
a. Primary texts,
b. and b.1 References and References for non-attending students,
Language: lectures will be in English.
Further details on required readings and general information on bibliographical material will be provided during classes.
a. Primary texts
- William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, ed. by Jill Levenson (Oxford University Press, 2000).
- John Dryden, Marriage A-la-mode, in The Works of John Dryden, ed. by John Loftis, David S. Rodes, and Vinton A. Dearing (University of California Press, 1978), vol. 11, pp. 219-316.
- Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders, ed. by David Blewett (Penguin, 2003).
- Oliver Goldsmith, The Vicar of Wakefield, ed. by Arthur Friedman (Oxford University Press, 2006).
- Catherine Belsey, Romeo and Juliet. Language & Writing (Bloomsbury, 2014), chapters 1-4, pp.1-86.
- Lynette Hunter and Paul Lichtenfels, Negotiating Shakespeare’s Language in Romeo and Juliet (Ashgate, 2009), pp. 85-131.
- Jason Denman, “‘Too hasty to stay’: Erotic and Political Timing in Marriage à la Mode”, Restoration: Studies in English Literary Culture, 1660-1700, Vol. 32, No. 2 (Fall 2008), pp. 1-23 (available on Jstor – see MOODLE for instructions).
- Ian Watt, The Rise of the Novel: Studies in Defoe, Richardson and Fielding (Penguin, 1972), pp. 9-65 and 104-151.
- David Blewett, “Changing Attitudes toward Marriage in the Time of Defoe: The Case of Moll Flanders”, Huntington Library Quarterly, Vol. 44, No. 2 (Spring 1981), pp. 77-88 (available on Jstor – see MOODLE for instructions).
- Robert H. Hopkins, “Matrimony in The Vicar of Wakefield and the Marriage Act of 1753”, Studies in Philology, Vol. 74, No. 3 (July 1977), pp. 322-339 (available on Jstor – see MOODLE for instructions).
b1. References for non-attending students
- B.J. Sokol and Mary Sokol, Shakespeare, law and marriage (Cambridge University Press, 2003), pp. 1-41 and 93-116.
- Laura Brown, “The Divided Plot: Tragicomic Form in the Restoration”, ELH, Vol. 47, No. 1 (Spring 1980), pp. 67-79 (available on Jstor – see MOODLE for instructions).
- Loretta Innocenti, “Introduzione”, in L’invenzione del vero. Forme dell’autenticazione nel romanzo inglese del ’700, a c. di Loretta Innocenti, Pacini, 2000, pp. 5-19.
As regards the literary and cultural context spanning from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, students will refer to:
- Andrew Sanders, The Short Oxford History of English Literature (Oxford University Press, 2003, third edition), chapters 3 (“Renaissance and Reformation: Literature 1510-1620”), 4 (“Revolution and Restoration: Literature 1620-1690) and 5 (“Eighteenth-Century Literature 1690-1780”).
Other teaching materials (slides, images, videos, etc.) that will be used in class will be available for download from the MOODLE e-repository. These contents do not substitute but complement the mandatory readings listed in the Bibliography section above.
Typology: oral exam. There will be no mid-term tests.
The exam will consist in an oral discussion (in English) that will test the knowledge of the module’s topics (texts, authors, and genres) and the literary and cultural context (c. Handbook; main authors and movements from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment). Assessment will consider:
1) the knowledge and comprehension of primary texts,
2) the development of good analytical and synthetic skill levels with regard to the main historical, cultural, textual, and critical topics of the module,
3) the use of an appropriate vocabulary. Students may be required to read and comment on passages taken from primary texts (see a. above).