English literature and culture 2 [CInt] (2020/2021)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Lisanna Calvi
Lisanna Calvi
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
II semestre (Lingue e letterature straniere) dal Feb 15, 2021 al May 29, 2021.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

The course, taught in English, aims to provide students with an introduction to British literature from the Renaissance to late Romanticism, focussing on some of the most representative works. The course also aims to introduce the main critical approaches and the main features of literary genres. The overall goal of the course is to provide students with a good level of knowledge of literary history (in terms of historical context, texts, genres, movements and authors) and to develop their critical skills for analysis, argumentation and exposition in English, in relation to various typologies of literary texts in their historical-cultural context. At the end of the course, students will be able to: - analyse the set texts and place them in their respective historical-cultural contexts; - describe the texts in a structured and informed way, taking into account literary conventions and applying an informed critical approach; - discuss literary topics in English in a clear and consistent way.


Wealth, Trade, and the Literary Culture: From the Renaissance to the Eighteenth Century
Through a selection of texts, dating from the Renaissance to the eighteenth century, the module aims at investigating – in drama, poetry, and the novel – ideas of social and economic mobility by analyzing their evolution and diverse literary and cultural implications.

Please be advised
The programme consists in three parts: a. Primary texts, b. and b.1 References, and c. Handbook (see BIBLIOGRAPHY section).
Further details on required readings, general information on bibliographical material, and exam method will be provided during classes.
Language: lectures will be in English.
Lectures will be online via Zoom.

a. Primary texts
- William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, ed. by J. Drakakis (Bloomsbury Arden, 2011).
- John Dryden, “Annus Mirabilis. The Year of Wonders, 1666”, in The Works of John Dryden, ed. by E.N. Hooker and H.T. Swedenberg, (University of California Press, 1956), vol. 1, pp. 47-105.
- Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe, ed. by J. Richetti (Penguin, 2003).
b. References
- Alessandro Serpieri, “Contratti d’amore e di morte in The Merchant of Venice”, in The Merchant of Venice. Dal testo alla scena, a c. di M. Tempera (CLUEB 1994), pp. 9-21.
- Karoline Szatek, “The Merchant of Venice and the Politics of Commerce”, in The Merchant of Venice: New Critical Essays, ed. by J.W. Mahon and E. Macleod Mahon (Routlegde, 2002), pp. 325-352.
- David Haven Blake Jr, “The Politics of Commercial Language in Dryden’s Annus Mirabilis”, Criticism, Vol. 34, No. 3 (Summer 1992), pp. 327-348 (available on Jstor – see MOODLE for instructions).
- Ian Watt, Myths of Modern Individualism: Faust, Don Quixote, Don Juan, Robinson Crusoe (Cambridge University Press, 1996), pp. 141-192.
b1. References for non-attending students
- Laura Brown, “The Ideology of Restoration Poetic Form: John Dryden”, PMLA, Vol. 97, No. 3, pp. 395-407 (available on Jstor – see MOODLE for instructions).
- Maximillian E. Novak, “Robinson Crusoe and Economic Utopia”, The Kenyon Review, Vol. 25, No. 3 (Summer 1963), pp. 474-490 (available on Jstor – see MOODLE for instructions).

3. Handbook
As regards the literary and cultural context spanning from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, students will refer to:
- Andrew Sanders, The Short Oxford History of English Literature (Oxford University Press, 2003 - third edition), chapters 3 (“Renaissance and Reformation: Literature 1510-1620”), 4 (“Revolution an Restoration: Literature 1620-1690) and 5 (“Eighteenth-Century Literature 1690-1780”).

Other teaching materials (slides, images, videos, etc.) that will be used in class will be available for download from the MOODLE e-repository. These contents do not substitute but complement the mandatory readings listed in the BIBLIOGRAPHY section.

Assessment methods and criteria

Oral exam.
The exam will consist in an oral discussion (in English) that will test the knowledge of the module’s topics (texts, authors, and genres) and the literary and cultural context (c. Handbook; main authors and movements from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment). Assessment will consider: 1. the knowledge and comprehension of primary texts, 2. the development of good analytical and synthetic skill levels with regard to the main historical, cultural, textual, and critical topics of the module, 3. the use of an appropriate vocabulary. Students may be required to read and comment on passages taken from primary texts (see a. above).
There will be no mid-term tests.