English Literature I [Tur] (2008/2009)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Rita Severi
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
II semestre dal Mar 2, 2009 al May 30, 2009.

Lesson timetable

Learning outcomes

“Women, mostly seen by men, in 19th century English literature”

The course offers a choice of thematic readings on feminine typology in Nineteenth Century English Literature, spanning the whole century: from the femme fragile, angel of the fireplace, to the femme fatale, from the caring housewife and nursing mother to the saintly woman, from the homebound, prim householder to the adventurous traveller, from the good woman to the prostitute. Since the students who follow the course will major in travel literature, the required readings offer a wide-range of travel modalities, from the Romantic Tour of George Gordon, Lord Byron,, to modern tourism, as seen in the novellas of Maurice Hewlett and as it evolved at the end of the Victorian period.

Part of the course will be dedicated to a guided close-reading of The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare.


Women and Men in 19th century English Literature
Women and Men in poetry and drama
The Pre-Raphaelite Imagination
Typology of feminine “role” models – double standards

English Literature from 1798 to 1900:
Can be studied on any good manual or web resource: Praz, Sanders, Victorian Web, etc.

The following texts are all required reading:

George Gordon, Lord Byron, Parisina, bilingual ed. by R. Severi, Rimini, Raffaelli, 2007
John Keats, « La Belle dame sans Merci »*
Alfred, Lord Tennyson, « The Lady of Shalott »*
Leonardo da Vinci. Homo Minister et Interpres Naturae in The Renaissance, Oxford World’s Classics
Oscar Wilde, Salomé, Milano, Feltrinelli (Italian-English-French) or, in English: Dover ed.;
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oxford, World’s Classics;
Maurice Hewlett, Madonna of the Peach Tree, ed. by R. Severi, Bologna, Patron, 2007;
Vernon Lee, Ariadne in Mantua, bilingual ed. by R. Severi, Verona-Gazoldo degli Ippoliti, Cierre-Postumia, 1996.
*Download available on the Web

Shakespearean Text:

William Shakespeare, The Winter’s Tale, Arden edition or any good bi-lingual edition (Garzanti, Rizzoli, Mondadori).

Criticism and Bibliography required reading:
(1 book for students who attend classes; 2 for non-attending students)

R. Severi, La Biblioteca di Oscar Wilde, Palermo, Novecento, 2005.
R. Severi, Oscar Wilde & Company, Bologna, Patron, 2001.

Assessment methods and criteria

The exam is both written and oral. Attending students will have to pass 3 written tests during classes:
a) on Shakespeare and The Winter’s Tale;
b) on Oscar Wilde;
c) on the literary period: 1798-1900
The students must pass the written tests before undergoing the oral exam.
Students must come to the exam with all the required textbooks. No photocopies are allowed.
Attendance is highly recommended.
Non-attending students will take all 3 written tests during their final exam.