English literature 2 LM. Critical methodologies and textual interpretation (2019/2020)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Silvia Bigliazzi
Silvia Bigliazzi
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

This course is held in English and aims at providing Students with advanced notions of English Literature concerning the critical methodologies used by the various critical schools to interpret the literary text. The course will foster Students to develop an autonomous and original critical stance.
Learning outcomes are the development of:
- the capacity to read and interpret literary texts demon-strating coherence in the expressive and argumentative structure of one's ideas and concepts;
- the capacity to comment on the chosen texts so as to demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the theoretical and critical debate these have generated,
- the autonomous capacity of personal critical thinking, by providing a personal and original elaboration of the themes under discussion.


“Between History and Myth from Shakespeare to Joyce: Critical Approaches and Case Studies”
The module will discuss the relation between history and myth in a few canonical examples of English literature. It will locate the recent revival of source and textual studies within a broader panorama of critical approaches characterised by Poststructuralismt studies, Cultural studies, and New Historicism. The discussion will begin with the analysis of 'canonical' texts of various literary genres, from the Renaissance to the Nineteenth century and the early Twentieth century. It will foster critical readings of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in relation to its ancient sources (Plutarch and Appian), ad then will move on to an analysis of individual poems by Robert Browning and T.S. Eliot, finally to conclude with an exploration of the topic of history as presented in the second episode of the Telemachiad in Joyce’s Ulysses.

The module will be held in English. Attending students will take one self-assessment test at the end of the module. A written calendar of the topics that will be dealt with will be circulated in class at the beginning of the course.
Further teaching material, including a selection of the texts that will be discussed in class, will be available for download from the MOODLE repository.

• William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, ed. by David Daniell, London, Bloomsbury, The Arden Shakespeare Third Series, (1998) 2014.
• Robert Browning, My Last Duchess, in Dramatic Lyrics (1842), in Poems/Poesie, ed. by Angelo Righetti, Milano, Mursia, 1990.
• T.S. Eliot, Gerontion, in The Poems of T.S. Eliot, ed. by Christopher Ricks and Jim McCue, London, Faber & Faber, 2015.
• James Joyce, Ulysses. Annotated Students’ edition, ed. by Declan Kiberd, Harmondsworth, Penguin Classics, 2011: : “Introduction” (pp. ix-lxxxix), and part 1, episode 2.
• Jonathan Culler, Literary Theory. A Very Short Introduction, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2006.
• Roland Barthes, “Myth Today”, in Mythologies, New York, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1972, pp. 109-64.
• Walter, Melissa and Sarah Klann, “Shakespeare Source Study in the Early Twenty‐First Century: A Resurrection?”, Literature Compass 2018, 15: e12486 (DOI: 10.1111/lic3.12486)

Further suggested readings (not compulsory)
• Jonathan Gil Harris, Shakespeare & Literary Theory, Oxford, Oxford University Press.
• Ewan Fernie, Ramona Wray, Mark Thornton Burnett, Clare McManus, Reconceiving the Renaissance. A Critical Reader, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2005: Introduction Chapter 1 (Textuality), and Chapter 7 (Values), pp. 1-84, 353-427.
• Hayden White, The Content of the Form: Narrative Discourse and Historical Representation, Baltimore. The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
William Shakespeare Julius Caesar, ed. by David Daniell Bloomsbury 2014
Jonathan Culler Literary Theory. A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press 2006
Roland Barthes Mythologies Farrar, Straus & Giroux 1972 "Myth Today", pp. 109-64.
Robert Browning Poems/Poesie, a cura di Angelo Righetti Mursia 1990 "My Last Duchess", in Dramatic Lyrics (1842)
Ewan Fernie, Ramona Wray, Mark Thornton Burnett, Clare McManus Reconceiving the Renaissance. A Critical Reader Oxford University Press 2005 9780199265572 SUGGESTED READING (NOT COMPULSORY) "Introduction" and "Chapter 1 (Textuality): pp. 1-84 "Chapter 7 (Values)": pp. 353-427
Jonathan Gil Harris Shakespeare & Literary Theory Oxford University Press 2010 9780199573387 SUGGESTED READING (NOT COMPULSORY)
Melissa Walter and Sarah Klann "Shakespeare Source Study in Early Twenty-First Century: A Resurrection" Literature Compass, 15 (e12486; DOI: 10.1111(lic3.12486) 2018
Hayden White The Content of the Form: Narrative Discourse and Historical Representation The Johns Hopkins University Press 1987 SUGGESTED READING (NOT COMPULSORY)
T.S. Eliot The Poems of T.S. Eliot, ed. by Christopher Ricks and Jim McCue Faber & Faber 2015 "Gerontion"
James Joyce Ulysses. Annotated Students’ edition, ed. by Declan Kiberd Penguin Classics 2011 Part 1, episode 2 ("Nestor")

Assessment methods and criteria

Knowledge acquisition will be evaluated through an oral exam, which will consist in a discussion of the topics dealt with during the module. The oral exam will be held in English.
Alternatively, students may submit an essay in English of approximately 5,000 words at least a week before the exam. The essay will then be presented and discussed orally. For essay-writing guidelines please refer to the following text: Richard Marggraf Turley, Writing Essays, London and New York, Routledge, 2016 (2nd edition). Before submitting their essay, students are required to discuss their project with the teacher.

The acquired abilities will be evaluated in terms of:
1) ability to use the critical approaches discussed during the module;
2) autonomous critical capacity;
3) presentation and argumentative skills in academic discussion.

Examination rules and procedures is the same for both attending and non-attending students

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and in accordance with the University of Verona guidelines, during ​the 2020 summer session the assessment modality will be modified as follows: online oral exam.