English literature 3 (2018/2019)

Course code
Name of lecturers
Yvonne Bezrucka, Sidia Fiorato
Yvonne Bezrucka
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
I semestre dal Oct 1, 2018 al Jan 12, 2019.

Lesson timetable

Go to lesson schedule

Learning outcomes

The course, held in English, aims at introducing Students to the English Literature from the 16th century to the Restoration (1660), paying emphasis on some canonical literary texts. Besides, it will offer skills and abilities for the critical analysis of literary texts and their genres. The course objective is to provide a good knowledge of the literature of the period (historical context, texts, genres, literary movements and authors) and to develop in Students a capacity of analysis and argumentative abilities in relation to the various typologies of literary texts set in their literary, historical, and cultural context.

At the end of the course, Student will be able to
- analyse the examined literary texts setting them in their historical and cultural context;
- discuss them in an argumentative way, with due consideration to contemporary literary conventions, and by applying a critical, knowledgeable, and aware approach to the specificity of the literary texts;
- present the acquired competences in English, and in a coherent and clear way.


Migration, Multiculturalism, and the Visual Rhetoric of Shakespeare’s 'Othello'.

The course will offer an overview on the history of the Elizabethan theatre and of Shakespeare’s works. An in-depth reading of one instance of Shakespeare’s major deconstructions of racism and intolerance – Othello – will provide us the opportunity to foreground highly topical issues, both then and now: migration, populist responses, and the necessity of safeguarding both basic and advanced human rights. The championing of a multicultural attitude, the recognition of minorities and their rights, and an attitude of togetherness-in-difference is Shakespeare’s response to the imagined dread of the creolisation/miscegenation of identities. 'Othello' will thus be analysed in its visual rhetoric, and in its periodical appropriations and adaptations due to various, strategic, rhetorical/political uses. An analysis of 'Measure for Measure' will provide the completion to the course by its focus on the use and misuse of the Law.

Primary bibliography:

William Shakespeare, Othello (1603-04 2006 [1997]) ed. E.A.J. Honigmann (Arden: Croatia).
William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure (1603-04 2006 [1997]) ed. E.A.J. Honigmann (Arden: Croatia).

Secondary Bibliography:

Bassi, S. (2000) Le metamorfosi di Otello. Storia di un’etnicità immaginata (Bari: B.A. Graphis), 3-17 e un capitolo a scelta.
Bezrucka, Y. (2008) “Otello e la retorica visuale del Moro di Venezia”, Studi Culturali, 3/2008 (Bologna: il Mulino).
Bezrucka, Y. (2010) “Forme del potere in ‘Measure for Measure’. Corpo pubblico/corpo privato: autorità/libertà e desiderio”, Polemos, 2/2010, 99-216.
Burnett, M.T. (2002) Constructing ‘Monsters’ in Shakespearean Drama and Early Modern Culture (Basingstoke: Palgrave) 95-124.
G.K. Hunter (2004) “Othello and Colour Prejudice” in E. Pechter 'Othello. William Shakespeare' (London, New York: Norton) 248-262.
Loomba A. (2001) “Outsiders in Shakespeare’s England”, in M. De Grazia, S. Wells (eds.) (2001) Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare (Cambridge UP: Cambridge) 147-166.
Moisan T (2002) “Relating Things to the State: ‘The State’ and the Subject of ‘Othello’”, in Kolin P.C. (2002) 'Othello. New Critical Essays' (London: Routledge) 189-202.
E. Pechter, (2004) “’Too Much Violence’: Murdering Wives in Othello” in E. Pechter (2004) Othello. William Shakespeare (London, New York: Norton) 366-87.

Dr. Sidia Fiorato (3-credit course) syllabus:

- W. Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Arden ed.
Bibliografia critica:
Essays to be read (provided in the online material) are:
- D. Carpi, “Law, Discretion and Equity in The Merchant of Venice and Measure for Measure”, in Cardozo Law Review, 26.6 (2005), 2317, 2329
- H. Antor, “Ethnicity, Alterity and the Law in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice”, in D. Carpi, F. Ost, eds., As You Law It – Negotiating Shakespeare (Berlin/Boston, Degruyter, 2018), 107-129.
- R. Schwarz, “Justice and Law in the Merchant of Venice”, Teoria 29.2 (2009), 109-125

Particolare attenzione sarà dedicata alla messa in scena di The Merchant of Venice.
Strong attention will be paid on the theatrical adaptations of The Merchant of Venice.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
W. Shakespeare Measure for Measure Arden Shakespeare 1989 0415026970 ed. J.W. Lewer
W. Shakespeare Othello Arden Shakespeare 2006 1903436451 ed. E.A.J. Honigmann
W. Shakespeare The Merchant of Venice ARDEN  

Assessment methods and criteria

Students will be asked and must be able to comment on the topics and the essays related to this course.