English literature 2 (2016/2017)

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
I SEMESTRE dal Oct 3, 2016 al Jan 21, 2017.

Lesson timetable

Learning outcomes

The course aims at providing the students with literary competences concerning the authors and genre modes deemed to be representative of English literature and culture in the scheduled period, and, more generally, at helping them to develop an individual critical approach to the texts chosen for analysis and discussion, as well as to their contexts.


"The art of self": confession, life-writing, narrative identity, and narrative irony.

The module aims at accompanying the students through an investigation of the theoretical issues and the formal and thematic dynamics of autobiography by focusing their attention on three texts whose rhetorical complexity never ceases to challenge the readers's interpretation.

Primary sources:
-DANIEL DEFOE, "Roxana: the Fortunate Mistress" (1724), Oxford World's Classics;
- LAURENCE STERNE, "The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman" (1760-1767), Voll. I, IV, VII;
- W.M.THACKERAY, "The Memoirs of Barry Lyndon, Esq." (1844, 1856),Oxford World's Classics.

Critical Bibliography:
- the Introductions in the editions given above;
- S. Chatman, "Discourse: Covert versus Overt Narrators", ch. 5, in "Narrative Structure in Fiction and Film", 1983;(Frinzi)
- D. DURANT, "Roxana's Fictions", Studies in the Novel, Vol.13, No.3 : 225-236 (cfr. Jstor)
- H. OSTROVICH, "The Reader as a Hobby-Horse", in T. Keimer (ed.), "Laurence Sterne's The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy: A Casebook" (2006)(Frinzi);
-R.P FLETCHER, "'Proving a thing even while you contradict it': Fictions, Beliefs, and Legitimation in "The Memoirs of Barry Lyndon, Esq.", Studies in the Novel, Vol.27, No. 4 (1995): 493-514
Reference Handbook:A. Sanders, "The Short Oxford History of English Literature" (1994).

Other optional suggestions concerning critical readings will be given during the course.

OBLIGATORY SUPPLEMENTARY critical readings for non-attending students:
-_ M. DI BATTISTA & E.O. WITTMAN (eds.), "Introduction" (pp.1-20), in "The Cambridge Companion to Autobiography", Cambridge UP (2014);
-J. RICHETTI (ed.), "The Cambridge Companion to Daniel Defoe", Cambridge UP (2008):Introduction + "Defoe as a Narrative Innovator"(pp.121-138);
- J. CRANE, "Defoe's Roxana: the Making and Unmaking of a Heroine", The Modern language Review, Vol.102, 16 (Jan. 2007): 11-25 (cfr. Jstor);
- J.P. HUNTER, "Clocks, Calendars, and Names: The Troubles of Tristram and the Aesthetics of Uncertainty", in J. Douglas Canfield & P. Hunter (eds.),"Rhetorics of Order/Ordering Rhetorics in English Neoclassical Literature", pp.173-198.
N.B.: Apart from the articles, which can be found on Jstor database, all the critical bibliography can be accessed at Frinzi Library.

Assessment methods and criteria

The exam is meant to assess, through oral questions, the student's ability to engage critically with the literary texts scheduled for the course, by resorting to the critical/theoretical issues dealt with in class, as well as to the critical bilbiography. The latter is meant as obligatory reading and the knowledge of it will be tested through oral questions, too.

N.B.: In order for the students to sit for this exam they must have passed the first-year exams of English literature and language.
They are also expected to have a copy of the programme and their own primary texts with them.
Validity of the programme: 2 academic years (i.e. until February 2019).