English Literature III [CInt] (2009/2010)

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Course code
Susanna Zinato
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Teaching is organised as follows:
Activity Credits Period Academic staff Timetable
Lezioni 4 II semestre Susanna Zinato
Esercitazioni 2 II semestre Annalisa Pes

Learning outcomes

The module aims at offering the students an overview of representative authors and genres of sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century English literature and culture, by promoting a critical approach to literary texts and genres in their contexts.


“Renaissance Old and New Worlds: the re-awakening of the Ancient World meets the dawn of the New One/ Vecchi e nuovi mondi del Rinascimento:la riscoperta degli antichi incontra l’alba del nuovo mondo tra ‘500 e ‘600.
The module will focus on Shakespeare’s dramatic representation of the classics through the relation/confrontation between the contemporary age and classical antiquity, as well as between the Roman/western world and the Greek-eastern one. Emphasis will be laid on the rhetoric of politics and eros. From Rome and Alexandria, through Renaissance travel accounts the students will get to the Elizabethan discovery-recreation of the New World where fable and fact, fantasy/myth and history intertwine and give rise to the earliest examples of English literary exoticism. The poietic power of suggestion of the New World will be, finally, seen in action in some examples drawn from John Donne’s poetry.

The module will be set up into lectures (24h = 4CFU) and a seminar (24h = 2CFU) intended to further the discussion of the syllabus while applying to textual analysis the critical tools presented during the classes.
Language: the module will be held in English.

Non-attending students are required to follow the primary text and reference lists recommended to attending students and to complement it with the supplementary reference list.

Primary texts
W. Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, edizione Garzanti con testo a fronte
W. Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra, edizione Garzanti con testo a fronte

T. More, da Utopia (1516)
R. Hackluyt, da The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation :
-R. Eden, “The Decades of the New World or West India”(1555)
-T. Hariot, “A Brief and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia” (1600)
-F. Drake, “Account on the Drake Bay”(1600)

J. Donne, Elegy XIX: To His Mistress Going to Bed; The Good Morrow; The Sun Rising; The Storme; The Calme

The reading of the introductions to Shakespeare’s works (Garzanti edition) is recommended.

-V. Gentili, La Roma antica degli Elisabettiani, Il Mulino, Bologna, 1991, Introduzione, pp.7-20
-P. A. Kennan, “Eloquentia Obmutuit: l’eloquenza del silenzio in Julius Caesar”, in M. Tempera (a cura di), Julius Caesar dal testo alla scena, Clueb, Bologna, 1992, pp.101-108
- A. Serpieri-S.Bigliazzi, “Introduzione” and comments to the selected texts, in John Donne. Poesie, a cura e con traduzione di A. Serpieri e S. Bigliazzi, BUR, Milano, 2009.

As regards the literary and cultural context spanning from 1500 to mid 1600, the following handbook is recommended:
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 optional handbooks of narratology, rhetoric, stylistics and poetics:
-O. Reboul, Introduzione alla retorica, Il Mulino, Bologna, 1996
-E. Aston – J. Savona, Theatre as a Sign-System. A Semiotics of Text and Performance, Routledge, 1998, ch. 6 “ Semiotics of Performance”
-C. Segre, Teatro e romanzo, Einaudi, Torino, 1984, pp.1-26
-A. Marchese, Dizionario di retorica e stilistica, Milano, Mondadori, 2002

Please be advised
Further details on required readings and general information on bibliographical material will be provided during classes.


-V. Gentili, “La romanità ritualizzata del Julius Caesar”, in ID, La Roma antica degli Elisabettiani, Il Mulino, Bologna, 1991, cap.1 (pp. 21-76)
-A. Lombardo, Il fuoco e l’aria: quattro studi su Antonio e Cleopatra, Bulzoni, Roma, 1995
-A. Hadfield, “ ‘What is the matter with yowe Christen men?’: English Colonial Literature, 1555-1625”, in ID, Literature, Travel, and Colonial Writing in the English Renaissance 1545-1625, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1998

Assessment methods and criteria

The exam will consist in an oral discussion of the module’s topics in English. The students who will attend the seminar may also take in progress written tests.
Non-attending students will take an oral exam only.