English literature 1 LM. Forms, genres, and critical approaches (2019/2020)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Yvonne Bezrucka
Yvonne Bezrucka
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
I semestre (Lingue e letterature straniere) dal Sep 30, 2019 al Jan 11, 2020.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

The course is held in English and aims at providing students with advanced notions of English Literature, especially in relation to forms, genres and critical approaches. It also aims to develop an autonomous and original critical approach to literary texts. On successful completion of the course, students will be able to: - read and interpret literary texts by structuring ideas and concepts with argumentative skill and expressive mastery; - critically comment on the texts in such a way as to demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the theoretical debate surrounding them; - develop critical and autonomous thinking by personally elaborating on debated issues.


"That Cannibal, the Novel"

The course "That Cannibal, the Novel", a quote from Virginia Woolf, will concentrate its attention on the most successful of all literary genres, narrative fiction, and its most successful form, the novel. A history of the genre will be developed starting from its first English instances – the medieval romances and the so-called Elizabethan 'novels' – to come to the 'rise' of the novel (Ian Watt) as we know it today, i.e. in its prevalent 'mimetic'-climax, during the 18th century. The course will then follow the developments of the novel into its Victorian, Modernist, Post-Modernist, and Contemporary ethical strains.
The course will also analyse the foci criticism applies to this genre testifying to their own topical interests and their agendas.
The course foresees in-class debates on extracts from various works of fiction.

Primary Bibliography

Excerpts from:
W. Chaucer, "The Wife of Bath", in 'The Canterbury Tales', Oxford.
J. Lyly, 'Euphues. The Anatomy of Wit', Oxford
T. More (1516) 'Utopia', Oxford
P. Sidney, excerpts from 'Arcadia' Oxford.
Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe, Oxford, and Moll Flanders, Oxford
C. Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities, 1859
T. Hardy, The Woodlanders, Oxford
V. Woolf (1928) Orlando, Oxford
V. Woolf (1939) Between the Acts, Oxford
E.J. Kirby (2016) The Optician of Lampedusa, Penguin

Secondary Bibliography

Y. Bezrucka (2010) “Regimi scopici e tassonomie visuali: da Virginia Woolf a Italo Calvino”, in 'Parola e visione', C. Battisti ed. ( Verona: Ombre Corte) 92-104.
Y. Bezrucka (2008) “A Tale of Two Cities: Charles Dickens’s Political Examination of Law, Legalized Violence, Authority, and Retributive Justice”, in 'Practicing Equity, Addressing Law: Equity in Law and Literature', D. Carpi ed. (Heidelberg: Winter) pp. 317-33, both downloadable from academia.edu Bezrucka
Y. Bezrucka (2007) “Thomas Hardy’s 'The Woodlanders': Tradition, Heritage and Identity”, Textus, XX, “Nation(s) and Cultural Heritage, eds. M.R. Cifarelli, J. Garnett, 2007, pp. 339-354, download from Academia.edu Bezrucka, as many other texts of mine.
Y. Bezrucka, /2017) 'The Invention of Northern Aesthetics in 18th-C. English Literature' (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars), excerpt on "Emily Brontë's 'Wuthering Heights: This North Wind that Chills Me", pp. 205-224.
K. Wilson (2006) 'Fictions of Authorship in Late Elizabethan Narratives' (Oxford: Oxford U.P.) 53-84.
L. R. Furst (1992) Realism (London: Longman).

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Joseph Conrad Almayer's Folly Penguin 1895
Virginia Woolf Between the Acts Oxford World Classics 2008 9780199536573
Anne Jane Kirby The Optician of Lampedusa Penguin 2017

Assessment methods and criteria