New literatures in English (2013/2014)

Course partially running (all years except the first)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Susanna Zinato
Susanna Zinato
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
II semestre dal Feb 24, 2014 al May 31, 2014.

Lesson timetable

Learning outcomes

The course aims at making the student familiar with the main themes and theoretical issues characterizing colonial and postcolonial literatures in English. This is done through an in-depth analysis of representative texts that are studied in their textual dynamics through a diachronic view but with a special care for their specific contexts.


The Southern African roman fou
After introducing the discipline, this module will focus upon madness in Southern African (South Africa and Rhodesia/Zimbabwe) fiction as inflected through the deranged voices of three mad heroines of novels that are crucially representative of the colonial/postcolonial African roman fou in English: Mary in The Grass is Singing, Magda in In the Heart of the Country and Elizabeth in A Question of Power. This will be done through a close reading of the texts in a constant dialogue with their contexts.

Primary sources
- D. LESSING, The Grass is Singing (1950)
- J.M. COETZEE, In the Heart of the Country (1976)
- B. HEAD, A Question of Power (1974)

Secondary sources

- F. FANON, Black Skin, White Masks (1957).
- B. DRAINE, Substance under Pressure, The University of Wisconsin Press, 1983, chapter I.
- D. HEAD, J.M. Coetzee, CUP, 1997, ch.3 (“The wrong kind of love”).
- H. IBRAHIM (ed.), Emerging Perspectives on Bessie Head, Trenton, 2004, chapter by H. Bhana (“Reading Ghostly Desire: Writing the Edges of Bessie Head’s A Question of Power”), pp.33-50.

General reference textbooks:

-B. Ashcroft, G. Griffiths, H. Tiffin (eds.), The Empire Writes Back. Theory and Practice in Post-Colonial Literatures, Routledge, 1989, more specifically: “Introduction” (1-13); chapter 2 “Re-placing language: textual strategies in post-colonial writing” (37-59); chapter 5 pp.181-194.

Suggested Reading (optional):
-B. Ashcroft, G. Griffiths, H. Tiffin (eds.), Key Concepts in Post-Colonial Studies, Routledge, 1998
-E. Benson, L.W. Connolly (eds.), The Routledge Encyclopedia of Post-colonial Literatures in English, 2005
-J. Wilkinson, “Il Sudafrica” (pp.48-74), in A. Lombardo (a cura di), Le orme di Prospero, NIS, 1995
- Sull’ apartheid: D.M. Smith, Apartheid in South Africa, CUP, 1990 e/o A.J. Christopher, The Atlas of Apartheid, Witwatersrand UP, 2005.

Additional compulsory bibliography for non-attending student:
non–attending students are requested to supplement the list of readings scheduled for attending students with the following, compulsory, one:

- E. Boehmer, Colonial & Postcolonial Literature, Oxford UP, 1995 (Introduction + Chapters 1,2,5)
- R. Whittaker, Doris Lessing, 1988, ch.1 (pp.1-16) and ch. 2 (pp.17-34)
-S. Zinato and A. Pes (eds.), Ex-centric Writing: Essays on Madness in Postcolonial Fiction, Cambridge Scholars Publishings, 2013, “Introduction”, ch. 2 (by C. Concilio) and ch. 3 (by S. Zinato)
- S. Zinato, The house is empty. Grammars of madness in J.Frame’s Scented Gardens for the Blind and B. Head’s A Question of Power, Clueb, 1999, pp.197-233 (pages dealing with Head).

Informazioni relative al materiale bibliografico e al suo reperimento saranno fornite all’inizio del corso.

Il corso sarà tenuto in lingua inglese/Module taught in English

Assessment methods and criteria

Assessment at the end of the course through oral examination