Contemporary English literature

A.Y. 2019/2020
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course offers a series of readings between the late xx and the early xxi century; its aim is to showcase how the anglophone literary world has reflected upon the present offering highly original interpretations and suggestions. The textual analyses imply a thorough knowledge of the historical and literary contexts and the acquisition of critical abilities.
Expected learning outcomes
During the course, students will acquire a general knowledge of the outlines of contemporary English literature (after 1945), with an insight into its complex interaction with other media and other cultures. Students will be able to position a literary text within its literary and cultural contexts.
Students will be working on new critical approaches to literature and literary movements.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
Course syllabus
The course will investigate different branches of ecocriticism, ranging from the description of natural environments, to ethics and ecology as a tool to understand the contemporary world, to the relationship with the non-human diversity. The third unit, though not compulsory, is therefore part of the ecocritical approach. The course investigates the work of some contemporary writers through the ploy of ecocriticism, which describes the aesthetic relationship between environment and ethics. The texts, which include novels, short stories, poems, films and songs, have been selected in order to lead the students through different ecological and literary responses to modernity. Unit A and B will be taught by prof. Vescovi, Unit C will be taught by prof. Iannaccaro.
Prerequisites for admission
The course — entirely in English — and the primary and secondary bibliography take for granted a good knowledge of English, both oral and written, as well as a basic knowledge of the English classics. The course is not recommended to first year students.
Teaching methods
The course deploys the following teaching methods: lectures with close reading and textual analysis; whenever possible, videoclips, images and music will also be employed; students will be asked to take active part in the critical reading of the texts. It is therefore necessary that students read some of the texts during the course.
Teaching Resources
Unit A
Greg Garrard, Ecocriticism, Routledge (2nd edition)
Rachel Carson, Silent Spring (parti)
Seamus Heaney, Death of a Naturalist, Faber.
Graham Swift, Waterland.
Bill Forsyth, Local Hero (film).

Unit B
Derek Walcott, "Sea Grapes"; from Omeros, "Chapter one"; "The Sea is History"; .
Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide
Arnae Ness, "Deep Ecology Platform"
Ramachandra Guha, "Radical American Environmentalism and Wilderness Preservation: A Third World Critique",
Sean Penn, Into the Wild (film based on the book by Jon Krakauer).
Eddie Vedder, Into the Wild, soundtrack.

Unit C
"Little Red Riding Hood", in the following versions (in English translation): Charles Perrault (1697), Anonymous (1801), Jacob e Wilhelm Grimm (1812), Delarue (reconstruction, 1885). [Ariel website].
Angela Carter, from The Bloody Chamber, 1979, the following tales: "The Courtship of Mr Lyon"; "The Tiger's Bride"; "The Werewolf"; "The Company of Wolves"; "Wolf Alice". The Vintage edition is recommended (introduction by Helen Simpson).
J. M. Coetzee, The Lives of Animals, 1999.
Webb, Caroline, and Hopcroft, Helen, "'A Different Logic'". Animals, Transformation, and Rationality in Angela Carter's 'The Tiger's Bride'" (2017). [Unimi database].
Giuliana Iannaccaro, "Metamorfosi moderne. Utopia e fiaba nei racconti di Angela Carter", in Il fascino inquieto dell'utopia (2014) [Anglistica library and Unimi database]
Tim Mehigan, A Companion to the Works of J. M. Coetzee: Introduction, Chapter 11, Chapter 14. [Anglistica library].
Giuliana Iannaccaro, "The Lives of Animals", in J. M. Coetzee (2009) [Anglistica library and Ariel website]
ATTENTION: also attending students are invited to use the non-attending students bibliography (below) to enlarge upon and/or catch up with missed classes.

Further readings for non-attending students
Units A & B
In addition to the texts above, non-attending students will also study the following:
Alaimo, Stacy. The Routledge Companion to Literature and Science, chapter 9, "Ecology"; Abingdon Abingdon: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. (2011). Disponibile su ovvero su Ariel.
Rob Nixon, "Introduction" in Slow Violence and Environmentalism of the Poor (Ariel)
Amitav Ghosh, The Great Derangement
Alessandro Vescovi, "Fear and Ethics in the Sundarbans", in Governare la Paura,
Obituary of Arne Naess on The Guardian,
Chapters on Rachel Carson and Arne Naess in Key Thinkers on the Environment…

Unit C
Greg Garrard, Ecocriticism, Routledge (2nd edition, 2012): Chapter 7, "Animals". [Anglistica library].
Jack Zipes, The Trials and Tribulations of Little Red Riding Hood, Prologue and Introduction (pp. 1-88). [Scienze Politiche library].
Introduction to the European tradition of the fairy tale: Andrew Teverson, Fairy Tale, Routledge, 2013 [Anglistica library].
Derek Attridge, "A Writer's Life. Elizabeth Costello", in J. M. Coetzee and the Ethics of Reading. Literature in the Event (pp. 192-205). [Anglistica library].
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam consists in an oral test assessed in thirtieths. 18 is the pass score. The test, which consists in an interview, will ascertain the understanding of literary texts (through reading and translation), the knowledge of literary history information on the authors, historical and cultural contexts), and critical abilities. Linguistic precision and connections between the texts will also be part of the assessment.
It is possible to sit the exam both in Italian and English.
The final score is expressed in thirtieths; students may accept or reject the mark - in this case it will be recorded as "ritirato" and they will have to take the whole exam again in the future.
Students with any disabilities are kindly requested to contact the teacher in order to agree on alternative examination methods, according to the current legislation.
In order to take the exam it is mandatory to bring along all the literary texts.
The present syllabus expires after February 2021.
Unita' didattica A
L-LIN/10 - ENGLISH LITERATURE - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Professor: Vescovi Alessandro
Unita' didattica B
L-LIN/10 - ENGLISH LITERATURE - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Professor: Vescovi Alessandro
Unita' didattica C
L-LIN/10 - ENGLISH LITERATURE - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Wednesday, 15:30-18:30, either in person or on Teams. Please send me a mail in advance to make an appointment.
Piazza S. Alessandro 1, Anglistica; or Microsoft Teams Platform
Thursday between 9.00 a.m. and 12.00. Please use the form to reserve a position
Microsoft Teams. For a different arrangement please see the form